ARA, RIA Talks Gathering Momentum

LAS VEGAS - American Rental Association and Rental Industry Association executive board members met for several hours at the RIA show here in mid-October to discuss what ARA board chairman Richard Paquette called "new ideas and new ways we can work together."

Paquette told RER that open mindedness and a renewed spirit of cooperation pervaded the conversations, which also involved ARA president Frank Wilson, senior vice president Charles Neffle and vice president David Wilcox and RIA board chairman Tony Beringer and president Larry Pedersen.

"We didn't want to meet and just pat each other on the back or review the same old topics," said Paquette, who has been through several rounds of negotiations between the two organizations. "We put some new ideas on the table that each of us can take back to our boards, and we'll meet again in December."

Pedersen added: "I feel we have the right people in place in both organizations to pursue an agreement. We started by focusing on what we agree on. Once we establish what unites us, then we can take a look at the more difficult points that we disagree on and see what we can do about those."

Pedersen set the tone for the meetings at the opening assembly by publicly declaring the importance of the two organizations' working together for the benefit of the entire industry. Pedersen and Paquette emphasized that manufacturers increasingly are demanding that the two associations arrive at a trade-show cooperation agreement.

LAS VEGAS - The RIA's Western Rental Equipment Expo here drew 538 attendees in mid-October, a 33 percent drop from 803 people at last year's show in Anaheim, Calif., according to RIA executive director Chuck Maltese.

A total of 229 rental companies from 22 states and three countries came to the three-day show, down 15 percent from 269 companies in 1999, Maltese said. The number of exhibitors also fell, to 311 from 416.

"I'm disappointed that more of our members didn't take the break they deserve and visit us in Las Vegas," Maltese said. "We continue to be amazed at how supportive the manufacturers are of our association and members."

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