Rental Hall of Fame 

The equipment and event rental industry has grown and prospered from the service of many leaders during the past 60-plus years. ARA created the Rental Hall of Fame in 2000 to foster an appreciation for the historical development of the rental industry and the leaders who have made the industry what it is today. ARA is proud to honor and recognize these outstanding individuals who have made a significant contribution to the equipment and event rental industry over the years.

Rental Hall of Fame

 

2019 Inductees • Inducted in Orlando. • February 2020

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Charlie Neffle began his active service to ARA in 1995 when he served on the Advertising and Marketing Committee. In the coming years, there were few, if any, committees that he wasn’t involved with. He moved on to serve on the ARA board, ultimately as ARA president in 2001-2002. During his tenure on the board, he was instrumental in the development of the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program, assisting in the selection of ARA’s third CEO and the development of a strategic plan for the association.

The development of the CERP designation was a major turning point for those in party and event rental. For the first time, they could validate their expertise with an industry certification. Neffle was so dedicated to this that he encouraged all of the staff at his operation to pursue this designation.

After serving as president, Neffle went on to chair the ARAPAC Council from 2004-2006, serve on the ARA Insurance Limited board from 2007-2009 and chair the ARA Foundation Board of Trustees in 2009-2010.

Tom Fouts began working in rental in 1970 and has been dedicated to promoting the equipment and event rental industry and ARA on local, state and national levels throughout his career in the industry. He was an officer on the ARA board for five years, including president in 2003 and board chair in 2004 and 2005, and has served on more than 20 local and national committees and boards.

During his tenure on the Education Committee, he helped develop education, safety and management training systems and the “Making It Work” video training series. These paved the way for Rental U courses in the areas of rental store management and day-to-day operations. He also helped develop the RenTech educational programs as chair of the General Tool Shared Interest Group (SIG).

In 2002, Fouts presented “Operation ID,” which he structured to create “Intentional Development” of leadership for local and state associations. This program recognized strengths and weaknesses, identified individuals with leadership potential and developed processes to support stronger associations.

Fouts also served on the Rental Management Advisory Board and co-chaired the ARA Insurance Services Captive board. He has attended ARA’s National Legislative Caucus more than 20 times and on a local level, worked to eliminate personal property tax on rental equipment and was successful obtaining stronger theft of services legislation.

2018 Inductees • Inducted in Anaheim, Calif. • February 2019

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Joe Jabbour began his career in 1972 with Rand Air Company, a division of Ingersoll Rand. At that time, Rand Air was the first division of a major manufacturer solely dedicated to the equipment and event rental industry. During this time, he played a key role in the development of this segmentation of the business and dedicated rental business model where he always drove awareness of the rental industry.

Jabbour’s segmented sales model geared toward rental was a pivotal addition to the industry. Within Ingersoll Rand, this model paved the way for rental stores to buy direct through a dedicated sales team. Jabbour focused on the rental store’s success, teaching the entire organization to look after the customer through the life of the rental asset. Jabbour concluded his career at Doosan Portable Power.

Bill Veneris was an early pioneer in computerizing rental operations with Alert Management Systems in the early 1980s. He pushed the envelope of what a computer could do to enhance the operation of a rental business. He began with operational improvements like collecting overtime charges and tracking lost equipment before using a rental-specific computer system to correctly calculate rental periods, eliminate lost or incomplete contracts, enforce ID requirements and more.

In the mid-1980s, Veneris was the first in rental software to employ structured customer collaboration techniques to develop new features and eliminate flaws in old ones. The International Alert User’s Association was part of the development process that began with 15 customers voting to determine the features that would be developed and implemented. Nearly 40 years later, this process still continues.

2017 Inductees • Inducted in New Orleans • February 2018

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Carl Newman's years of ARA leadership on the state and national levels included terms as ARA president for 2006 and ARA of Tennessee president, meeting with a sitting U.S. president to discuss the industry and impacting the worldwide growth of equipment rental. His footprints on the industry are seen throughout Tennessee, California, the entire U.S. and even Australia. In 2002, he attended ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C. It was there he was selected as one of four delegates for a briefing on small business issues held by President George W. Bush at the White House. During Newman's time on the ARA board of directors, he joined the discussions and negotiations with the California Rental Association aimed to establish an affiliation. His leadership ultimately led to the establishment of the ARA of California and the regeneration of Region Nine. As the ARA board chair in 2007, Newman’s influence in Australia on behalf of the association resulted in the creation of the ARA Foundation’s International Rental Business Leadership Program.

Melvin “Mel” Williams was one of the early pioneers in the equipment rental industry. While it took time for word of ARA to spread from the Midwest, Williams was instrumental in bringing other equipment rental businesses together on the East Coast. With other rental businessmen in the Boston area, he created the Northeast Rental Equipment Association, which eventually became known as the American Rental Association of Massachusetts. Rent-A-Tool became an ARA member in 1963 and Williams soon became a well-respected authority on the equipment rental industry. He was an ambassador for nonmembers to join and become involved with ARA. Williams was an innovator when it came to his rental inventory and processes. His creation of quality control, inventory management and yard management solutions are still seen throughout the industry today. His claim to fame in the industry came with the development and enhancement of the portable diesel generator business. He was well-known for his marketing of these generators during the Northeast Niagara Falls blackout in 1965. He also shipped generators all over the U.S. during severe blackouts, floods and hurricanes.

2016 Inductees • Inducted in Orlando • February 2017

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In 1959, Art Moore founded Snorkel Fire Equipment Co. in Grandview, Mo., with a revolutionary platform used for firefighting and rescue. Today, Snorkel has an expansive product line of aerial work platform, or AWP, equipment thanks to Moore’s pioneering efforts. Snorkel entered the construction and industrial market with the introduction of the Snorkelift telescopic boom AWP in 1977.

Moore’s emphasis on innovation, safety and simplicity drove the development of rental-friendly products. He helped many independent rental businesses explore new opportunities by focusing on products that could easily be made available for rent. Under his leadership, Snorkel grew to become a Fortune 500 company. Although he retired in 1991, Moore is still active within Snorkel and remains on the board of directors.

Spencer Etzel is a long-time advocate for research and education in party and event rental. He has dedicated his knowledge and passion for more than 40 years to promote safe tenting practices and mitigate the need for externally imposed regulations that may be unfavorable. He has many credits to his name, including being the first to design an all-vinyl fabric tent with welded seams, webbing and load plates; inventing the now-ubiquitous “quick pin” used in installations; importing the first European fabric structure; laying the groundwork for the first scientific and professional studies in the industry on the holding power of tent stakes; and designing the first slide-track top system for Western-style frame tents.

Etzel has been an active volunteer for ARA, and was a co-author of the Tent Installation discipline for ARA’s Certified Event Rental Professional program.

2015 Inductees • Inducted in Atlanta • February 2016

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Gene Rahll began his career in the rental industry in 1968, when he recognized the need for a general rental store near where he lived in the Baltimore, Md., area. As Rahll began ABC Rental, he began forming business partnerships. His guidance helped influence growth of the rental market in the Baltimore area. Eventually, he oversaw the opening of nine locations in the area, and eight of the employees he mentored later partnered with him to start their own rental businesses. As these businesses grew, the new owners purchased Rahll's interest in the rental stores. Rahll's unique approach to mentoring young employees and helping these entrepreneurs build their own businesses by providing both advice and financial assistance has led to a Rahll "rental family tree" of 31 rental locations in business today.  

Lew Hudson and Associates, a manufacturer's representative business, focuses on growing the construction equipment rental market. Hudson promotes new and existing products to his customers to keep them on the leading edge of what's happening product-wise. He also is adamant about service to customer after a sale, and encourages manufacturers to provide product training to help rental owners rent manufacturer's products more safely and effectively. The mentoring and time he has invested in his people is apparent in how they present themselves within the industry, and how they touch those outside the industry in other walks of life. 

2014 Inductees • Inducted in New Orleans • February 2015

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Morehead joined the industry in 1970, when he began working for Charlie McCourt — a 2014 Rental Hall of Fame inductee — at Ace Rents. Morehead opened six rental stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia with McCourt and also was a founder of Rental Service Supply, later named RSS Distributors. Morehead has a long history of volunteer involvement.

He served three terms on the ARA board of directors between 1981 and 1998, totaling seven years of service. Then, in 2002, he was elected vice president of the ARA board. He served as senior vice president in 2003, ARA president in 2004 and 2005, and as chairman of the board in 2006. As one of the pioneers of ARA Insurance, he was involved in with developing American Rental Dealers Insurance (ARDI). Additionally, Morehead served on the ARA Foundation board of trustees and was honored with ARA’s Distinguished Service Award and the Region Two Person of the Year Award.

Mercer served as president of Contractor Service and Rentals (CSR), president of the southeast division of Grace Equipment Co. and as chairman of Mercer Equipment Co. during his 40-plus years in the industry. In the 1950s, Mercer and CSR were one of the first to offer rental.

He built eight CSR stores in North Carolina and South Carolina by 1981, when he sold to Grace Equipment. In 1990, he began Mercer Equipment with his sons-in-law and served as chairman until United Rentals bought the company in 1997. Mercer was an innovator. In 1956, he began using mechanical accounting machines to track each item in CSR’s rental fleet. He also was one of the first in the industry to require every potential employee to go through a testing program. 

2013 Inductees • Inducted in Orlando • February 2014

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Greenfield contributed to the equipment rental industry at every level while serving as president of Bunce Rental. He served on numerous ARA committees, as Region Eight Director from 1985-1987 and as ARA President in 1994. His most significant contribution to the success of the industry was in the area of insurance, as he knows the importance of having industry-specific insurance for equipment rental. He served as Chairman of the Board for ARDI, which later became ARA Insurance. He was an integral part of the transition of ARDI and ARDI Exchange to ARA Insurance Services, and the creation of ARA Insurance Limited, a captive insurance company.

McCourt was a former rental store owner. He founded McCourt Manufacturing in 1983, a leading chair and table supplier for the equipment rental industry. In 1964, he purchased a general equipment rental store in Lancaster, Pa., which was the first of six rental stores he operated in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. He later sold each to its respective manager and moved to the supplier end of the industry. His advice, understanding and knowledge of the rental industry helped hundreds of rental stores during his years in manufacturing. He was one of the founders of Rental Service Supply, now known as RSS Distributors. He also was active in ARA's Region Two and was an at-large director of the ARA. He received the Special Service award in 1997, and served as a trustee of the ARA Foundation when it was reactivated in 2000.

2012 Inductees • Inducted in Las Vegas • February 2013

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Coogan started his rental company and grew it into a multi-state, multi-million dollar operation with more than 12 branches in just a few years. He sought out ways to diversify the company by looking for diverse employee candidates to nurture. He also developed a formal manager trainee program for known as “Coogan College.” As president of the ARA in 1985, he was an outspoken proponent of the rental industry and made it a point to help others successfully expand their operations. During his term, he and his fellow directors put into place management procedures for continued growth of the industry and the ARA, strengthening its structure and program management.

Elmen has been an active member of the rental industry for more than 49 years. He was responsible for 53 general rental stores, a rental software firm, and rent-to-own and mini storage businesses. Elmen created and operated all of these interests with a central office staff of eight people. He spent more than 40 years managing rental stores and grew his company to become, at one time, the largest privately-owned general rental company in the U.S. He helped build the original United Rent-All franchise, as well as the Nationwide trailer system. He also wrote articles for Rental Management magazine. Elmen received ARA’s Meritorious Service award in 1970, Distinguished Service award in 1974 and was named Region Six Person of the Year in 1990.

2011 Inductees • Inducted in New Orleans • February 2012

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Glifberg joined Cramo in 1994 as CEO. At that time, the company consisted of six different companies without a common business model. He helped launch a new brand in 1995 and created a unifying methodology. Under his leadership, Cramo expanded operations into eight European countries. The company, based in Helsinki, Finland, now has close to 400 branches in 15 countries. In 2011, Glifberg also was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Rental Association.

Berry, best known for his tenure as president and CEO of Modesto-based U.S. Rentals, was a 30-year veteran in the equipment rental industry. He played a major role in the 1998 merger of United Rentals and U.S. Rentals. Berry began working at Berry Equipment Rentals with his father at age 13. At 21, he managed his own branch. By 24, he served as general manager of Berry Equipment Rentals five locations. U.S. Rentals bought the company in 1976 and retained Berry. At 32, he became vice president and was named president and CEO in 1986. Under Berry's leadership, U.S. Rentals grew from 39 locations and $45 million in revenue to 131 locations and about $600 million in revenue. He was widely respected for how he treated people and his management acumen. He also was a strong advocate of industry safety practices.

2010 Inductees • Inducted in Las Vegas • February 2011

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Manning purchased a Taylor Rental store in Las Cruces, N.M., in 1979 and expanded the business to include four A-1 Rental Center locations in New Mexico. He focused on the image of the industry, raising identity of the appearance, layout and design of a rental business. He also led development of a national advertising program for the industry through his leadership role within the ARA. Manning served as ARA president in 1995, and was actively involved with the association throughout his career. He served on the ARA Insurance board of directors and as an ARA Foundation Rental Advisory Program consultant.

2008 Inductees • Inducted in Atlanta • March 2009

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In 1997, Jacobs founded United Rentals with several former colleagues. United Rentals remains the world's rental industry’s largest company, with branches in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Jacobs’ familiarity with Wall Street markets facilitated his ability to attract tens of billions of dollars in capital to the rental industry purchase rental companies. He also was responsible for the strategic direction of the company and oversaw a record number of acquisitions that transformed the rental industry by establishing the largest rental company in the world. Jacobs stepped down as United Rentals chairman in Aug. 2007.

Plugge began working at his father’s hardware wholesale company in 1958. He anticipated the trend toward renting and developed the idea of a tool rental program for hardware and lumber dealers. The company introduced its tool rental program in 1962, after four years of research. The following year, the Taylor Rental program was offered on a franchise basis. The first Taylor Rental Center opened in Rutland, Vt., in June 1963 and Plugge was named chairman of the board in 1971. The company’s name was changed to Taylor Rental Corp. in 1972, and it became a publicly traded corporation that September. Plugge’s understanding of the industry enabled hundreds of small business owners to become successful entrepreneurs by operating under a brand-name identity that contributed to an improved image of the rental industry.

Hoxie founded the city’s first equipment rental company in 1947. Like many of the industry’s pioneers, Hoxie stumbled upon the rental concept by accident. As a contractor, Hoxie had a large supply of equipment and tools and came up with the idea as neighbors continually asked to borrow his tools and machines. He initially purchased an old gas station to house the business and later opened four more branches, becoming one of the first rental center owners with multiple branches. He was one of the first members of the ARA and was elected to the ARA Board of Directors in 1959. Hoxie served as executive vice president from 1961-1962. He also served on several committees, was honored as Rental Man of the Year in 1964 and received the Distinguished Service award in 1968.

2007 Inductees • Inducted in Las Vegas • February 2008

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In 1963, Begley began his career in the equipment rental industry when he purchased his first store in Dublin with Alan Pilkington. The two developed a strong reputation for their business, so much so that the company, Hire-All, became synonymous with quality service throughout Ireland. The original business offered tools and equipment for rent until a trip to The Rental Show convinced them to convert the business to party/catering and leisure. As of 2007, Hire-All Event and Party was Ireland's largest catering and leisure rental operation.

Hawthorne’s career began in 1950, when he joined his father at Los Angeles Tractor and Equipment Co., a construction equipment rental and sales business. In 1956, the company was awarded the Caterpillar dealership in San Diego and became Hawthorne Machinery Co. The company continued to be a major player in rental that served as a model and inspiration to the later generation of Caterpillar dealers who decided to enter the rent-to-rent field, as well as Caterpillar’s management, as the company elected to enter the rental business as a corporate strategy.

Keenan was both influential and instrumental in the formation of today's ARA. During the two years before he became ARA president in 1973, he visited rental businesses in 45 states and several Canadian provinces as a way to recruit new members and promote what later became the focus of his presidency: image. That included the rental service image, inventory image and public image, and led to the creation of what is now the President’s Image award, which honors members who build a new store or renovate or remodel an existing location. Keenan also was a key part of forming and leading the Rental Industry Executive Foundation, which is now known as the ARA Foundation.

2006 Inductees • Inducted in Atlanta • February 2007

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Malzahn worked in a small machine shop, where he developed the world’s first compact service-line trencher, twice named by Fortune magazine as “one of the 100 best American-made products in the world.” In 1955, he formed Ditch Witch in his hometown of Perry, Okla. and remains active with the company. The company is now known as The Charles Machine Works/Ditch Witch and employs about one-fourth of the town's residents.

McKenney founded The Rent-All Shop with her husband, Joe, in 1972. In 1997, McKenney became the ARA’s first female president. During her tenure, she worked with the ARA Board of Directors to develop a new state association program to provide states with the financial resources to monitor and change laws affecting the industry in their states. She was instrumental in creating the “Next Generation of Rental Owners” in 1992, led the revitalization of the ARA Foundation in 2000, and developed and implemented the Rental Executive Advisory Program, which is now the Rental Advisory Program. She also helped expand the scholarship program to include both university and community college scholarships.

Hill, along with partner Jim Browder, acquired a small rental company known as Rent-It in 1962 for a few thousand dollars they saved from an oil company job. By 1968, the business had expanded to four locations. In 1978, it was sold to W.R. Grace Co., and Hill stayed on as president. When he retired in 1988, the company was a $100 million operation with 67 locations and 850 employees. Hill was widely admired for his leadership and participated in laying the foundation for the development of national rental companies. He was well-respected by the industry as both a leader and a mentor.

2005 Inductees • Inducted in Orlando • February 2006

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Kaplan was the first successful pioneer of large, multi-branch nationwide rental operations. He introduced business management principles to the industry that were rental-specific and demonstrated how operations could be managed against measurable performance standards. These initiatives were a first for the industry and contributed to the development of rental as an enterprise capable of maturing and growing into a significant force in the U.S. economy, as it is today. Kaplan serves as a consultant for the rental industry and has written extensively for publications.

Burnett was one of the founding fathers of the ARA. In the mid-1950's, he traveled to United Rent-All franchises to meet with operators and discuss the advantages of a national association. He was part of the meeting in Moline, Ill. on March 6, 1955, when the association was created, and served on its first board of directors. Burnett was instrumental in creating a magazine for the association, and was a pioneer of advertising and marketing. He also worked extensively to structure the national organization with local associations.

Swan’s focus always was providing equipment primarily for rental and developing products that could be easily rented by any size operation. He's also an active ARA associate member and The Rental Show exhibitor. Based on a need that existed within the rental industry for a dual-disc grinder, Swan developed this product and made it available for rental. This one machine established the basis for a new direction in rental: surface preparation. Under his direction, EDCO manufactured 14 product families with 44 base models. Swan also served on ARA committees and received the Special Service award in 1970.

2004 Inductees • Inducted in Las Vegas • February 2005

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Collett was one of the founders of the ARA. He worked to develop the association and served as Region Three Director, Vice President for two terms, President in 1963 and Chairman of the Board. He also received the Distinguished Service award in 1967 and was named Region Three Person of the Year in 1980.

De Vries continually promoted the rental industry. From the time he began his business until his death in 2003, he encouraged rental store owners to join and get involved with the ARA and the California Rental Association. He also was a columnist for Rental Management magazine from 1977-1996. He received the Meritorious Service award in 1979 and was named Region Nine Person of the Year in 1982.

Ristow served as ARA Region Five Director, and then as ARA president in 1970. He also was chairman of the ARDI Exchange, ARA’s insurance subsidiary. While serving as ARA President, he was instrumental in establishing four distinct councils for rental operations with various equipment inventories — the forerunner to today’s Shared Interest Groups. Ristow worked to expand the scope of the ARA internationally. He received the Distinguished Service award in 1963, the Meritorious Service award in 1990 and was named Region Five Person of the Year in 1992.

2003 Inductees • Inducted in Atlanta • February 2004

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Doran was an innovative industry veteran who started in rental around World War II. His philosophy was simple: He believed he had a piece of equipment for every building in the country, and that there wasn’t a business, building or home that didn’t have a need for rental equipment. He was a pioneer of technology within the rental business, and developed a wide-ranging and original inventory that included many equipment modifications he manufactured himself. He sold his business to United Rentals in 1998.

MacFarland has been referred to as “the rental promoter” and “a rental visionary.” He started his rental business in 1963 and soon realized his rental revenues increased as he promoted the rental concept through creative advertising. He used direct mail, television, radio, billboards, newspapers and city busses to advertise. He created a multifunctional store that included a separate showroom for party inventory, tool inventory and viewing areas to see the warehouses for both. He served as Region Ten Director from 1979-1982 and ARA President in 1989.

Walker started his business in 1960. He championed the industry’s legislative issues and participated in ARA’s National Legislative Caucus several times. He always set an example for others in establishing congressional relationships and lobbied Congress on behalf of the industry when needed. His efforts and contributions were invaluable as the ARA entered the insurance market. He also was instrumental in the formation of the Rental Equipment Industry Foundation, now known as the ARA Foundation, and ARA’s state associations.

2002 Inductees • Inducted in Anaheim • February 2003

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Kennard is an exceptional entrepreneur. He joined the family business in 1964 and was a partner with his brother Neville for 27 years. During that time, Kennards Hire became the largest family-owned hire business in Australia. He was instrumental in identifying niche opportunities for Kennards Hire. Kennard forged a relationship with the ARA and supported bringing attendees to The Rental Show. The company also was involved with establishing the Global Rental Alliance.

Milling started Northside Tool in 1953 and was one of the ARA pioneers. He served as ARA President in 1968 and 1969, received the Distinguished Service award in 1973 and was named Region Three Person of the Year in 1978. He also served as president of the ARA of Georgia.

In 1931, Greenberg founded one of the oldest truck and rental equipment businesses in the nation. He is affectionately known as the “Granddaddy” of rental. Over the years, his business impacted the evolution of the industry. He was also well-known for his philanthropy and community involvement.

2001 Inductees • Inducted in New Orleans • February 2002

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Levine is known for creating buying programs directly for the rental market. According to Multiquip, the company was “one of the first, if not the first, company to bypass equipment dealers and sell directly to the rental industry.” Levine created Multiquip’s comedy nights for charity at The Rental Show, which ran for nearly a decade and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities. He received the Special Service award in 1993 and the California Rental Association’s (CRA) James Gartland award for his contributions to that association.

Klarin was very influential in convincing rental companies to add party rentals to their services. He served as ARA President in 1987 and on the ARA Board of Directors from 1980-1988 and 2000-2001. He also received the Distinguished Service award in 1983.

Grasse was co-founder of Acme Rents, which eventually evolved into Rental Service Corp. and became the industry’s second-largest rental company. He served as president of the California Rental Association (CRA) in 1969 and was a member of the CRA Board of Directors from 1960-1972. He also was named the ARA Rental Man of the Year in 1969.

2000 Inductees • Inducted in Fort Worth • July 2001

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Siegfried, who retired in 1987, was integral in forming the association and served as the ARA’s first Executive Director. During his 31 years of service, he grew the association to nearly 5,000 members. Siegfried also played a major role in expanding the rental concept internationally and developed the ARA’s national trade show, now known as The Rental Show. The first Show was held in 1956 in Kansas City, Mo.

Cameron founded Atlantic Rentals in 1960. Beginning with three branches, the company grew to 24 locations throughout the Canadian Maritime provinces. Cameron was a founding member of the Rental Association of Canada, which is now known the Canadian Rental Association (CRA). He wrote its bylaws and served as CRA President for four years.

F.W. Gartner Co. was one of the largest rental companies in Texas for several years. In 1999, it was acquired by United Rentals. Gartner served on several ARA committees and as ARA President in 1982. He also was a founding member of the Rental Equipment Industry Foundation, which focused on industry-specific education and training.

Wacker was president of Wacker Corp. from 1977 to 1993, and was one of the first manufacturers to offer special financing programs and co-op sales programs to rental companies. He also was one of the first to provide demonstration equipment to rental centers. The company was a pioneer in providing product training for rental companies and their employees. Wacker’s original training manuals were the forerunners to today’s comprehensive training programs.

Considered the founder of the ARA, Hawk gathered together 21 rental business owners to form the National Rental Operators Mutual Association in 1955, which later evolved into the ARA. Hawk also served as the association’s first president from 1955-1958.