Kirk Edwards, owner, Kit-Mo Rental & Supply Co., Paducah, Ky., has been named the new president of the ARA of Kentucky. He replaces Ian Goff, CERP, general manager, Goff Tents & Events, Nicholasville, Ky.
Board service is nothing new for Edwards. He served on the Heartland Rental Association board from 2005-2007 and has been an ARA of Kentucky board member since 2005, serving as president from 2011-2013. He also has been a board member of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Western Kentucky for the past 30 years.
Why does he keep volunteering for board service? Edwards says it boils down to two things: the ability to expand his knowledge and to connect with others.
“With ARA, it is about learning the rental industry and networking with other rental owners. The networking is invaluable. If you have a problem, most likely someone else in the industry has had the same problem. You are able to learn a lot from that, not to mention that ARA [the American Rental Association] has a lot of services that are good to use. One of those services that I have been pretty involved with over the years has been the lobbying efforts through ARA’s National Legislative Caucus that has been held in Washington, D.C. That benefits all of us,” he says.
Not only does he gain by learning from other rental operators, but he also has a lot of information to share, being a second-generation rental operator who literally grew up in the industry.
“My first ‘job’ in the industry was when I was 6 years old. Our business, which was established in 1956 as the Warning Lights of Paducah, began as a barricade rental operation. At that time, barricades were new to the industry. When my dad had a large amount of barricades, my brothers and I would form an assembly line and put them together. That was my start in the rental work life,” he says with a laugh.
The business has grown significantly since then, serving the construction and general tool markets as well as a small amount of party. They moved into a new location in 1967 — the site they are at today. The company became Kit-Mo Rental & Supply Co. in the 1970s — representing the four states the business served: western Kentucky, southern Illinois, northwest Tennessee and southeast Missouri. “As the store grew and my father expanded into other areas of rental, he dissolved the business relationship he had with his former barricade partner,” Edwards says, adding that in the 1990s, his family bought a store in Madisonville, Ky., which is still going strong.
Now, as the sole owner of his family’s rental operation, Edwards credits networking with his rental peers for helping him and his business be successful. That is why a significant goal of his as the new president of the state chapter is to “get more people involved,” he says. “Hopefully I can do that by leading by example — that people can see what I have done, which might inspire someone else. Perhaps they will see that I have been involved with this so long that there must be some type of value in it, which there is. That has always been my biggest goal is to get more people involved. The more people involved, the stronger we are.”
Another goal Edwards has for the coming year is to have the Kentucky Legislature implement a theft of services statute for rental. “We have a theft of services on the books, but there is not a definition of theft of services for the rental industry. It is not spelled out for rental equipment. The ARA of Kentucky is in the process, which we started this year, to try to get that definition in. That will be one of my main goals this year — that the statute is worded properly so we are covering all our bases for the rental industry,” he says.
Accomplishing those goals will be a full board effort. Please welcome the new ARA of Kentucky board:
President: Kirk Edwards
Vice president: Pete Bottom, owner, Job Master Rental, Danville
Secretary and Treasurer: Katlyn Goff, CERP, manager, Purdon’s Rental & Sales, Lexington
Board member: Ian Goff, CERP
Associate member director: Tara Harter, owner, H. Brown Sales, New Palestine, Ind.
Honorary member: David Wilcox II, president, General Rental Center, Frankfort
Honorary member: Terry Bryant, president, Bryant’s Rent-All of Lexington, Lexington