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United Rentals CEO Encourages Seizing Opportunities

Fri April 10, 2009 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Access rental companies should face the current economic crisis with “open minds and open eyes” and dare to make strategic decisions, be it changing their sales structure or leveraging on size, said United Rentals CEO Michael Kneeland at the IPAF Summit on April 2 in Dublin.

The CEO of the large construction equipment rental company was addressing more than 200 delegates who had come to learn more about “Dynamic powered access solutions in difficult times.”

“Price is something we shouldn’t play with,” said Kneeland, highlighting recent United Rentals research that showed customers putting price as their fifth priority. “Your best customer will pay a higher price, because you are giving them something they value. Go out and create value. Be good stewards of the industry.”

Commenting on the role of IPAF in the powered access industry, Kneeland said: “That’s what excites me about this federation — the collection of people, the collection of ideas.”

United Rentals’ application for IPAF membership was approved at the IPAF Council meeting earlier that day, bringing the federation’s membership to 673.

Also speaking at the summit was John Ball, managing director of Height for Hire Ireland and IPAF president. Ball charted the company’s strategic route through several recessions. He pointed to specific solutions for powered access including diversification from construction, investing in new equipment and internal systems, developing maintenance, and building and expanding on training.

The summit was brought to a close by Pat Cox, a former president of the European Parliament, who gave the audience of access professionals an insight into the process of European enlargement and put the economic crisis in the larger context.

IPAF managing director Tim Whiteman announced that the IPAF Summit 2010 will be held in London, together with the International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs).

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