Annie Helland, vice president, Pella Rental, Pella, Iowa, and Brad Croat, key accounts manager/marketing manager, Vermeer Iowa & N. Missouri, have joined the ARA of Iowa board of directors and are eager to start contributing to the state chapter’s activities.
Helland’s rental career began 15 years ago with Pella Rental — a family-owned business offering a mix of construction, general tool and party/event equipment rentals established in 1999 — where she leads the event rental portion of the business in addition to running daily office operations, including customer service, booking orders, scheduling deliveries and pickups, accounts payable and receivable, and financial bookkeeping.
Between her work experience and volunteer activities — which include participation in regional event fairs, church group leadership and coaching a local dance team — Helland feels she is ready to make a positive contribution to her American Rental Association (ARA) state chapter board.
“I hope to be able to bring a new perspective and ideas to the board,” she says. “I want to make sure that all Iowa rental stores, big or small, are aware of the resources available to them through ARA. I also would like to understand what value we’re currently bringing, and what potential exists for new or expanded value that we can bring to our state association and member stores.”
As part of a business that has been an ARA member since its founding, and a member of ARA’s Young Professional Network, Helland has a strong grasp of the resources that she would strive to endorse among member rental businesses.
“As a family-owned-and-operated rental store, I value the resources that are provided through ARA,” Helland says. “Having access to insurance, legal and HR assistance is hugely beneficial for small businesses. The networking through The ARA Show™ as well as state chapter meetings provides opportunities for knowledge sharing, best practices and lessons learned that can be shared between stores to help strengthen the entire rental industry.”
Like Helland, Croat also intends to spread the word about ARA benefits from his platform as a board member and is even willing to open his facility’s doors to his peers for industry training purposes.
“I want to get acclimated with the ARA this year and help out wherever I can,” he says. “If I can help with some training on the operation or service of the equipment that we support in our industry, even better. We have a facility that we can offer and if it works out to utilize it, that would be great.”
Croat has been in the equipment sales, service and rental industry for 24 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in business management with a human resources focus from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and has served in his role with the Vermeer organization for nine years. In his position, he is responsible for larger corporate accounts in the sales and support side of the business. “I am also the marketing manager for our dealerships, responsible for all marketing efforts for all six of our dealership locations. I have also been tasked with being our factory-certified trainer for our HDD [horizontal directional drilling] Fundamental and HDD Simulator Programs,” he says.
Other résumé highlights for Croat include involvement with the Iowa Communications Alliance (ICA) Annual Meeting and Expo committee; Saluting Branches programs at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery; the Pink Tractor Foundation, a local cancer support group; and service in the St. Marys Fire Department. In 2020, he was named New Committee Member of the Year for ICA.
As an ARA of Iowa board member, Croat says he most looks forward to “getting acquainted again with the ARA as we have added some folks and split up responsibilities [in our company] in the last few years to focus more on outside roles in our markets. I look forward to the networking side of the ARA, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.”
Be sure to thank all the rental operators who are serving in leadership roles for the state chapter:
President: Dave Hehr, president, Contractor Solutions Trench Shoring, Des Moines
Treasurer: Sarah Vajgrt, back office/front counter, Home Rental Center & Sales Co., Marshalltown
Secretary: Kyle Van De Berg, purchasing and logistics manager, Rent-All, Sioux Center
Board member: Brad Croat
Board member: Annie Helland
Board member: Scott Thompson, branch manager, Star Equipment, Ames