The Illinois Rental Dealer’s Association hosted industry dignitaries from across the country at its 2016 annual meeting held on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, in Springfield, Illinois. The meeting was action-packed from start to finish and featured an impressive roster of speakers. APRO’s President, Mark Connelly, Legal Counsel, Ed Winn, and Executive Director, Bill Keese, addressed the membership. Mike Tissot, President of Countryside Rentals, reprised his blockbuster presentation from this year’s APRO Fuse Conference, “Vote RTO 2016 – Get Your Customers’ and your Team’s Vote.” Mike broke new ground in his presentation by sharing with the group the results of his proprietary customer research. The meeting had a very special moment when Bill Keese was recognized and honored by the IRDA for his long and successful career as Executive Director of APRO. Ed Winn described in detail the first time he met Bill and how he was hired as Executive Director 28 years ago. IRDA President, Casey Pristou, presented Bill with a unique custom made Championship Belt, commissioned by the IRDA, commemorating Bill’s staunch support of Illinois’ Rental Dealers and his outstanding service to the RTO industry. The IRDA continued its tradition of charitable giving by donating $11,500 to Louisiana Flood Victims. The funds were raised through the IRDA’s Louisiana Flood Relief Initiative. The relief funds are being distributed by the Louisiana Rental Dealer’s Association. LRDA President, Louis Bacile, sent a video message that thanked those who donated, showed footage of the devastation and contained heartfelt personal messages from victims who have benefited from flood relief contributions. Finally, Cheryl Mitchell, Executive Director of The Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship addressed the meeting. The Midland Institute administers the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) program that is taking the country by storm. CEO partners with a community’s businesses and local school systems to mentor high school juniors and seniors to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Rent One announced that it has committed to invest $10,000 over 4 years to fund several CEO chapters. Additionally, Watershed Development Corporation announced that it has committed to invest $3,000 in the Sterling, Illinois CEO chapter. Click here to view photos from IRDA’s annual meeting. About IRDA The Illinois Rental Dealers Association (IRDA) works closely with the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) to provide membership and the general public with the latest information regarding legislative initiatives concerning the rent-to-own industry. The IRDA works to ensure a vital future for its industry through networking, education, political outreach and legislative vigilance.