New inductees chosen for Rental Hall of Fame
Canadian Rental Association
Nov. 9, 2009 – Moline, Il. – Two long-time rental industryleaders will be the newest inductees into the Rental Hall of Fame. The late Wilbert “Bill” Bourque and Michael Watts will be formally inducted during a ceremony at The Rental Show in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 8.
Wilbert “Bill” Bourque
The late Bill Bourque was a pioneer and rental industryleader who was instrumental in helping many people get started in the rentalbusiness. He was the former vice president of franchising at Taylor RentalCorp. and later the first general manager of Servistar’s then-new rentalprogram, Grand Rental Station.
Bourque began his career with Taylor Rental in 1967 andhis primary responsibility was working with owners on setup and display for newstores. In that capacity, he ultimately worked with more than 650 peopleentering the rental industry. Bourque attended the ARA convention and manyregional shows for more than 20 years. He also presented seminars, both as an executive of Taylor Rental Corp.and as a franchise owner, and was the director of “Taylor Tech,” a trainingschool that included both rental industry training and ARA information for allnew rental center owners. Under his direction, Taylor Rental Corp. grew to have620 stores in 49 states by 1980.
Bourque moved to Servistar in 1985, where he facilitatedthe opening of the first 100 Grand Rental Station operations. He received aPresident’s Gold Citation for successfully launching the Grand Rental Centerprogram. He retired from Servistar in 1990.
In total, more than 750 entrepreneurs started in therental business under Bourque’s guidance. Some of those he helped became industry leaders themselves, includingARA Past President Richard Frechette of Quality Rental Centers, Pawtucket,R.I.; Doug Dartnell, a past ARA regional director from Taylor Rental, Concord,N.H.; Wayne Broadwater of Rental Depot, Manassas, Va.; John Bibbo Sr. of EventSource, Cleveland; and Roger Gamache Sr. of A&G Associates/Taylor Rental,Leominster, Mass.
Mike Watts entered the rental industry in 1970 as a salesrep for Apache Rentals. In 1977,in the midst of a recession, Watts purchased a single location rental store inPhoenix, which became Sunstate Equipment. Watts grew Sunstate from one location to 54 locations in eight states tobecome the nation’s 12th largest rental company. Today he serves aschairman of Sunstate, continuing to lead innovation in the company.
Watts’ success reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of this industry: an ownerwho began as a small independent rental operator who has maintained thatindependent spirit and work ethic throughout the growth of the company. Throughthe foundation of innovative management, financing, technology and marketingtechniques, Watts identified business opportunities to capitalize upon. He hasbeen a leader within the local and national rental associations, including atthe international level, and in sharing expertise to benefit rental businessesand manufacturers, which is well recognized. He credits the company’s successto quality employees who work well together on their commitment to serve the customer. Involvement and communication among thestaff team builds the success of Sunstate, along with a strong focus to meetthe needs of the marketplace.
In addition to founding Sunstate Equipment and auxiliarycompanies, Watts continues to have an active role in the construction industryand the business community. He is well recognized for his and his family’sphilanthropic contributions. His leadership continues to set a high standard ofprofessionalism for this industry.
Watts and Sunstate remain an active ARA member.
The American Rental Association created theRental Hall of Fame in 2000 to foster an appreciation of the historicaldevelopment of the rental industry and the leaders who have made the industrywhat it is today. Each year, nominations are accepted to recognize individualswho have made a substantial impact on the industry at the national orinternational level. The induction ceremony is held during the keynote sessionat The Rental Show.
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