Each year, the American Rental Association (ARA) honors individuals for outstanding service to the association and the equipment and event rental industry. The following are recipients of this year’s industry contributor awards, which will be presented at The ARA Show 2021 in Las Vegas.
Industry Ambassador Award: Dale Blackwell (deceased), Aba Daba Rents, Sacramento, California
This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated long-term leadership and service to the association at the national, state or local levels.
Dale Blackwell was a well-respected member of ARA and a director and officer of the California Rental Association (CRA) for 17 years. In addition, he was the chair of the CRA Insurance Committee for 14 years. In 2006, he became executive director of CRA until his passing. In his role as executive director, he was instrumental in promoting the rental industry and encouraging collaboration with ARA.
Blackwell’s leadership was especially helpful in bringing the ARA and the CRA closer together. He reached out to ARA’s new CEO Tony Conant in 2016 and opened a dialogue that has led to joint yard parties, combined board events, and a deeper understanding of how the two organizations can work together to achieve their shared goals.
Blackwell was a supporter of ARA’s Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) and the ARA Foundation. He served on the ARA Dues Committee in 2001 and 2002, and was the Region Nine Person of the Year in 2002.
Exemplary Service Award: Ron Holbert, owner, JoRonCo Rentals, Bakersfield, California
This award recognizes an individual or group who have made a significant contribution in a defined area of association service — such as government affairs, education, technology, or workforce development.
JoRonCo is engaged in many community events and was invited to speak at a press conference for the cancellation of a large annual event due to the coronavirus. Ron Holbert used this opportunity to represent not only the event rental industry, but the live event industry as well. His remarks included statistics from ARA's weekly COVID-19 surveys that reflected the enormous revenue loss the event rental industry is experiencing and his desire that event rental professionals be allowed to be part of the solution.
Holbert has been an active ARA member. His service on ARA's Event and Tents Task Force from 2013 to 2016 was exemplary. He chaired this taskforce from 2014 to 2016 and was the driving force behind the "Why Didn't I Think of That" session, whose ideas became the foundation for ARA's 150 Ways to Make Money in Rental. Without Holbert's leadership in developing this session, it would not have been a success. Holbert spent hours calling members who submitted entries to learn about their idea.
Holbert attended ARA's Leadership Conference in 2012 and 2014, and joined the ARA of California board in 2013 as a director-at-large. He became the board treasurer and a member of the Legislative committee in 2014. Moving up the ranks, he has served as vice president, president, and now past president of this active state chapter. He is an active participant in the board meetings and has assisted in planning many of the CA meetings and events, including the very successful Clay Shooting event in August of 2018.
He is an ARA Foundation and ARA Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) supporter. Holbert received the Region Nine Person of the Year award in 2018.
Industry Impact Award: Daun Colombo Kouchoukos, regional manager, Hilti, Plano, Texas
This award recognizes a manufacturer supplier and/or independent manufacturer representative rental industry professional who made a significant impact on the association and industry during the past two years.
Daun Colombo serves on the ARA of Indiana board of directors as the associate member director, a position she has held since July 2016. She actively participates in the chapter meetings and is an ambassador for the Indiana chapter. Also, Colombo was a member of the planning team for the 2020 Bus Tour and Punch Bowl Social.
Through Colombo's service on the Indiana board, she heard about ARA's Clean. Safe. Essential. training courses and reached out to ARA staff to learn more about the courses. Her interest was to promote the training courses during her visits with rental professionals.
She was invited to join a group of other associate members for a discussion on creating a Clean. Safe. Essential. training course for ARA's associate members. Colombo was instrumental in reviewing the course, as well as offering advice and feedback. Thanks to her contributions, the associate member course launched in early August.
Rising Star Award: Andrew Heesacker, president, Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colorado
This award recognizes a young professional who has demonstrated leadership at the grassroots level.
Andrew Heesacker is the ARA board of director's incoming region seven director. He has been a member of the ARA of Colorado board since 2014, serving as treasurer three years and president since 2017.
Heesacker served as a volunteer member of the ARA Construction and Industrial, and General Tool Shared Interest Group in 2017 and 2018 and has served on the Government Affairs Committee since 2019. He is an active ARA Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) supporter.
He attended the ARA Legislative Caucus in 2016 and 2018, the Young Professional conference every year since 2015, and the ARA Leadership Conference in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019.
Heesacker was named to Rental Management’s 10 to Watch Under 40 in 2015 and received the Region Seven Leadership Impact award in 2020.
Leadership Impact Awards
This award recognizes an individual in each of ARA’s 10 regions whose leadership benefited their state, local or provincial association and its members over the past year.
The individuals awarded include:
- Region One: Lindsay Smith, CERP, Abbey Tent & Party Rental, Fairfield, Connecticut
- Region Two: Harry Price, Trimble & Associates, Harford, Maryland
- Region Three: Warren Clayton, Asheville Hwy Rental, Spartanburg, South Carolina
- Region Four: Kerrigan Ambers, United Rentals, Rogers, Arkansas
- Region Five: Susan Irwin, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Michigan
- Region Six: Ryan Kucera, Rental City, Omaha, Nebraska
- Region Seven: Jeff Jackson, All Purpose Rental & Sales, Greeley, Colorado
- Region Eight: Sam Castillo, Tate’s Rents, Boise, Idaho
- Region Nine: Dale Blackwell (deceased), Aba Daba Rents, Sacramento, California
- Region Ten: Lars Erickson, Special Event Rentals & Sales, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada