Regional Digest: ARA of New Jersey members hitch a ride to their March meeting

The ARA of New Jersey has come up with a unique way to help members attend meetings: The bus tour. About 15 members from three locations took advantage of the option to catch the chartered bus hired by the association to pick up members throughout the state and take them to the March 20 meeting at Aggreko in Bridgeport, N.J.

The bus started at 4 p.m. in Morristown and delivered all passengers to the meeting in time for social hour at 6:30 p.m. As the bus picked up riders throughout the state, members were kept apprised of its progress via Facebook with photos and updates at each stop.

The idea came about during a meeting of the ARA of New Jersey officers, who meet several times a year to plan for the association. “I think we had more participation in the event because of the bus option. The drive was way longer than usual for our core members,” says Steve Kohn, owner of Millers Rentals in Edison. “I feel that if we didn’t offer the bus, they might not have attended.”

To pass the time en route to the meeting, passengers drew questions out of a hat that ranged from “What employee motivation tip can you share?” to “When I write the story of my life, I want to make sure everyone knows that ________.”

“This was really fun to do,” Kohn says. “It made the bus trip very enjoyable and the length of the ride a non-issue. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and people really opened up on the questions. It was an ideal network situation and the questions were a mix of business and personal topics. You never knew what question you would draw out of the hat, which added to the excitement.”

Now that they have offered it once, plans are in the works for another bus tour in the future. “We learned what worked and what needs to be improved. I think you have to try different concepts for meetings. Sometimes you will hit a home run and other times you might strike out but it’s worth a try,” Kohn says.

State, local and provincial associations are driven by American Rental Associaton (ARA) members who give their time and expertise to provide programs and services that can benefit members close to home, including education and training, government advocacy, industry trends and networking opportunities. Participation at the local level can help you stay up-to-date on industry issues through personal connections, as well as exposure to products and information regarding solutions to common rental industry issues that affect all businesses. For further information or to get involved, contact a member of your state board. Contact information, as well as a current calendar of state and local events, can be found at under State/Local/Provincial Associations.