CRA President's Message: Your association is working hard behind the scenes
There’s more going on at the CRA than meets the eye.
I had no idea what I was going to write about this month and Patrick was putting the pressure on me. As I thought about it, I realized this message will be much like the rental business – you will not know what is next until you read it and some things you will have heard before.
Although the rental business is very busy this time of year, it may appear there is nothing going on at the CRA. That is so far from the truth. Nathalie and her team are working on trade shows, a July meeting with the American Rental Association, a September board meeting, preparing for the ARA show in New Orleans and looking for a replacement for Jenna Lansky. Speaking of Jenna, she will be missed. Not only was she a wonderful person but also a great asset to our organization. We wish her continued success in her new venture. I am also positive that Nathalie will find a suitable replacement.
Now back to what’s going on. The national directors are also preparing for all the meetings above as well as putting together a wish list for your local. Your local boards are having meetings and hosting social events such as golf tournaments and football games. They are always looking for new members and volunteers. These new members and new volunteers bring new life and ideas into our industry. If you have a new idea, do not keep it to yourself. Share it or, even better, volunteer and make your idea a reality. There is a wonderful satisfaction and good feeling when you can say it was your idea and you helped make it work.
That idea may be a new benefit that we can look at for the CRA members or a new social event. As far as benefits go, there are many out there. Check out the website crarental.org and ararental.org to see what’s available, or contact either office.
On the social end of the spectrum or, as I like to refer to it, the learning events, start planning your trip to the ARA show in New Orleans. This is a wonderful event and New Orleans is a great city. If you have never been, this is a wonderful opportunity. It is the largest gathering of rental people and vendors in the world. The show offers great training seminars and a trade show floor where, if you cannot find what you are looking for, it probably doesn’t exist. There are great social gatherings like the CRA hospitality event. Aside from the trade show, New Orleans offers many things on its own, such as Bourbon Street, a river boat cruise and airboat tours of the bayou. My favorite is the food and cocktail tours of the French Quarter. Also, since you are already in New Orleans when the show is over, for a very reasonable price you can jump on a cruise ship. The show takes place in February 19 to 21 and I can’t think of a better way to break up a Canadian winter.
Another great and under-utilized CRA benefit is the scholarship program. The deadline for this is February. For the 2017/2018 school year, the ARA will be handing out 54 scholarships worth a total of US$89,000 across the U.S. and Canada to young people planning a career in the rental industry. Students can receive the scholarships more than once, so if you or your child or a young person in your organization has already received one, don’t be shy about applying again. Many students receive financial assistance every year of their post-secondary career. Go to either of the websites above for more information or to apply.
Lastly there seems to be a common problem throughout the rental industry of staffing. With that in mind, if you had any summer help that really impressed, do your best to convince them to make rental a career. I feel part of our employment problem is awareness. The average person does not know what a wonderful industry this is. If we find a good one we need to try and keep them in our industry. As they say, youth is our future.
Hank McInnis is assistant manager at Atlantic – The CAT Rental Store in Dartmouth, N.S. He has been working in the rental industry for 13 years.