More than 250 party and event rental professionals in the United States and Canada have completed the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program. By the time The Rental Show 2014 opens in Orlando, Fla., that number could grow by 10 percent.
There are CERP designated graduates in 37 states and provinces within each of ARA’s 10 regions in North America. Some areas are more active in the program than others. Region Five has the highest concentration of graduates, with a large number of those in Ohio.
“The CERP program elevates the party rental profession across the board,” says Terry Trusgnich, president of Aide Rentals & Sales II in Highland, Ind., and ARA Region Five director. “Having CERP graduates in a party store means that store is ahead of the class. With so much CERP activity in our region, those who are in the party rental segment are encouraged as a whole to put their best foot forward.”
Elizabeth Wilson, CERP, president of All Occasions Event Rental in Cincinnati, encourages the majority of her employees to participate in the CERP program. “We have a long history with the CERP program and it is engrained into our company culture,” she says. “We have quite a few employees who have been through the program and we see great value in that. It helps people who are newer to the company gain perspective and history as well as specialized knowledge about the industry. In addition, they learn that they can have a career in rental and they appreciate the company’s investment in their development. Having so many CERP-certified employees also gives us additional credibility with customers and other event community vendors. The feedback we get is that we have a high level of customer service and a knowledgeable staff. The CERP program creates a level of professionalism through industry knowledge and confidence, which translates to better service for our customers.”
Texas currently has more CERP graduates than any other state or province and is gaining more all the time. Delores Crum, CERP, president of Premiere Party Central in Austin, found the program helpful when she first started her business in 2000 and she continues to see the value in encouraging other team members at her store to obtain their certification as well.
“We had no knowledge of the rental and events industry when we started, so we had to learn from the ground up. The CERP program gave us an opportunity to accelerate our rental education and helped set us on the fast track to success. The CERP designation represents a commitment to professionalism and demonstrates that we are serious about doing things the ‘right’ way,” Crum says. “The program’s popularity in our state reflects the competitive nature of the party rental business in our metropolitan areas. To make our businesses work well, we need education and training and the opportunity to create and maintain an educated and motivated work force.”
Meanwhile in Florida, the ARA of Florida board has issued a challenge to themselves and to their state association members to get their CERP designations before The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., in order to highlight the party and event rental profession in their state and help promote the benefits of the CERP program at The Rental Show.
For more information about the CERP program and the recent updates, visit the Certified Event Rental Professional website pages of ARArental.org or contact Callie Jennings, ARA project coordinator, at CERP@ararental.org.