Two veteran equipment rental industry leaders will become the newest inductees into the Rental Hall of Fame. Joseph Jabbour and William (Bill) Veneris will be formally inducted during a ceremony at The ARA Show 2019 in Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 17.
The American Rental Association (ARA) created the Rental Hall of Fame in 2000 to foster an appreciation of the historical development of the equipment and event rental industry and the leaders who helped the industry grow and expand. Each year, nominations are accepted to recognize individuals who have made a substantial impact to the industry at the national or international level.
Joseph (Joe) Jabbour began his career in 1972 with Rand Air Co., a division of Ingersoll Rand. At that time, Rand Air was the first division of a major manufacturer solely dedicated to the equipment and event rental industry. Jabbour began in sales, but moved his way up to sales management, then to vice president and eventually to president of Rand Air. During this time, he played a key role in the development of this segmentation of the business and dedicated rental business model where he always drove awareness of the rental industry. He passed this vast knowledge of rental onto many young salespeople, which taught them how to help their customers thrive and grow their rental businesses through the products they offered.
Jabbour’s segmented sales model geared toward rental was a pivotal addition to the industry. Within Ingersoll Rand, this model paved the way for rental stores to buy direct through a dedicated sales team. Jabbour focused on the rental store’s success, teaching the entire organization to look after the customer through the life of the rental asset.
Jabbour attended his first ARA trade show in 1973, and then attended for the next 38 years while growing his volunteerism within ARA. He became the first associate member to be elected to the ARA board of directors in 1996 and was elected to the same post again in 2010. He earned the ARA Special Service Award in 2008 and served on the Exhibitor Advisory Committee in 2010.
Jabbour retired in 2013, but his legacy in the rental industry continues to be felt with a strong work ethic and high regard for individuals within ARA and the industry. The equipment and event rental industry was his vocation and avocation at the same time.
Bill Veneris was an early pioneer in computerizing rental operations with Alert Management Systems in the early 1980s. He pushed the envelope of what a computer could do to enhance the operation of a rental business. He began with operational improvements like collecting overtime charges and tracking lost equipment before using a rental-specific computer system to correctly calculate rental periods, eliminate lost or incomplete contracts, enforce ID requirements and more.
In the mid-1980s, Veneris was the first in rental software to employ structured customer collaboration techniques to develop new features and eliminate flaws in old ones. The International Alert User’s Association was part of the development process that began with 15 customers in a conference room with more than 100 numbered ideas. A voting and consensus process determined the features that would be developed and implemented. Nearly 40 years later, more than 100 Alert customers collaborate annually in a similar process to continue improving the software. Veneris encouraged other rental software companies to follow suit, which many of the most-successful companies have done. His leadership has had a positive and lasting impact on the rental software industry and, therefore, the equipment and event rental industry.
While Veneris was focused on his software and customers, he began volunteering with ARA. In 1993, he was awarded the Region Seven Person of the Year Award for his contributions. He also received the Special Service Award in 1995 and served as the chairperson for the Exhibitor Advisory Committee in 1998.
The vision of Veneris enabled Alert to be either the inventor or an early adopter of practically every rental software innovation. This included driver’s license scanners, integrated credit cards and integrations with the first CRM systems. With technology booming, Veneris saw through the hot trends to see what would be practical for his clients.
Veneris was widely known as an expert in the rental software industry. He was a regular contributor to industry publications on the topic where he was often asked to share his expertise with others in the industry.
Veneris retired in 2006 but resisted to sell Alert to the highest software conglomerate bidder. Instead, he sold the business to his two senior managers, which has been a continued tradition. These transitions have provided stable benefits for Alert employees and clients alike.