ARA's Rental Show previewed by IRN

22 December 2008

Trade shows often have to deal with challenging business conditions, so while the American Rental Association (ARA) would have wished for a different economic backdrop to its Rental Show in Atlanta in March, the organisation will still be hoping for a busy and vibrant convention.

It is possible to argue that shows like the ARA's should even thrive in difficult times. Although the exhibitors to the three-day trade show may not be writing record sales deals in March, the show does give rental companies a great opportunity to seek out new products or niche areas that could give their businesses a welcome boost. The Rental Show has a track record in providing just that, not least for rental companies from outside North America.

Similarly, the dozens of seminars and networking events organized by ARA - there is no event on earth that offers the same number of lectures, seminars and workshops - give rental managers and owners the chance to learn a lot in a short period of time. Some of the seminars have even been designed to provide guidance during a difficult period: the Construction University, for example (which takes place on the Sunday before the trade show) includes presentations on understanding the current economic outlook and how to boost the financial performance of your business.

Things to look out for this year include the latest ‘State of the Industry' statistics for North America, to be announced by ARA president Christine Wehrman at the morning Keynote Opening Session on Tuesday, 3 March. Previous years has seen ARA's consultant, Global Insight, give bullish predictions about future growth - it will be interesting to see how the consultant has modified its forecasts.

That opening session also gives ARA a chance to honour some big names of the rental industry, past and present. This year there are three inductees into the Rental Hall of Fame - two pioneers no longer with us, and one key figure from recent history, Brad Jacobs, founder of United Rentals (see box story).

For those international visitors planning to attend, it is worth noting that, while the event actually kicks off during the weekend with Events & Tents and the Construction University, the trade show itself opens at 10.00 am on Tuesday and runs through until 2.00 pm on Thursday.

KHL Group and IRN is again exhibiting in the heavy equipment area of the hall (booth 6847), close to the Skyjack, JCB and Doosan Infracore Portable Power stands.

Our January-February issue will include a full Guide to the Rental Show, providing details of some of the most interesting new products being launched.

Basic Show Details

What: ARA's Rental Show
Where: Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Trade Show: 3-5 March, 2009
‘Headquarter' Hotel: Atlanta Marriott Marquis

Show Schedule

Saturday 28 February
5.00 pm - 7.30 pm
Events & Tents Opening Reception

Sunday 1 March
8.00 am - 5.00 pm
Construction University conference

5.00 pm - 6.30 pm
First Time Attendee Reception

6.30 pm - 8.30 pm
Next Generation of Rental Owners Reception

Monday 2 March
9.00am - 5.00pm
Educational Seminars

11.15 am -12.30pm
International & Regional Lunches
Lunches are hosted for each of ARA's 10 regions and international members. Cost is $10 per person (advance registration and ticket required).

Tuesday 3 March
8.00 - 9.45 am
Keynote Session: Overcoming the Unthinkable, Presented by Capt. Scott O'Grady
US Air Force fighter pilot Scott O'Grady describes his experiences as a pilot shot down while helping was helping enforce the NATO no-fly zone policy in Bosnia during June 1995.

Hall of Fame Induction
The keynote session also will include the induction ceremony for the Rental Hall of Fame and results from the 2008 State of the Equipment Rental Industry Report from ARA CEO Christine Wehrman.

10.00 am - 5.00 pm
Exhibition Open

5.00 pm - 7.00 pm
International Reception

Wednesday 4 March
8.30 am - 12.30 pm
International Rental Store Tour

9.00 am - 5.00 pm
Exhibition Open

6.30 pm - 10.00 pm
'ARA's Gone Country', Lonestar in concert at the Atlanta Civic Center

Thursday 5 March
9.00 am - 2.00 pm
Exhibition Open

Construction University Conference

As usual ARA is scheduling a one-day construction rental conference on the Sunday before the show. The event starts at 8.00 am with a networking breakfast, with the first seminar beginning at 9.00 am.

The seminar will cost US$200 if you book by 19 December, rising to $225 if booked by 19 February, and thereafter to $250. Among the topics to be covered are:

9.00 - 10.30 am
Contractor Perspectives: Understanding Your Customers

10.45 - 12.15 pm
Today's Economy: Understanding the Outlook for the Rental Industry

10.45 - 12.15 pm
Profit Planning: Boost the Financial Performance of Your Business

1.45 - 3.15 pm
Extreme Makeover: Transforming Your Construction or General Tool Rental Store

3.30 - 5.00 pm
GPS Technology: Applications for Rental Operations

3.30 - 5.00 pm
Job Site of the Future: Competing in Tomorrow's Marketplace

See details of all the seminars at

Hall of Fame Inductees

The ARA will induct three industry veterans into its Rental Hall of Fame during this year's Rental Show. The three are late Thomas "Mitch" Hoxie, Bradley Jacobs and the
late Hal Plugge Jr.

Thomas (Mitch) Hoxie: Mitch Hoxie was one of the rental industry's early and influential pioneers. In 1946 he and his family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he started the city's first rental business in 1947. The name was later shortened to Aero Rental and Hoxie opened four additional operations, one of the first rental companies to have multiple locations. He was elected to the board of directors in 1959 and appointed executive vice president for 1961-1962. He retired from Aero Rentals in the early 1980s and passed away in 1984.

Bradley S. Jacobs: Mr Jacobs was not a rental industry insider when he decided to invest his money, energy and expertise in co-founding United Rentals in 1997. He looked at the industry from a fresh perspective, having founded and served as chairman/CEO of United Waste Systems, and saw rental as a solid industry with a promising future. What began as a concept around his dining room table quickly evolved. The company grew by acquiring more than 250 rental companies and became the North American rental industry leader in just 13 months and today is the largest rental equipment company in the world with more than 700 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Mr Jacobs served as chairman of United Rentals until August 2007.

Harold (Hal) Taylor Plugge Jr.: The late Hal Plugge Jr had a vision to start a national chain of franchised rental stores. After four years of research, the first tool rental program for the company was introduced in 1962. It met with immediate success and the following year, the Taylor Rental Program (Taylor was Mr Plugge's middle name) was offered on a franchise basis. Taylor Rental Corp's peak came in 1980, when there were 620 stores in 49 states. Hal retired due to health reasons in the late 1970s and he passed away in 1993.

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