In the beginning, Megan “Mac” Whittlesey, CERP, 37, general manager, Ideal Rent-All, Mt. Vernon, Wash., was “just having fun” by joining the rental department at a family-owned hardware store.
“The rental department manager asked if I could come help them answer phones. I looked at it as a promotion, so I wanted to learn all about the equipment — what it was for, how to operate it and how to repair it. I wanted to know as much as I could to provide the best service to our customers,” Whittlesey says.
“I never really thought about it as a career until later. I was enjoying learning new things, teaching new things, playing with equipment and building relationships with customers and co-workers,” she says.
“I think about it now and see that everything I’ve done was a steppingstone to a very rewarding career. All the fun I was having and little things that I was doing like certifications, organizing, scheduling and teaching were just building blocks,” she says.
Ideal Rent-All rents everything from nail guns, pressure washers and floor equipment to 20,000-lb. excavators, skid steers, tractors, boom lifts and material handlers. In addition, there are trailers, luxury restrooms, tents, tables, chairs, inflatables, climbing walls, cash cubes, a riding bull and life-size Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots.
Target customers are contractors and homeowners as well as the city and county.
“Our company is quite unique. Our guys are very dedicated and create solutions. They are the kind of guys who will get a call in the middle of the night to set up an emergency fence after a building caught on fire or will deliver flood equipment to the customer whose pipe burst in the middle of the night. This job isn’t just 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re part of a community and the team at Ideal Rent-All steps up when they’re needed,” she says.
The company also sells concrete and last year worked with Cart-Away to custom-build a new batch plant and cement silo.
Whittlesey also found that being involved in her state association was beneficial. “At first, I simply expressed interest, going to the events and shows. I quickly made friends with other owners and operators who seemed to love to share stories. It was nice to talk to people who share my same interests and concerns. I’m a helper by nature. When I was approached to join the ARA of Washington board, I happily accepted,” she says.
In order to attract more people to the industry as a career, Whittlesey suggests that owners and managers take an interest in the individual.
“Be a mentor and encourage that ‘ownership’ mentality by allowing them to earn it. Give learning and training opportunities. As Richard Branson said, ‘Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’ I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a few people taking me under their wing and teaching me,” she says.