As I finish my term as president of the American Rental Association (ARA) in February, I would like to thank you for your help in making 2013 an outstanding year for the ARA. Membership growth is strong and we have continued to strengthen and enhance our government affairs program, our industry marketing efforts, and many other programs and services.
Much attention was focused this past year on government affairs — and with good reason. The legislative and regulatory burden on business continues to grow. Critical to our efforts was an emphasis this past year on leveraging the reach and influence of the ARA Government Affairs Program with member engagement, along with increased volunteer involvement. Through these efforts, interest and engagement in the program has never been stronger.
This past year also was busy for the ARA Foundation. The Foundation continues to explore more ways to engage itself with the rental industry and support industry members through educational programs, relationship building and industry aid, when needed. An exciting new Foundation program is the ARA Young Professionals Network (YPN). The YPN engages ARA general members aged 18-40 with networking, leadership and educational opportunities. The increased number of young professionals participating in their states/provinces or attending ARA events, such as ARA’s National Legislative Caucus and the ARA Leadership Conference in 2013 has been inspiring.
ARA continues to be the catalyst for sharing expertise and delivering key business services for the success of members. Rental market research, education, business productivity and measurement tools, risk management and industry best practices are just a few of the great tools and resources that contribute to your ongoing business success. The Rental Show is the one place we can bring members and all of these “key business services” together. The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., scheduled for Feb. 9-12, promises to exceed your expectations. With a sold-out show floor and more networking and educational opportunities than ever before, you do not want to miss this year’s show.
The services, program work and accomplishments throughout the year would not be possible without the help of member volunteers and a dedicated staff. The ARA committees, task forces, members, board of directors and staff members who have helped with all of what ARA accomplished this past year should be proud.
One of my goals as president was to increase member engagement throughout all levels of the association. I feel we have made great strides this past year engaging more members at the local, state and provincial association levels. The number of members participating is at an all-time high and the work being performed by state and provincial associations has been impressive. I encourage everyone to participate and be part of the excitement.
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your ARA president. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with and learn from some of the best people in our industry. I also would like to thank the ARA staff members, which I feel are second to none. At The Rental Show in Orlando, I will be honored to introduce Paul Phelon as your next ARA president. Paul, I would like to thank you for your leadership and willingness to lead ARA.
I wish everyone much success in 2014. Our industry continues to significantly outperform the economy and the growth trend is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. We all have the opportunity to grow our businesses profitably and ARA is a strategic partner in that success.
Mike Blaisdell, vice president, Bunce Rental, Tacoma, Wash., is the 2013 president of the American Rental Association. He can be reached at 253-472-3347 or email@example.com.