APRO hosted a State Association Presidents Meetup via Zoom in mid-April, bringing rent-to-own leadership from across the country together to learn and talk about legislative and regulatory activity nationwide, the responsibilities of association administration, and other state-level subjects of interest.
State Association Presidents in attendance included Dennis Adams of the Rental-Purchase Dealers Association of Indiana, Chris Bolin of the Tennessee Rental Dealers Association, Paul Davis of the California Association of Progressive Rental Organizations, Candice Hill of the Arkansas Rental Dealers Association, Bill Howard of the Kentucky Rental Dealers Association, John Manzari of the Northeast Rental Dealers Association, Kelly Martin of the Illinois Rental Dealers Association, Paul Metivier of the Florida Rental Dealers Association, and Jonathan Rose of the Virginia Rental Dealers Association.
APRO Director of Education and Membership Jen Troke led the meeting, which began with an introduction from APRO Chief Executive Officer Jill McClure. McClure noted that APRO just welcomed its 21st state association into membership: the Texas Association of Rental Agencies, under the leadership of President Chris Higgs, recently joined APRO. She also thanked the Illinois Rental Dealers Association and President Kelly Martin for agreeing to serve as the pilot organization for an APRO State Chapter program.
“We’re hoping to further streamline state association management and further lighten the load for volunteer leaders,” McClure explained. “The chapter model will use APRO branding, so an organization will be an APRO Chapter. And this model will focus specifically on advocacy and education. We’ll be working through it over the next year, figuring out how we make this program effective for the state volunteer leaders.”
McClure also reviewed the three levels of APRO membership services available to state associations, confirmed that APRO plans to revive its annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, in 2023, and thanked the state associations participating in the 2022 APRO Scholarship Fund – Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The meeting continued with a presentation about Tax Requirements for State Associations, led by Chris Terrigino, Shareholder, and Kim Cardenas, Tax Team Manager, both of APRO member Rivero, Gordimer & Company P.A. Later, Julio Jimenez, Risk Management Consultant, and Macenzi Holmes-Norton, Vice President of RTO Risk Management, both of APRO member USI Insurance Services LLC, presented on State Association Risks and Responsibilities, particularly applied to liability coverage for organization directors and officers.
Matt Grynwald, Chair of the Government Relations committee for APRO and Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Rent-A-Center, provided a Government Relations update, noting that ten APRO Alerts concerning legislative or regulatory activity in 13 different states have already been issued this year. Grynwald also offered tips for interacting with state lawmakers once face-to-face meetings return in full force.
“Be very aware of who you’re talking to, and what will appeal to the ideology of the person,” counseled Grynwald. “Know who your representatives are, and if you have a good relationship with your individual rep, then talk to them and see what other members they think you should talk to or you should stay away from. And have your statistics ready – your number of employees, your payroll or property taxes; elected members want to know who’s voting for them, and how much economic contribution you make to the state.”
Troke introduced two new tools APRO is working on to support members’ advocacy work: a “Find Your Congressional Members” tool coming soon to the APRO website; and updated state economic impact numbers by district.
A roundtable discussion wrapped up the meetup, with state presidents weighing in on APRO’s State Association Handbook, regular communications with their members, their 2022 state meetings, their elections and succession plans, and the upcoming APRO State Association Activity Survey.
“We deeply appreciate our state association presidents and the work you do,” McClure concluded. “We understand you’re volunteer leaders, so we thank you so much for your dedication, for showing up, listening, and engaging today. APRO wants to make it as easy as possible for you all to keep our state associations a strong and active support for our industry moving forward.”