Addressing key issues
By James Auerbach

Addressing key issues

Event Rental Shared Interest Group (SIG) meets in Moline

The core purpose of the American Rental Association (ARA) is to support the success of the members and advance the equipment and event rental industry. To accomplish this mission, the ARA team works closely with members who volunteer to serve as part of multiple strategic work groups.

These groups meet throughout the year and focus on achieving important objectives. Topics include education and training, safety/risk management, membership, government affairs, industry image and marketing, and more to support the success and growth of each segment. Participating members contribute valuable perspectives of how ARA can best serve the members throughout the year.

Supporting the event rental segment. The primary goal for the Event Rental Shared Interest Group (SIG) is to engage members who will work closely with the ARA team to prioritize initiatives and develop education plans to support the needs of the event rental members. The Event Rental SIG consists of members from across North America and includes both general members and associate members.

The 2022 SIG members are Delores Crum, CERP, Premiere Events, Austin, Texas, and current SIG chair; Bridget Doherty, Encore Events Rentals, Petaluma, Calif.; Jane Hutton, Arena Americas, Oak Creek, Wis.; Doug Rook, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C.; Joelyne Caprine, CERP, 24/7 Events, Valencia, Calif.; Karen Ackerman, CERP, Special Event Rentals, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Gray, Georgia Expo Manufacturing, Suwanee, Ga.; and Alex Kouzmanoff, CERP, Aztec Tents, Torrance, Calif. Dan Hooks, CERP, Party Reflections, and ARA president, also is part of the group as the ARA board liaison.

The group meets annually in the first quarter at ARA’s offices in Moline, Ill., and then again virtually during the year to address a full agenda for the upcoming year. After a year of travel restrictions and Zoom calls, the SIG group was excited to finally be able to meet again in person on Feb. 1-2, 2022.

Focus on education and training for the event rental segment. While a wide variety of topics were on the agenda at this year’s Event Rental SIG meeting, three key initiatives dominated the discussions including the scheduled update to the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program, specific education and training for the event rental segment at The ARA Show™ 2023 in Orlando, and workforce development efforts for finding staff and helping to solve hiring issues affecting all rental operators.

CERP update. Lauren Watts, ARA director of education, outlined the work being done this year by the education team to update the CERP program, both in content presented and how the information is shared. CERP is one of the longest running ARA programs for the event segment, but has not had a full update in many years. Making sure CERP remains a current, intensive and robust certification program for the event segment is a paramount focus. The work is being divided into two main concentrations, including:

  • Content. A separate work group has been formed with ARA members who have achieved the CERP designation. These members are providing feedback and input into the redesign of each section of the program. Additional members have offered to work with the education team and provide updated content as the update moves forward. The Event Rental SIG will participate in reviewing the syllabus and information and provide additional feedback.
  • Delivery. In 2022, ARA will launch new certifications and training programs for the equipment segment. The creation of these new equipment segment courses has benefitted from multiple technological advances in how training materials are offered and presented online. This includes interactive videos, animation, and dynamic content and images. All of these same updated delivery methods will be incorporated and used on the updated CERP program.


Education and training for the event segment at The ARA Show. This was a “hot” topic at the meeting. Everyone is excited to be together again and in-person at The ARA Show 2023 in Orlando. Historically, the Saturday before The ARA Show has featured a dedicated day of training and education for those in the event segment. The Event Rental SIG members provided a detailed list of potential training and education topics to be presented at the show, including event profitability and hands-on tabletop and tenting seminars as well as expert-led training sessions focusing on human resources, administration, onboarding and cross-training content, and a wide variety of safety issues. Networking events for the event segment and additional topic-specific speakers were also discussed. More information and updates to come. Information and updates about The ARA Show can be found at

Workforce development and the ARA Job Posting Portal. As many ARA members are experiencing challenges hiring and sourcing labor, workforce development was an important topic for the Event Rental SIG members. Keith Pearson, ARA’s director of rental industry workforce development, outlined the association’s ongoing efforts to provide resources to increase awareness about jobs in the rental industry and create an exclusive members-only way for them to post about their open positions to a wider audience of candidates. The SIG members gave their feedback on where they are finding success sourcing new employees and the ongoing efforts to attract new talent.

Pearson highlighted that all jobs posted on the ARA Job Posting Portal automatically are shared to more than 15 other national job boards. This greatly expands the reach of a member’s job posting to be seen by potential candidates. The SIG members discussed different ways to spread this information and let more ARA members learn about this new tool to assist with their hiring efforts as ARA has created a “portal” that allows members to save time and money and reach exponentially more candidates all in one place.

Future workforce efforts will feature resources to be available for members to use in their local markets speaking at high schools and regional job fairs to introduce more people to careers in rental.

You can learn more at Also, all ARA members receive five free ads to try out the job portal.

ARA thanks all the members who graciously volunteer their time each year to provide incredibly valuable feedback and input on key initiatives to support the event rental industry.

James Auerbach

James AuerbachJames Auerbach

James Auerbach joined the ARA in November 2020 after spending the past 25 years in the event rental, event planning/production, and hospitality industries. During his career, he managed businesses of various sizes from small owner-operated companies to large corporate or private equity-owned businesses. When he’s not working to support the event rental industry, Auerbach loves spending time with his wife, two kids, and two small dogs — Bella and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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