HRIA National President
Mark Burton

Mark is the Director of Barossa Valley Hire, Barossa Function Hire and Barossa Sand and Metal located in South Australia which he purchased in February 1994.

Mark joined the SA committee in 1999 and then joined the Board of Directors when he became the SA Division President in 2011, a position he held until 2014. Mark became the National President in September 2017.

Mark has been in the hire industry for 23 years and with his wife Trish and their sons Blake and Travis, has grown his current business over those years. Their business has won numerous awards over the years including the SA Great Small Business Award in 2004, 2006 and 2010. In 2007 Barossa Valley Hire became the first SA company to win Rental Company of the Year and winning again in 2010.

As a Board Member, Mark hopes to be remembered for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the industry and Association. Mark loves the people he meets in the everyday running of his business. Although not a 9-5 job it can be extremely rewarding if you put in the hard yards and has given him the opportunity to leave a legacy to his family.

HRIA Past President
Jeff Bernard

Jeff is the Director and founder of Cool Breeze Rentals which is a National Company with branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Jeff was the VIC Events President in 2007 and then joined the Board of Directors when he became the VIC Division President from 2009-2013. Jeff has held the position of National President from 2015-2017.

Jeff has been in the hire industry since 1997 when he arrived in Australia from the West Coast of the USA and has held many roles in the industry including driver, storeman, sales executive, sales manager and managing director.

As a Board Member, Jeff views this as a great way to give back to the industry and “Our Association” that has been built and sustained by so many before us. Jeff understands there is a lot of pride and history throughout the Hire Industry in Australia, and he enjoys contributing to deliver new initiatives to better serve its members.

HRIA Vice President
Tony Symons

Tony is the General Manager of Product at Kennards Hire, where he started working in April 2000. Previously holding the position of WA Division President from 2005-2011, Tony was welcomed back onto the Board in December 2019.

Tony has worked in the industry since 1993 with broad experience including Hire Controller, Spare Parts Manager, Purchasing Manager, State Manager, Marketing Manager, Business Development Manager and State General Manager.

As a Board member, Tony would like to give back to the industry, be a voice in the broader community and promote the industry. Tony feels he can help the Association raise the profile and standards of the industry as well as grow membership and add value to membership.

Tony loves the variety of the industry. There is so much change occurring and no two days are the same.

HRIA Events Division
Erin Johnston

Erin has been the owner/director of South Coast Party Hire since 2009 and joined the Board as the Interim Events Division President in 2018.

In the past 9 years Erin’s role as business owner has encompassed everything from building the business, sales, operations, delivery and logistics. Being the owner has allowed Erin to have exposure to all aspects of running an event hire business.

As a Board member, Erin hopes to contribute actively to the HRIA by helping to create new and innovative ideas to attract and retain members in the Event Hire sector as well as draw attention to some of the unique issues facing the Event Hire sector as it tends to be quite unique in its requirements compared to that of the General Hire sector.

Erin loves the constant change in the industry which results in constant challenges. Every client is different and unique with specific needs and she loves contributing to an event in any small or large way to watch it all come together.

HRIA NSW President
Nathan Venables

Nathan is currently Area Manager with Kennards Hire and has been with them since 2005.

Joining the Board as NSW President in 2017, Nathan has been on the NSW Executive Committee since 2016.

With 13 years in the hire industry, Nathan has held many roles starting as a casual yard hand to now looking after 8 branches on the south coast, south west and southern highlands of Sydney. Nathan hopes to represent the NSW members and help grow and continually improve the industry. He will have a strong focus on member engagement and safety improvement.

First and foremost, Nathan loves the people in the industry as well as the diversity in what we do and the challenges of problem solving for customers.

HRIA SA President
Ben Quirk

Ben Quirk is General Manager of Blackwood Hire, a family business he worked in growing up. Ben has succeeded his father in this role and has had over 17 years’ experience in hire.

Joining the board in 2017, Ben would like to help grow the membership and engage with it in South Australia, while contributing to the board to keep improving the association and industry.

Ben has great passion for the hire industry, and is willing to discuss any topic with members and help where he can.

HRIA VIC President
Ken Maher

Ken Maher is the Managing Director of East Coast Generators and National Tank Hire. He joined East Coast Generators in 1991 and National Tank Hire in 2012. Ken served on the Board as the Victorian Division President from 2006-2008.

With over 35 years of experience in the industry, Ken will use his time on the Board to assist with setting direction in order to strengthen the Association, enabling positive outcomes for the members. Ken hopes to impart knowledge and experience as well as promoting the benefits of professionalism and raising standards in the industry.

Ken loves the tasks around adopting new technology and identifying opportunities to implement improvements in the hire industry. He enjoys and values the long-term friendships established within the industry and Association. Ken looks forward to meeting new challenges, delivering great outcomes for members, clients and staff.

HRIA WA President
Craig Palmer

Craig joined Classic Hire as the Business Development Manager in Perth after selling his own business in November 2019.

The newest member of the HRIA Board of Directors, Craig has been in the hire industry since 1984 when he worked for Cockburn Hire straight out of school. He has also worked for Wreckair, Coates Hire and The Cat Rental Store. He has held various roles in the industry including starting on the ground floor rolling air hoses and welding leads to branch manager, management in the industrial, mining and oil and gas sectors.

As a Board member, Craig would like to make a positive contribution to the HRIA Board, members and committees by sharing the knowledge, experience and education he has been so lucky to receive. Craig believes contributing to the HRIA sustainability for the future and for members is key.

When asked what he loves about the industry, Craig says the opportunity it has provided to meet lots of people and travel as well as the relationships built along the way.