ARA of Florida members escaped to the tropical oasis of Clearwater Beach, Fla., on the weekend of July 29-31 for the 2022 Summer Getaway. The event was hosted once again at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort.
“This event was very well organized and provided a perfect blend of networking, education and motivation,” says Marti Wenzler, strategic account manager with Chicago-based Lawson Products, who cites her key takeaways from the event as the “great camaraderie among members and evidence the industry is bouncing back post-COVID.”
The Summer Getaway kicked off on Friday evening with a welcome reception followed on Saturday by breakfast, one-on-one time with vendors and day full of professional education delivered by industry experts.
“The educational classes listed were of value enough to warrant wanting to travel to the event, which was 4.5 hours away for me,” says Tag Eure, vice president, Big Orange Rental, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Education session speakers included Alan Berg, a Certified Speaking Professional™ with more than 25 years in sales and marketing leadership roles, who delivered real-world, actionable techniques suitable for immediate implementation; and Dan Crowley, founder and president of Peer Executive Groups, who presented “How to Grow Your Company with an Elite People Strategy.”
The sessions concluded on Sunday morning with a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) regulations update from Annja Topolski, an agent with The Browning Agency, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and an overview of new resources available through the American Rental Association (ARA) from Kevin Gern, ARA vice president, education and risk management.
“All were great presenters,” says Jeff Crotto, CERP, president, All About Events – Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla. “I have heard Alan Berg speak a number of times, but he always has excellent content. The DOT/safety presentation was very enlightening. My company, like most companies, tries to do things correctly and safely, but I learned that there are things we aren’t doing 100 percent of the time and need to do a better job with.”
Eure was equally satisfied with the speakers. “Alan Berg and Dan Crowley both did excellent jobs. Alan is an excellent speaker, and Dan had some very relevant information for my needs. I was glad to see the DOT presentation as it is very important,” he says.
Saturday evening’s main event was a continuation of the ARA of Florida’s themed parties, which have come to be a highly anticipated aspect of the Summer Getaway weekend. This year, participants were encouraged to wear pink to “fla-mingle” during the dinner reception.
Attendees of the Summer Getaway are in agreement that the fine-tuning of the event continues to improve each year and that, as ever, the highlight of the festivities are the peer connections.
“This was only the second time I have attended but found this to be a much better event than last year’s. It also had a better balance of relevancy to both event and equipment rental,” Eure says.
Wenzler enjoyed the event so much that she had trouble picking a favorite part, but says “I’ll narrow it down to two. As an associate member, I really enjoyed the Vendor Crawl — it was fun to see how we can help the members who came through. I also loved the festive flamingo-themed event on Saturday night.”
“Like most ARA events, being able to connect with other like-minded members is easily the best part. I always learn more talking to others than I do in the actual sessions,” Crotto says.