ARA to recognize members for their service at The Rental Show

Each year, the American Rental Association (ARA) recognizes individuals for outstanding service to the association and the rental industry. Here are those who will be honored at The Rental Show 2014 scheduled for Feb. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.


The Distinguished Service Award recognizes continuing service to the rental industry at the international, national, state and local levels, and is the highest volunteer recognition award given by ARA after the Rental Hall of Fame. Peter Lancken, chairman of Kennards Hire in Seven Hills, New South Wales, Australia, will receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his involvement with the formation and continuation of the Global Rental Alliance.

Lancken was part of the initial discussions among executives from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to form a network of international equipment rental associations in February 2001 at The Rental Show. Further discussions encouraged the associations to join together and representatives of these countries (with the exception of New Zealand) and France met at The Rental Show 2003 and agreed to form the Global Rental Alliance. Its purpose was defined as “to increase the profile of equipment rental worldwide and increase membership value to the respective membership associations.” The group is administered by ARA and functions informally through networking, personal relationships developed on behalf of their associations and ongoing communication.

Lancken built on the work of the Global Rental Alliance in helping to create the International Rental Business Leadership Program administered by the ARA Foundation. This international job shadowing program began in 2008, with Lancken hosting the first participant at Kennards Hire. The program, now in its fifth year, has had eight successful job shadow visits.

The Meritorious Service Award recognizes exemplary leadership in a defined area of service, such as work on a national committee, special project or service activity. Joseph McKenney, a retired ARA member from Edwards, Colo., is this year’s award recipient.

McKenney, previous owner with his wife, Pam, of The Rent-All Shops in Columbia, S.C., is being recognized for his work with the ARA Foundation’s Rental Advisory Program. Through this consultation and advising program, experienced rental store owners volunteer their time counseling other rental business owners. The advice is via phone calls, emails or on-site visits to the rental business and covers areas such as operations, management, marketing, warehousing and finances.

Part of the Rental Advisory Program since 2001, McKenney is frequently called for his expertise on financials and business succession. Among the requests he fulfills are those for long-term advice that require in-depth analysis. He’s traveled to several businesses to offer hands-on advice, as well as provided educational programs on business financials and succession to several ARA state associations. He volunteers all his time and services, with many requests taking considerable time and analysis. McKenney is the most active of the program’s advisors and, through his volunteerism, has provided immeasurable assistance to many in the rental industry.


The Special Service Award honors someone who is not in the business of renting, but who has made an outstanding contribution to the rental industry. This year’s recipient is Alex Kouzmanoff, vice president of Aztec Tents in Torrance, Calif. The company is a 32-year exhibitor at The Rental Show and has been an ARA associate member since 1988.

Kouzmanoff has been actively involved in Events & Tents, ARA’s educational program for party and special event rental held at The Rental Show. He’s been a frequent seminar speaker and moderator, including Las Vegas in 2013. He also has taken a lead role in Aztec Tents’ sponsorship of Events & Tents for many years. He served on the Events & Tents Task Force in 2004-2006 and is currently a member of the Party and Event Services Shared Interest Group.

He’s also been a long-standing resource on issues within the tent industry, for ARA and related event industry associations, and participated in developing ARA’s Statement of Best Practices of Emergency Evacuation Planning for Tented Events in 2012. Kouzmanoff is currently enrolled in the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program. He was a key supporter of ARA of California upon its formation in 2004, sponsoring and participating in the state association’s inaugural programs.

The Outstanding Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has provided an example of superlative leadership at the grassroots level. This year’s recipient is James Morden, president of Rentshop in Alliston, Ontario, Canada.

Morden, a second-generation rental business owner, is currently an Ontario provincial director on the Canadian Rental Association (CRA) board. He’s being recognized for his longstanding work to get the younger generation of those in rental involved through his efforts with the Ontario chapter of CRA, his networking with members in the U.S. and outreach through social media.

He was active in ARA’s Next Generation of Rental Owners Task Force and in the previous workshops at The Rental Show, and is now involved with the Next Generation’s successor, ARA’s Young Professionals Network. He also works to actively connect the younger professionals throughout Canada, both through social media and with the help of other provincial directors. He’s frequently engaged on social media, promoting rental activities and events on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He also connects with other provincial
directors to keep the group networked through social media. Morden personifies what could be the future generation of rental owners.

The ARA Insurance/NER Theft Award recognizes an individual who has helped the equipment rental industry fight back against equipment theft. This year’s recipient is Michael Russell of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Vehicle Theft and Fraud Unit.

The case for which he is being recognized was a multi-jurisdiction effort involving the Ohio State Highway Patrol Vehicle Theft and Fraud Unit, the Cortland Police Department, the Goshen Township Police Department and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.


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: Robert Byrne, retired member, Middletown, Conn.
  • Region 2: Woodward Thomas, Magic Special Events, Richmond, Va.
  • Region 3: Ben Cooke, CERP, Cooke Rentals, Mount Airy, N.C.
  • Region 4: Trish Southard, D. J.’s Rentals & Sales, Elk City, Okla.
  • Region 5: Don Thennes, Ed’s Rental & Sales, Crystal Lake, Ill.
  • Region 6: Andy Way, A to Z Rental Center of Eden Prairie, Eden Prairie, Minn.
  • Region 7: Doug Click, Arizona Hi-Lift, Phoenix
  • Region 8: David Dworschak, Don’s Rental, Saint Helens, Ore.
  • Region 9: Tony Wright, Celebrations! Event Rentals and Tents, Roseville, Calif.
  • Region 10: Dave Fraser, Hewitt Rentals, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

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 1 — Peterson Party Center, Woburn, Mass.

Region 3 — Liberty Party Rental, Hendersonville, Tenn.

Region 7 — Howe Rental & Sales, Murray, Utah

Region 9 — Ventura Rental Center, Ventura, Calif.

Region 10 — C & T Rentals, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


The Meritorious Service, Distinguished Service, Special Service and Outstanding Leadership Awards will be presented during Lunch With ARA on Feb. 9. The Regional Persons of the Year and President’s Image Awards will be presented during the Regional Receptions on Feb. 10.

For more information on ARA’s awards, click “Recognition” in the drop-down menu under “About ARA” at