American Rental Association names volunteer recognition award winners

The American Rental Association (ARA) annually recognizes outstanding volunteers for their service to the association. The following are the recipients of this year’s volunteer recognition awards, which will be presented during The Rental Show in New Orleans.

The Distinguished Service, Meritorious Service, Special Service and Outstanding Leadership Awards will be presented during Lunch With ARA on Feb. 5, while the Regional Persons of the Year and President’s Image Awards are presented during the regional receptions on Feb. 6.

Distinguished Service Award

Next to the Rental Hall of Fame, this is the most prestigious award ARA presents. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership with long-term service to the association at the national, state and local levels.

Jeffery Wearing, president Ready Rent-All in Decatur, Ga., receives this year’s Distinguished Service Award. Wearing has been a mentor to many in the rental industry since he joined the American Rental Association in 1978. He’s been actively involved at the state and national levels.

He served on the ARA board of directors from 2000-2003 as Construction/Industrial Services Special Interest Group chairman and was very involved with Construction U workshops at The Rental Show. During his board service, Wearing was on the executive committee in 2002 and a member of the ARA Strategic Planning Committee. He also served on the ARA Foundation board in 2000 and as a member of the General Tool Special Interest Group in 1994-1995.

For many years Wearing served as ARA of Georgia president and on its board. His dedication kept the state association members involved through many years. He attended ARA Leadership Conferences and was a frequent participant at the National Legislative Caucus each year, plus he donates to and supports both ARAPAC and the ARA Foundation.

During the economic recession beginning in 2008, Wearing created a presentation called “How to Manage Through Tough Times” for an ARA of Georgia meeting. This provided valuable information to members and, subsequently, he was asked to present on this topic at state meetings for ARA of Alabama, ARA of Florida and ARA of Tennessee. He’s also been a speaker for several state association meetings and RenTechs.

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Wearing continually reaches out to members to build business relationships and support, and is always available to help members when asked.

Meritorious Service Award

The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in a defined area of association service, such as through a committee, special project or service activity.

This year’s honoree, Jeff Stachowiak, is director of safety training with Sunbelt Rentals in Saint Johns, Fla. His passion for a safer rental industry is always evident, as is his hard work and dedication in the training and safe use of aerial work platform equipment for the equipment rental industry.

Stachowiak has provided valuable expertise, leadership and guidance to ARA for improved safety and readily volunteers for programs that will benefit the entire rental industry. His time, energy and passion for safe use of AWP equipment have been extraordinary.

He participated in the initial September 2009 AWP Industry Initiatives meeting in Chicago coordinated by ARA, which brought together general and associate members on aerial work platform equipment.  This meeting evolved into two industry best practice documents, Statement of Best Practices of General Training and Familiarization for Aerial Work Platform Equipment (released February 2010) and Statement of Best Practices of Personal Fall Protection Systems for Aerial Work Platform Equipment (released March 2011). Stachowiak contributed to both documents and was a valued member of both working groups.

He’s also provided articles for ARA publications, service on a panel of experts, attended meetings and provided one-on-one information to staff and ARA members and been a proactive, technical expert who is all-inclusive in his approach.

Stachowiak also provides volunteer service to the American National Standards Institute on behalf of the rental industry, serves on the board of the Scaffold and Access Industry Association and is a speaker at numerous industry-related events.

Special Service Award

This honor recognizes an industry supplier who has made an outstanding contribution to the association.

Michael Tharpe receives this year’s Special Service Award. Tharpe is director of sales for

TopTec Products in Moore, S. C. He’s worked in the rental industry and been a member of ARA since 1989. During that time he has been a great supporter and ambassador for the association.

Tharpe served as an associate member director on the ARA board of directors from 2009-2011. He’s participated in many ARA committees including The Rental Show Task Force, Exhibitor Advisory Committee, ARA Insurance Risk Management Committee and is a frequent speaker at The Rental Show.  TopTec Products has exhibited for more than 25 years and is a longtime sponsor. Tharpe also has supported the Events & Tents program at The Rental Show as a sponsor, attendee and presenter.

In addition, Tharpe has completed numerous presentations on tent training and staking at many ARA events at the local, state and national levels and works to build ARA relationships with those in the industry. He has a passion for people and a passion for the rental industry, with a willingness to assist when asked and go above and beyond in his efforts to advance the industry.

Tharpe also is a strong ARA Foundation and ARAPAC supporter. He has attended several National Legislative Caucus events on behalf of the industry and lobbied on many issues with members and state association leaders.

Outstanding Leadership Award

Recipients of this award have demonstrated superlative leadership at the grassroots level – state, local or provincial. This year’s recipient, Robert Nally, is president of Apache Equipment Corp. in Phoenix, which has been a member of ARA since 2004.

Nally has served on the board of ARA of Arizona since its inception in 2010 and is currently president. He was instrumental in the activation of the state association, working on the initial revitalization meeting, the grassroots efforts to obtain a board of directors, completing the state association by-laws and scheduling member meetings.

Member meetings for ARA of Arizona have been successful to draw members from throughout the state and to attract members and non-members due to the program content. The association began with 44 members and is now at 47 members and growing. It fully participates in all ARA programs and activities.

Nally will continue to serve as president of ARA of Arizona in 2012 and will provide his leadership to the board and membership for an active and engaged association to benefit members.

In addition, Nally has been involved with ARA on the national level as a member of the Construction U task force in 2006. He’s also attended the Leadership Conference, the National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C., and supports ARAPAC. He is a longtime attendee of The Rental Show.

Regional Persons of the Year

These awards honor members who have made outstanding contributions to the association and the rental industry on the regional, state, provincial or local levels.

Region 1 – Steve Reitter, Robinsons Hardware, Hudson, Mass.

Region 2 – Michael Yamrock, Drake’s Rental, Phillipsburg, N.J.

Region 3 – Tony Long, Mint Hill Tool Rental, Charlotte, N.C.

Region 4 – Frederick Dupy, American Party Rental, Austin, Texas

Region 5 – Chris Wright, House of Rental, Skokie, Ill.

Region 6 – Willy Hay, Oak Grove Rental, Oak Grove, Mo.

Region 7 –Robert Nally, Apache Equipment Corp., Phoenix

Region 8 – Brett Richter, Double R Rental & Sales, Langley, Wash.

Region 9 – Becky Wittmer, Lewis Rents, San Lorenzo, Calif.

Region 9 – Nancy Quintel, Lewis Rents, San Lorenzo, Calif.

Region 10 – Angie Venekamp, Rental Network, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

President’s Image Award

This is a business facility or store award celebrating a commitment to improving the rental industry image through a remodeling, rebuilding or renovation project.

Region 2 – Melani Kodikian, CERP, A to Z Party Rental, Montgomery, Pa.

Region 7 – Rob Robben, CERP, Robin Event Rental, Loveland, Colo.

Region 10 – Andrew Paquette, CERP, Bravo Party Rental, Dorval, Quebec, Canada