Sunstate Equipment Rental celebrates 40 years in business this year. The company, along with its partner Sumitomo Corp., also announced that Founder/Executive Chairman Mike Watts will retire in February. Watts, 68 will continue to serve as an advisor to the board. With this change, Sumitomo Corp. will assume full ownership of the company, and it will continue to be led by his son, Chris Watts, CEO.
Watts started in the rental industry in 1970 working for someone else before he and his wife started Sunstate in 1977 with four employees. They ultimately grew the business to 61 locations in 9 states becoming the 24th largest rental company in the world, currently ranked No. 7 on the RER 100 listing of the 100 largest rental companies in North America.The growth of the business and his contributions to the rental industry earned him the honor of being inducted into the ARA Rental Hall of Fame in 2010.
“After 47 years in the rental industry, starting Sunstate and building it over the past 40 years, I feel very comfortable and satisfied with our position in the industry, the caliber of business we have built, and the opportunities for the future. I am proud of our success and the strong positive culture we have developed, which is creating an environment that allowed people to feel they were valued, provided opportunities for growth, and held everyone accountable to the consistent standards we created. The belief remains the same, that when we do this, people enjoy coming to work each day and make small improvements so we can continue to build a great business. I am especially pleased that my son, Chris Watts, will have the opportunity with his ability to take Sunstate to an even higher level.” Mike Watts