The Illinois Rental Dealers Association held its annual meeting October 25 in Springfield, IL. This year’s meeting participation was up by 30 percent from 2017, breaking the association’s all-time highest record for attendance and comprising an equitable representation of store managers, regional/district managers and owners/dealers. The highlight of the event was the Lifetime of Distinguished Service awards, which honored industry leaders for their positive impact on the organization. Award recipients were APRO Board Members Larry Carrico and Gopal Reddy, APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III, National Rent to Own’s Steve Braning and Rent One’s David Keen. “Illinois has been APRO State Association of the Year, recognized for its Continued Excellence and Legislative Achievement in recent years,” noted Aaron’s franchisee and outgoing IRDA President Casey Pristou. “In my final acts as IRDA president, I want to recognize you all, without whom the association would not have succeeded as well as it has.” The meeting also featured the appointment of the new IRDA president, Rent One’s Kelly Martin. “IRDA has a longstanding history of being one of the strongest state associations in rent-to-own,” Martin told members. “I’m beyond honored that IRDA’s current board leadership and membership feel I’m the best fit to serve as the next president. This is not a responsibility I take lightly, and I’m looking forward to seeing how IRDA can continue to raise the bar for state associations.” The event theme was Navigating the Current Ambiguity and Uncertainty of RTO, and the agenda included a panel of industry veterans – including Braning, Carrico and Watershed Development Corporation’s Mike Ceruzzi – tackling current events and critical questions through group discussion, as well as a remarkable roster of great speakers, including Martin, Winn and IRDA government relations consultant Michael Houlihan. IRDA’s newly elected/re-elected board of directors are: Kelly Martin, president; Mike Ceruzzi, vice president; Larry Carrico, treasurer; and board members Steve Braning, Matt Grynwald, David Keen, Brad Kosem, Kevin Milliron, Dave Scroggins and Glen Wallace. Click here for more photos of the 2018 IRDA annual meeting.