The American Rental Association will induct rental veterans Angus Mercer and Allen Morehead into the Rental Hall of Fame in February at The Rental Show in New Orleans. ARA created the Rental Hall of Fame in 2000 to foster an appreciation of the historical development of the rental industry.
Angus Mercer of Charlotte, N.C., spent more than 40 years in the equipment rental industry as president of Contractor Service and Rentals, president of the southeast division of Grace Equipment Co., and chairman of Mercer Equipment Co.
Mercer and CSR were one of the first companies to offer the rent-to-rent option, beginning in the early 1950s. The company expanded to eight stores in the Carolinas, eventually reaching $21 million in annual rental and sales revenue in 1981 when he sold the company to Grace Equipment, which went on to become Prime Equipment and Rental Service Corp. Mercer continued as president of Grace’s southeast division, which he grew to 18 locations with more than $60 million in annual revenue.
Mercer later left Grace and founded Mercer Equipment, later acquired by United Rentals.
Known as an innovator, Mercer began using mechanical accounting machines for tracking each individual item in CSR’s rental fleet, beginning in 1956. The program captured such data as cost, income, maintenance, utilization and return on investment, and served as a management tool. Mercer also required each candidate for employment to go through a testing program, a first for the industry.
Allen Morehead of Ace Rents in Lancaster, Pa., began in the rental industry in 1970 when he began working for Charles McCourt, a 2014 Rental Hall of Fame inductee, at Ace Rents. The two men partnered and opened six rental centers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, growing the industry and providing jobs to many. Morehead was also a founder of Rental Service Supply, later re-named RSS Distributors.
Morehead is known for volunteer involvement, which began at the grassroots level with the Keystone Rental Association and ARA of Pennsylvania. He became involved on the national level in 1981, when he began the first of three terms that totaled seven years of service on the ARA board of directors through 1998. Morehead was also one of the pioneers of ARA Insurance through his work with the development of ARDI – the American Rental Dealers Insurance.
Morehead began a second tenure on the ARA board in 2002, when he was elected national vice president. He served as senior vice president in 2003, ARA president in 2004 and 2005, and chairman of the board in 2006. He was also on the ARA Foundation board of trustees and was honored with ARA’s Distinguished Servie Award and Region Two Person of the Year.
The Rental Show will be in New Orleans, Feb. 23-25, 2015. Mercer and Morehead will be inducted during the opening ceremony.