Mike Flesher, owner of Taylor Rental Center, Vestal and Ithaca, N.Y., and chairman of the board of the American Rental Association (ARA), recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, to represent ARA at the annual Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA) convention and exhibition.
Flesher also visited several branch locations of Kennards Hire and Camden Hire as part of ARA’s continuing outreach to further international relationships through membership in the Global Rental Alliance.
“The big takeaway for me is that there is a lot to learn and it is very important to ARA as an organization to develop these relationships and stimulate this learning process because it can only help the industry,” Flesher says.
“Everybody involved in the Global Rental Alliance is an important group. We need to continue to get together, work and expand those relationships. Attending HRIA is a great opportunity for ARA to build relationships and share information as well as exchange ideas,” Flesher says.
The HRIA convention this year was held in Sydney for the first time at one of the city’s landmark attractions, Luna Park. The two-day schedule included educational sessions on Wednesday, May 8, followed by a vendor reception and a social evening of networking. Thursday, May 9, included the trade show exhibition followed by the HRIA’s annual Hire Industry Excellence Awards Banquet.
“This was a condensed version of their usual four-day convention and it was very quickly paced. Many people asked me about our country’s economy, the growth the rental industry is experiencing and which segments are doing well. This was a good setting for everyone to be together and there was always a buzz of activity,” Flesher says.
“Everyone takes ideas and does different things with them. I learned so much in Australia. The Australians talk about their travel to America and how much they learn from ARA, from rental stores in America and attending The Rental Show, and they have taken what they have learned here and brought it to greater levels in the way they operate and the systems they have in place,” he says.
“I have visited many stores in the United States and learned a lot, but on this trip I learned many new things. It is beneficial for ARA to have a representative attend to bring back ideas and build relationships that will advance the Global Rental Alliance in the future,” Flesher says.
Flesher says he already has started work on creating an employee manual similar to what he saw at Kennards Hire that includes everything from training to policies and procedures.
“It was laid out so well with a format to develop an employee, spelling out in great detail the necessary follow up,” he says.
The Global Rental Alliance includes ARA, HRIA, Brazil’s Associacão De Locadoras (ALEC), Canadian Rental Association (CRA), European Rental Association (ERA), Hire Association Europe (HAE) and Hire Industry Association of New Zealand (HIANZ).
The group will next meet in person at The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., scheduled for Feb. 9-12.