Business changes — how to run the business and what inventory to offer customers — aren’t the only lessons learned by those participating in the international rental business leadership program. Those involved say there were benefits on the personal level that have helped all participants grow, take on new challenges and develop lifelong rental connections. Below is a sampling of what both the visiting rental professional and the host gained from the program in this regard.
- Gaining confidence. The program “gave me further confidence to continue with the implementation of our current strategic plan, which will result in business growth,” says Matt Gordon from Centenary Hire in Darra, Queensland, Australia. Participating in the program also “fostered a desire to become more involved with our Hire & Rental Association at a committee level.”
For Brittany Haas, manager of Crown Rental in Rosemount and Burnsville, Minn., spending time in Australia, “helped me grow out of a bubble and take on more things. Going to Australia made me more open to new ideas and new ways of doing things,” she says. Since returning home, she has become vice president of her state association, the ARA of Minnesota. “I’m really learning a lot with this position. I’m meeting new people and learning about the different areas around the state,” she says.
Since returning from Australia, Todd Daymont from American Party Rentals in Durham, N.C., has moved from warehouse manager to co-vice president at his family-owned operation. “As a future owner and taking on more responsibilities of such, the experience of working at Harry’s has provided me with the confidence to make some business decisions that I would not have otherwise made without having a solid example to draw from,” he says. He also has become more involved in his state association, too, now serving as president. “The trip to Australia was the catalyst for my participation in my state association and, subsequently, ARA’s Leadership Conference in Chicago and National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C.”
- Expediting career paths. The speed at which he has arrived at the level he is in his business took a major leap forward, thanks to participation in the international leadership program, Gordon notes. “It would have taken significantly more time and I probably would have had to have learned a lot more lessons along the way.”
Haas agrees. “The international rental business leadership program really helped me get here a bit faster. “I had to learn how to come out of my comfort zone. I have taken the new things that I have learned and have come up with a way to implement them into the system we have now at our store,” she says.
While Daymont was pretty set in his career path before leaving, he says the trip “elevated both me and our business within the industry. Not only in name recognition, but it also positioned us in the eyes of our peers and industry leaders as people who care about the industry and its future,” he adds.
- Forging lasting friendships. Mark Scarce, owner of Camden Hire, with locations in Narellan and Casula, Australia, was pleasantly surprised with the level of friendship that developed between his family and Haas and Angie Venekamp, manager of Rental Network in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. “We have kept in contact with both Angie and Brittany. The friendships I, my family and staff have made with these two have been unbelievable and something I don’t think we were expecting.”
Both Haas and Venekamp feel the same way. “I have kept in contact with those that I met in Australia,” Haas says. “My host family, the Scarces, and I talk a lot — calling for birthdays and just to catch up.”
“I have made some friends for life while there,” Venekamp adds. “I was lucky enough to be hosted by the Scarce family. Mark and Christine welcomed me into their home with open arms.”
Harold Sater, managing director at A & A Tents d/b/a Encore Event Rentals in Shreveport, La., had similar experiences. He hosted Michael Hayek from Australia’s Kennards Hire P/L Girraween, New South Wales. “Michael was a great person to host and was very interested in all we did. We thoroughly enjoyed the time and look forward to visiting him in Australia.”
The same is true for Peter Lancken, chairman of Kennard Hire P/L based in Seven Hills, New South Wales, Australia, who hosted Peter Maginnis, the program’s first participant. “I have maintained regular contact with Pete and visit him annually since his return home,” he says.
Learning how another rental business operates, discovering cultural similarities and differences, sharing strategies and best practices with another rental professional, broadening one’s leadership and business acumen, and developing meaningful friendships — all add up to incredible experiences that will never be forgotten.
As Sater says, “It was a great experience and something that everyone would benefit from. I encourage all to take a turn at participating and hosting. The experience was invaluable.”
“I would definitely recommend this program,” Scarce adds. “The outcomes are priceless and the experience is just so positive for everyone involved.”
Those who traveled to a different country to learn more about rental agree.
“Yes, unreservedly, I recommend this program,” Gordon says. He is so enthusiastic that “in the coming years, I intend to have one of my employees apply for this program.”
Peter Maginnis, former owner and president of SoCal Rentals in Glendora, Calif., and current owner and president of Harrisburg Self Storage, based out of Charlotte, N.C., agrees. “I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to better their rental career or to just get a better outlook on the international rental business,” he says.
Daymont echoes that sentiment. “Anytime I come across someone who meets the basic criteria, has ambition for rental and is in a flexible position where they can afford a time out from their day-to-day routine, I recommend that they look further into making the most of this opportunity,” he adds.
Nicole Koroneos with Excel Events in Victoria, Australia, who visited Party Reflections in Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C., in September 2012, summed it up well. “I can honestly say that I had the opportunity of a lifetime and would definitely recommend this program to everyone. I learned so much and met people that will be a part of my life forever,” she says.
International rental business leadership program passes five-year mark
Five years ago, the members of the Global Rental Alliance wanted to find a way to advance leadership opportunities for young rental professionals and increase worldwide awareness of the equipment rental industry. To do that, the alliance established the international rental business leadership program to be administered by the ARA Foundation. The group, however, had no idea about the impact this initiative would have on participating rental professionals and rental businesses around
Eight young rental professionals have participated in the program over the last five years. Not only have they gained the chance to hone their leadership skills, learn how rental business is conducted in other countries and experience peer rental associations, but they also have had the opportunity to share ideas, learn new strategies, have once-in-a-lifetime experiences and forge lasting friendships.
“The impact to the participants and the entire equipment rental industry has been tremendous,” says Christine Wehrman, executive vice president and CEO of the American Rental Association (ARA), a member of the Global Rental Alliance. “We have had outstanding rental professional participants and host families who have embraced the program’s goals and created incredible experiences for not only the visiting rental professional but also everyone at the host’s rental business. It has been a true educational and leadership building experience for all involved. The Global Rental Alliance couldn’t have asked for more.”
During the past five years, the program has made international job shadowing a successful way to fulfill the Global Rental Alliance’s goal to “develop industry leaders of tomorrow.” With more rental connections planned for 2013 and beyond, more opportunities will be open to rental professionals from around the world to learn more about equipment rental and the associations that represent the industry, as well as share and grow both personally and professionally.
2008: Peter Maginnis, former owner and president of SoCal Rentals in Glendora, Calif., and current owner and president of Harrisburg Self Storage, Charlotte, N.C., was the first participant who traveled from California to Kennards Hire P/L based in Seven Hills, New South Wales, Australia. The host organization was the Hire & Rental Industry Association (HRIA), Australia.
2009: Todd Daymont, CERP, from American Party Rentals in Durham, N.C., traveled to Harry the Hirer Pty. in Richmond, Victoria, Australia. The host organization was HRIA, Australia.
Michael Hayek from Kennards Hire P/L in Girraween, New South Wales, Australia, was hosted by Ed Wadley with Taylor’s Rental Equipment Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, then he spent time with Willie Strange at Eagle Rentals in Seguin, Texas, and then visited with Harold Sater with A & A Tents d/b/a Encore Event Rentals in Shreveport, La. He ended his stay by attending The Rental Show in Orlando. The host organization was the ARA.
2010: Matt Gordon with Centenary Hire in Darra, Queensland, Australia, job-shadowed James Clipperton at Nor-Val Rentals in Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada. The host organization was the Canadian Rental Association (CRA).
Brittany Haas, CERP, with Crown Rental in Rosemount and Burnsville, Minn., was hosted by Mark Scarce at his Camden Hire operations in Narellan and Casula, Australia. The host organization was the HRIA, Australia.
2012: Angie Venekamp with Rental Network in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, traveled to Australia to learn under Scarce and his Camden Hire rental staff. The host organization was the HRIA, Australia.
Nicole Koroneos with Excel Events in Victoria, Australia, traveled to Party Reflections in Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C., to learn from Jonas Hutchison, CERP, and Dan Hooks, CERP. The host organization was the ARA.
Lisa Virtue with Furniture Hire UK in Kent, England, was hosted by Delores Crum, CERP, with Premiere Party Central in Austin, Texas. The host organization was the ARA.