Celebrating the industry’s leaders
By Ashleigh Petersen
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Celebrating the industry’s leaders

Award winners to be recognized during the show

The ARA Industry Awards Lunch during The ARA Show™ 2021 will bring the equipment and event rental community together to celebrate the volunteer spirit of American Rental Association (ARA) members. The event will be held Sunday, Oct. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Resorts World.

During lunch, ARA will honor the recipients of the Industry Ambassador, Exemplary Service, Industry Impact and Rising Star Awards. The lunch program also will include the induction ceremony for the newest inductees into the Rental Hall of Fame — Don Ahern, Michael Kneeland, Edward Latek, Timothy Maloney, CERP, and John “Jack” Shea Jr. Click here to learn more about the latest inductees.

Advance registration and ticket are required to attend this event. Tickets are $30 per person for ARA members and $50 per person for prospective members. The ARA Industry Awards Lunch is sponsored by BOMAG Americas, Choice Party Linens, FTG Equipment Solutions and Mi-T-M Corp. Award presentations during the event include:

Industry Ambassador Award

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated long-term leadership and service to the association at the national, state or local levels.

Dale Blackwell, Aba Daba Rents, Sacramento, Calif., was a well-respected member of ARA and a director and officer of the California Rental Association (CRA) for 17 years. He was the chair of the CRA Insurance Committee for 14 years. In 2006, he became executive director of CRA until his passing in April 2020. In his role as executive director, he was instrumental in promoting the rental industry and encouraging collaboration with ARA.

Blackwell’s leadership was especially helpful in bringing the ARA and the CRA closer together. He reached out to ARA’s new CEO, Tony Conant, in 2016 and opened a dialogue that has led to joint yard parties, combined board events and a deeper understanding of how the organizations can work together to achieve shared goals.

Blackwell was a supporter of ARA’s Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) and the ARA Foundation. He served on the ARA Dues Committee in 2001 and 2002 and was the Region Nine Person of the Year in 2002.

Exemplary Service Award

This award recognizes an individual or group that has made a significant contribution in a defined area of association service, such as government affairs, education, technology or workforce development.

Ron Holbert, owner, JoRonCo Rentals, Bakersfield, Calif., is engaged in many community events and was invited to speak at a press conference for the cancelation of a large annual event due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). He used this opportunity to represent not only the event rental industry, but the live event industry as well. His remarks included statistics from ARA’s weekly COVID-19 surveys that reflected the enormous revenue loss the  event rental industry experienced and his desire that the event rental professionals be allowed to be part of the solution.

Holbert has been an active ARA member. His service on ARA’s Events and Tents Task Force from 2013 to 2016 was exemplary. He chaired this task force from 2014 to 2016 and was the driving force behind the “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” session, whose ideas became the foundation for ARA’s 150 Ways to Make Money in Rental. Without Holbert’s leadership in developing this session, it would not have been a success. He spent hours calling members who submitted entries to learn about their idea.

Holbert attended ARA’s Leadership Conference in 2012 and 2014 and joined the ARA of California board in 2013 as a director-at-large. He became the board treasurer and a member of the legislative committee in 2014. Moving up the ranks, Holbert has served as vice president, president and now past president of this active state chapter. He is an active participant in the board meetings and has assisted in planning many of the California meetings and events, including the very successful Clay Shooting event in August of 2018.

He is an ARA Foundation and ARAPAC supporter. Holbert received the Region Nine Person of the Year award in 2018.

Industry Impact Award

This award recognizes a manufacturer supplier and/or independent manufacturer representative rental industry professional who made a significant impact on the association and/or industry during the past two years.

Daun Kouchoukos, regional manager, Hilti, Plano, Texas, serves on the ARA of Indiana board of directors as the associate member director, a position she has held since July 2016. She actively participates in the chapter meetings and is an ambassador for the Indiana chapter. Kouchoukos was a member of the planning team for the 2020 Bus Tour and Punch Bowl Social.

Through her service on the Indiana board, she heard about the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Clean. Safe. Essential. (CSE) training courses and reached out to ARA staff to learn more about the courses. Kouchoukos’s interest was to promote the training courses during her visits with rental professionals.

She was invited to join a group of other associate members for a discussion on creating a CSE training course for ARA’s associate members.

“Daun was incredibly helpful. She reviewed the course, offered advice, feedback and was very enthusiastic about it,” said Lauren Watts, ARA director of education.

The associate member course launched in early August 2020.

Rising Star Award

This award recognizes a young professional who has demonstrated leadership at the grassroots level.

Andrew Heesacker, president, Arvada Rent-Alls in Arvada, Colo., is the ARA Region Seven director. He was a member of the ARA of Colorado board since 2014, serving as treasurer for three years and president from 2017-2020.

Heesacker served as a volunteer member of the ARA Construction/Industrial and General Tool Shared Interest Group (SIG) in 2017 and 2018 and has served on the Government Affairs Committee since 2019. He is an active ARAPAC supporter.

He attended the ARA Legislative Caucus in 2016 and 2018, the Young Professional Conference every year since 2015 and the ARA Leadership Conference in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Heesacker was named to Rental Management’s 10 to Watch Under 40 in 2015 and received the Region Seven Leadership Impact award in 2020.


Celebrating regional peers

During The ARA Show™, attendees can meet with rental peers from their area during the Regional Receptions. Each of ARA’s 10 regions will host a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Each reception will include hors d’oeuvres and a hosted bar, plus a presentation of the Leadership Impact Award. This award recognizes an individual from each region whose leadership has benefited their state and/or local association and its members over the past year.

Advance registration and ticket are required. Tickets are $30 per person for ARA members and $40 for prospective members.

The following individuals have been selected to receive Leadership Impact Awards:

Region One: Lindsay Smith, CERP, Abbey Tent & Party Rental, Fairfield, Conn.

Region Two: Harry Price, Trimble & Associates, Street, Md.

Region Three: Warren Clayton, Asheville Hwy Rental, Spartanburg, S.C.

Region Four: Kerrigan Ambers, United Rentals, Rogers, Ark.

Region Five: Susan Irwin, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Region Six: Ryan Kucera, Rental City, Omaha, Neb.

Region Seven: Jeff Jackson, All Purpose Rental & Sales, Greeley, Colo.

Region Eight: Sam Castillo, Tate’s Rents, Boise, Idaho

Region Nine: Dale Blackwell (deceased), Aba Daba Rents, Sacramento, Calif.

Region 10: Lars Erickson, Special Event Rentals & Sales, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Make a nomination

Nominations for the Rental Hall of Fame and industry contributor awards can be made at any time. Each year, the American Rental Association (ARA) recognizes several individuals for their outstanding volunteer service to the association and the equipment and event rental industry with awards, which are traditionally presented at The ARA Show™.

Nominations currently are being accepted for awards to be presented at The ARA Show 2023 in Orlando.

Visit ARArental.org/ARA-Foundation/Industry-Awards to learn more and to make a nomination.

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the associate editor for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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