ARA releases “10 young professionals to watch under 40” list

The American Rental Association released its list of 10 young professionals under the age of 40 to watch as they manage rental businesses and lead industry activities at the local, state and national level. We’re proud that seven of the eight North Americans listed are Point of Rental users! Congratulations to everyone who was named, especially our friends and partners who we’ll call our magnificent seven:

Wes Clark, 35, was going to be a football coach until he took a job from his father-in-law at Rocky Hill Equipment Rentals in Selma, Texas while attending college and realized he enjoyed working around the equipment and the people. He started at the bottom, working in the wash bay, and has worked his way to become vice president of the company, which specializes in rock equipment and provides service throughout Texas.

Stephen Creamer, 31, is in charge of using and training others on ABC Rental’s rental management software in Rosedale, Maryland. He knew from a young age that he wanted to work in a field that was exciting and different, but he never would’ve guessed he’d be working in the rental industry. He’s a big advocate of integrating technology into the rental business: “People my age and younger have grown up with it since we were children – it’s not something we were introduced to. As we take on larger roles in the rental industry, we are going to bring that utilization of technology with us.”

Charles Hewett, 36, has been working at ABC Equipment Rental in Tulsa, Okla. since he was 14 years old. At one point, he wanted to be a major league baseball player, but, as he put it, “There’s a certain point that comes sooner than later when you know that’s not going to happen.” Since starting in the rental industry, he hasn’t looked back, becoming the VP of ABC Equipment Rental and the president of ARA Oklahoma.

Mike Maltby, 34, swore he wasn’t going to go into the equipment rental industry. After working in an office and as a salesman for an insurance company, however, he “decided working for dad wasn’t so bad.” Ingersoll Rent-All mostly rents to homeowners and contractors; Maltby, now running the counter at the store and acting as the Ontario director for the Canadian Rental Association, sees the industry growing in the future. “Renting equipment lends itself to my generation and those who are younger. We don’t want to own some of these things, we can’t store it and we don’t know how to work it. Usually someone has been on YouTube, knows what they want and has no interest in buying the equipment.”

Dan Morris, 35, started as a shop help, eventually started training others, and kept pushing for a management position. In February 2013, he became the general manager of all six Kennebec Equipment Rental locations in Maine. He’s most excited about “getting all six of our locations to work more closely together and follow the same protocols and policies rather than acting as six separate businesses.” That includes getting everyone using Point of Rental software!

Erin Stubbs, 32, graduated from Mississippi State University with a business marketing degree and took a job in the furniture industry before realizing she wanted to be “home” at Busylad Rent-All. She’s now Busylad’s special event coordinator. She’s also active with ARA; her father, Buddy, was the association’s president in 2009 and she really became aware of the rental industry’s economic impact during visits to Washington, D.C. with him.

Ryan Thomas, 28, is a third-generation equipment rental man, having grown up at BJ’s Rentals, which still has employees that remember driving him around in Bobcats when he was a baby. After graduation from SMU with a double major in finance and economics, he rejoined the family business. Now he’s an area manager for the 11-location Southern California general rental store company, which also specializes in floor care, with concrete grinding and floor polishing equipment.

That doesn’t mean the other three young professionals are any less amazing, however. Read a synopsis below or check out a more complete bio in the ARA article.

Travis Burton, 22, was “raised to live and breathe the vision and value of our family business.” From cleaning chairs, crockery, and party rental equipment to becoming the plant controller at Barossa Valley Hire and coordinating events with Barossa Function Hire, he’s managing dozens of employees and deadlines. Barossa has three divisions, including general equipment, access equipment, and a party/event hire business. Burton hopes to expand in the future, adding multiple branches across South Australia.

Casey Keller, 33, knew he wanted to manage a hardware store back when he was in high school – he just didn’t know what that meant. After graduating from Millikin University, he covered office duties, then became assistant manager of the lumber department, and is now the store manager at K&K True Value Hardware, which has a rental company as part of its business. Keller, the president of the ARA of Iowa, targets do-it-yourselfers and homeowners with his rental business.

Tom Kimber, 39, entered the industry by placing an ad seeking part-time work in his local New Zealand paper while attending university. By the time he graduated, he was an assistant manager at a local rental shop. He progressed from assistant to branch to area to regional to operational manager when Kennards Hire, one of the largest hire companies in Australia, bought his business. Kimber stayed on and has now become the general manager of New Zealand for Kennards Hire.