Regional Digest: ARA of Florida
05/31/2013

The American Rental Association (ARA) of Florida took a unique approach to the educational aspect of its “Spring Training” meeting in St. Augustine and members who gathered for the April 30-May 1 event at Ring Power Corp./Cat Rental Store corporate headquarters in St. Augustine, Fla., spent two busy days socializing, networking and learning.

Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) testing was offered Tuesday afternoon before the buffet dinner at the Courtyard by Marriott, which was followed by a “fire pit” gathering on the hotel patio as the temperature dipped to
70 degrees.

After breakfast at Ring Power on Wednesday, attendees split into three groups for a full morning of training in the facility’s four instructional classrooms and four lab classrooms. The event offered rental segment-specific options as well as a workshop that offered information that would be useful for all rental operators.

Those in the construction segment had the opportunity to earn an operator’s certificate through the Operator and Safety Training for Aerial Work Platforms session, led by Scotty Barrett with Ring Power Corp./Cat Rental Store in Orlando, Fla., and Clay Price with Genie Industries in Marietta, Ga. For the party side, Peter McVey, owner of McVey Tent & Expo in Appleton, Wis., presented “Tent Installation, Staking and Safety,” which covered everything from site survey to securing and framing the tents. Several speakers, including Ruth Bloom, ARA’s director of state, local and provincial programs, and Jim Browning, with The Browning Agency in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., led the third workshop, which addressed important information for all segments. This option covered workers’ compensation reform, employee training and the economic outlook for the state of Florida.

Joe Barrett, owner of Barrett’s of SW Florida in Englewood, attended for the AWP training and was pleased with his experience. “The venue at Ring Power was great. We had very competent teachers who took the time to make sure I was trained well,” he says. “The most valuable thing I learned was the inspection of the units. I brought my head technician, so he could learn this procedure from a professional and come back to use it on all of our rental equipment.”

After the training, Ring Power provided lunch during which vendors served as table hosts. The day concluded with an hour-long tour of the 100-acre, 380,000-sq.-ft. facility, complete with a 65-bay repair center for equipment, a second large repair building for trucks, a parts department, a dispatch hub, a fabricating shop, a paint booth, a huge wash rack, a four-story corporate office building, a Cat merchandise store and a Cat Rental Store.

“The tour was a big highlight for me,” Barrett says. “With my background in mechanics, I was amazed at how each department was set up and how big the place was.”

The multi-workshop approach to educational sessions was well-received by attendees and the ARA of Florida plans to use this format for future meetings.

State, local and provincial associations are driven by 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 ARArental.org under “State/Local/Provincial Associations.”