Two New Inductees Added to Rental Hall of Fame

The American Rental Association (ARA), Moline, Ill., will formally induct two rental industry veterans—the late William (Bill) Berry and Gunnar Glifberg—into the Rental Hall of Fame during a ceremony at The Rental Show in New Orleans on Feb. 6, 2012. Each year, nominations are accepted to recognize individuals who have made a substantial impact on the industry at the national or international level.

Bill Berry

Berry spent his entire life in the equipment rental industry. As a young boy, he tagged along with his father, who owned Berry Equipment Rentals in Modesto, Calif. At 21, Berry was managing his own branch and, by 24, he was general manager of five branch locations. U.S. Rentals purchased his father’s company a short time later and kept Berry on in a management position. In 1982, he was regional manager for Northern California before becoming vice president. In 1986, he became president and CEO. In 1998, he played a major role in the merger of U.S. Rentals with United Rentals and became president and a board director. Under Berry’s leadership, U.S. Rentals grew from 39 locations and $45 million in annual revenue to 131 locations and about $600 million in revenue.

Safety was a major concern for Berry. In the early 1990s, he implemented the use of ratchet binders on delivery trucks. In the late 1990s, aerial manufacturers introduced fall restraints on some of their equipment. Berry demanded that U.S. Rental employees use them instead of waiting for government regulations.

Berry helped change the rental industry for the better from the inside out through diversity, equal opportunity and the balancing of the human element on both sides of the equations: customers and company. He used his passion to affect industry-wide change.

Berry passed away at age 48 in September 2000 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Gunnar Glifberg

Glifberg was recruited to join Cramo in 1994 as CEO. At the time, the company consisted of six different companies without a common business model or culture, and had been taken as collateral by a state-owned bank in Sweden. Glifberg’s first priority was to position Cramo as a leader in developing the rental business into an independent, professional industry and be an attractive partner to major construction companies.  The second priority was to “sell” the vision to the organization and get everyone on board. The launch of a new brand in 1995 was a start for the new organization.

Glifberg formed a new management team that included people from other industries and academic backgrounds. The introduction of the Cramo School for all employees was an important tool for the company’s success.

During Glifberg’s CEO term, the company grew rapidly and reduced its dependence on the construction sector for revenues by introducing its services into the public sector and manufacturing industries.

Under Glifberg’s leadership, Cramo expanded operations into eight European countries. Today Cramo is one of Europe’s largest equipment rental companies with close to 400 rental depots in 15 countries, each employing three to eight employees. The concept and thinking behind the Cramo model has been followed and often explicitly referred to by other major general equipment rental companies in Europe.

Glifberg was awarded the European Rental Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award this year.