Rental Hall of Fame



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.

2022 Inductees – Inducted in Orlando • February 2023

Collapse All Expand All

Jim started his career in the rental industry in 1969 in Boulder when he bought an A-Z Rental franchise that would eventually become Rental City. Jim built Rental City from the ground up into a thriving business that included all major rental markets: construction/industrial, general tool and event. Over the next thirty years Rental City expanded in Colorado with additional stores in Boulder, Broomfield, Longmont, and Fort Collins.

Jim sold Rental City to NationsRent in 2000. Jim was also the CEO of RenTrain Inc., a business he developed to help reduce insurance costs and improve operating techniques through educational programs for rental equipment dealers and provide websites for small businesses.

Jim has been actively involved in the American Rental Association and the ARA of Colorado over the years having served on the ARA of Board of Directors from 1988-1992 and as the 29th ARA President. While on the ARA of Colorado board he also served as President. Jim enjoyed being a rental industry consultant to dealers and co-ops over the years. In addition, he served on numerous committees and participated in seminars at the local, state and regional levels. Since his retirement he still attends all The ARA Shows.

In 1972 Broadfoot started work with his father at The Rent-It Store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and soon after in 1974 invested in the business owned by Acklands-Grainger. Doron continued to advance in his career as he led by example in a variety of leadership positions. 

Doron’s devotion to serving the rental industry is just another way that he leads by example. He has always encouraged both employees and business partners to get involved with rental organizations like the ARA and the Canadian Rental Association (CRA). He is recognized for his leadership and long-term dedication and service to ARA, CRA and the ARA Foundation. Doran was CRA President from 1989 – 1990 and then served as the ARA Region 10 Director from 2000 – 2003. He is a huge supporter of the ARA Foundation both as a volunteer and a donor. He served on the ARA Foundation board of trustees for two terms from 2009 – 2014 and sat as the Chair of the board in 2011 and 2012.

He established the Region 10 Doug Mitchell scholarship in honor of his late business partner in 2014. In recognition of his philanthropic efforts, he has received the ARA Foundation James Keenan Award five times and the 1976 Club Award 10 times.  Doron also received the ARA Distinguished Service Award in 2015 in recognition of his exemplary leadership with long-term service to the association at the national, state, local and provincial levels. Doron never hesitates to help and support others just starting in the rental industry.

2021 - There were no Inductees this Year

2020 Inductees - Inducted in Las Vegas • October 2021

Collapse All Expand All

Ahern Rentals was founded in 1953 by Don’s father and was originally located where the STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod (formerly the Stratosphere) now stands on the Las Vegas Strip. Don began working for his father at Ahern Renter’s Center in the 1970s. Venturing out on his own in 1978 with a fleet of three scissor lifts, Don relocated and founded Los Arcos Equipment which expanded across Southern Nevada and Southern California by 1983. In 1990, Don purchased the business from his father and combined both businesses into one – Ahern Rentals – in 1997. The rental business joined ARA in 1978 and has retained membership ever since.

During the deep recession between 2007 and 2009, Don found a way to achieve growth for his business. As much of the construction in Las Vegas came to a halt, Don redeployed his fleet out of the city and into new markets which led to the expansion of 30 branch locations in 30 months. Along with the growth came some challenges. In late 2011, Don voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to reorganize debt. New markets in the southern and eastern parts of the U.S. where fleet utilization was higher, generated revenue that enabled him to repay all creditors and exit Chapter 11 by mid-2013.

Don also applied his rental business knowledge into manufacturing. Inspired to produce his own reliable telehandler, he purchased Western Attachment Co. in 1999, specializing in rough terrain vertical mast forklifts. To design all-new telehandlers to his specifications, Don founded Fresno Engineering Group in 2001. Less than two years later, the company would be renamed to Xtreme Manufacturing™. Today, as the owner of Xtreme Manufacturing, Don also holds a majority stake in Snorkel™. 

Through the years, Ahern Rentals has remained a privately owned company. From the start, Don Ahern has personally invested in his company, successfully growing a small fleet into a leading rental company in the U.S.

Upon graduating from college in 1963, Ed joined his family's tool rental business in the south suburbs of Chicago, using it as a base from which he built Latek Rental Co. into a major multi-location construction equipment rental business. He took his knowledge and experience in rental to begin the development of Reli Financial Corp., a rental-specific commercial finance company in the early 1970s. After experiencing accelerated growth, Reli underwent consolidation during the mid-1980s and Ed sold the company to a life insurance company in 1986.

Ed continued to realize the need for financial services in the industry and following his retirement from Reli, he embarked on another mission in the early 1990s and founded Latek Capital Corporation. The company’s goal was to provide professional mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, advisory and valuation services to small and mid-size equipment rental and rental-related firms. 
Since its founding, Latek Capital has established a demonstrated record of successfully assisting the rental industry through its first major ownership transition and the development of equity capital. Leveraging its 45 years of rental experience, the firm is well positioned to confidentially bring together well organized, profitable, growing rental organizations with private equity groups, corporate entities, and high net worth families and individuals seeking to invest in the ever-expanding industry.

Throughout his career, Ed was an active ARA member, serving as president of ARA of Illinois, Region Five Director on the national board and chair of the Education Committee – among other positions. He built his rental network and his passion for the industry as he established a national profile.

With a career in the rental industry spanning nearly 45 years, Jack helped transform the industry through computerization. Prior to founding Solutions by Computer (SBC) in 1982, Jack was responsible for the operations of the company-owned stores of Taylor Rental. In this role, he pioneered the use of computerization in managing a rental store and its assets, bringing technology to these stores as well as 625 franchised Taylor Rental Centers. This work served as the first step in the evolution of SBC.

Early on, Jack was met with skepticism and resistance from rental operators, but he did not let that deter his vision of bringing affordable technology to rental businesses of all sizes. He fostered early adopters of his systems and then engaged them to help steer future software development efforts. Jack was one of the first people in the rental industry to talk about the importance of realizing returns above the cost of capital and documenting the financial performance of rental assets.

As an executive at Taylor Rental, Jack developed software for franchisees called Taylor Owners Program of Information and Control (TOPIC) which provided analytics to improve decision making in their businesses. His next development was SBC’s Counter Pro software which could be used to write and process transactions, and it also used information to proactively prevent problems from occurring. 

Solutions was acquired by Constellation Software in 2008, and in 2015 the company joined forces with a portion of Wynne Systems, also owned by Constellation, to form InTempo Software.
Jack was awarded the ARA Special Service Award in 1988 to recognize his industry service and the knowledge he shared with former employees who over the years have also become technology leaders. 

Michael became CEO of United Rentals in 2008, but his career in rental started long before. His first experience in the industry was in sales for Free State Industries, an aerial equipment company – before this piece of equipment was popular and scaffolding prevailed in the construction world. Michael’s perseverance led him to become the president of Free State, eventually negotiating its sale to Equipment Supply Company in 1996. In 1998, United Rentals acquired Equipment Supply Company and Michael assumed a senior management role, and later became the third CEO in the history of United Rentals.

One of Michael’s persistent messages as a rental executive was “being the biggest doesn’t matter unless you’re also the best” – reflecting his take on customer service, ingenuity, creativity, and imagination. Early on, he authorized the creation of an Advanced Solutions group that worked with construction and industrial managers in the early-adoption phase, performing drone inspections in elevator shafts and other hard-to-reach places. This helped lay the foundation for the upsurge in interest that followed. In 2011, Michael was part of establishing ARA Rental Market Metrics™, which gave rental companies a consistent way to calculate performance for the first time.

His dedication to his employees and customers was always at the forefront. In 2010, United Rentals implemented digital customer scorecards to track branch, district, and company-wide performance in key areas. Michael is also an advocate of helping military veterans transition into civilian jobs. His efforts also include supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives for the company having developed three multicultural employee resources groups: Women United, Veterans United, and Together United. On three separate occasions, United Rentals awarded shares of company stock to almost all employees – most recently awarding approximately 18,000 frontline employees who are providing essential services during the pandemic.
Michael retired from his role as CEO in 2019, but his passion for the industry remains strong. He continues to serve as Chair of the Board of United Rentals, Chair of Maxim Crane and serves on other company boards.

Tim’s career in rental began in 1977 when he joined his father who had owned a Taylor Rental franchise since 1972. In 1979, the business was one of the first to computerize their operations when they purchased a system from a company that is now known as Alert Management Systems, formerly IMS. The same year, the company became an ARA member. In 1985, Tim and his father purchased the rental inventory of Canton Chair & Table Co. and started a separate party rental store called Canton Chair Rental which Tim managed.

Since joining ARA, Tim has been an active volunteer member having served at the local, state, and national level. His service started on the Northeast Ohio Rental Association board to help rental operators across the state of Ohio. He then went on and played a critical role in founding ARA of Ohio, and in 1993, Tim began to serve ARA at the national level.

His volunteer service is extensive having served on numerous committees, task forces and boards. In 2002, Tim was elected to a three-year term on the ARA board as Region Five Director. Following his term, he was named chair of the Party Certification Task Force in 2008 where he helped update disciplines under the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program. Tim was the recipient of the 1994 Region Five Person of the Year award, a two-time recipient of the Meritorious Service award (1996 and 1998) and in 2017, he received the Distinguished Service award.

His volunteer efforts have always been in pursuit of finding ways to elevate the professionalism and safety of the industry and to educate legislators on the particular needs of those who make a living in this dynamic industry.

2019 Inductees • Inducted in Orlando • February 2020

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

In 1959, Art Moore founded Snorkel Fire Equipment Co. in Grandview, Mo., with a revolutionary platform used for firefighting and rescue. In 1971, the company was sold to ATO, which later became Figgie International, and the company name was changed to Snorkel. Moore is regarded as a key pioneer of today’s AWP industry. Snorkel entered the construction and industrial market with the introduction of the Snorkelift telescopic boom AWP in 1977, changing the company’s focus away from firefighting platforms. Moore’s emphasis on innovation, safety and simplicity drove the development of rental-friendly products and made an impact on the overall equipment rental industry. He helped many independent rental businesses explore new opportunities with their rental fleet by focusing on products that could easily be made available. To further assist these rental companies, Moore also introduced a financing program in which Snorkel guaranteed all loans they provided to customers. A longtime supporter of ARA, Moore has participated in many meetings and events and exhibited at The Rental Show. He also believes in giving back and sharing his knowledge and experience with others in the industry.

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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.” He formed Ditch Witch in his hometown of Perry, Oklahoma in 1955 and remains active with the company now known as The Charles Machine Works/Ditch Witch, still based in Perry and employing about one-fourth of the town’s inhabitants.

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

Collapse All Expand All

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 was and is always on providing equipment primarily for rental, developing products that could be rented easily by any size operation. He has been an active associate member and exhibitor of ARA. Based on a need that existed with 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/Equipment Development Co. manufactured 14 product families with 44 base models. Swan served on ARA committees. He received the Special Service award in 1970.

2004 Inductees • Inducted in Las Vegas • February 2005

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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

Collapse All Expand All

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.