You may be wondering why there’s a saguaro cactus showing up in the Peach State. We are Sunstate Equipment, a construction equipment rental company founded in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the iconic tree-like cactus of the southwest. And, we are excited to bring our top-of-the-line rental equipment and tools, outstanding service and friendly, knowledgeable people to the robust, thriving communities of Atlanta.
We know that as a rapidly expanding metropolitan area, Atlanta is experiencing vibrant and exciting growth. But we also know that as a community that values its rich history, culture and southern charm, responsible growth is paramount and integrity is not negotiable.
As a company with a 40-year commitment to putting people and relationships first, we look forward to personally introducing ourselves to you over the coming weeks. From coast to coast, Sunstate is filled with people who love what we do. It’s evident in the pep in our step and the care we take to make each customer a priority. We are confident that as you get to know us, you’ll see why we are more than a rental equipment company—we are the rental people you can depend on.
We are pleased to meet you, Atlanta. Let’s grow together!
Put simply, Sunstate cares. We empower our team with the resources, equipment, training, and support necessary to deliver superior service in every way.
For the past 40 years, Sunstate has cultivated a company and a culture that strives to ensure no detail is overlooked with standards for excellence seen at every step from our well-maintained and meticulously serviced equipment to fast scheduling, on-time deliveries and pickups, 24-hour emergency repairs, no-gouge policies, and a fully trained, friendly team of over 1,600 professionals.
After becoming successfully established throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah, Sunstate began expanding into the southeast region with the 2010 opening of our Memphis, Tenn., branch. A second location was opened in Nashville in 2013, and we have been providing top quality construction rentals to the Tennessee market ever since.
Georgia marks the tenth state in our national service area, and we anticipate continued expansion throughout the southeast and northwest with additional Atlanta Metro area branches, as well as new locations in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon and Washington coming soon.
Our growth is carefully driven by customer demand, facilitated by the stability of proven leadership, and financially backed by Sumitomo Corp., one of the world’s oldest and largest investment groups.
Tip: You can pause by hovering your mouse over the text or image.
In 1977, the rental industry, along with the Arizona economy, was in a serious downturn. Many “experts,” including those at Apache Rentals (the company where our founder, Mike Watts, was employed), thought the industry would never be viable again. An innovative thinker who was accustomed to “going against the grain,” Mike purchased Beldon Rentals, a single store in Phoenix, Arizona. Even though Mike was unable to borrow the money on his own, his vision for success convinced Beldon’s owners that he would be a strong partner, and the company that would eventually become Sunstate Equipment was born.
In 1978, Beldon Rentals officially changed its name to Sunstate Equipment. Seeing the need for a strong team to fuel the growth he planned, Mike Watts immediately began to assemble a group he and his growing customer base could rely on. Some of these pioneering employees are still with the company today. In fact, 20% of Sunstate employees have over 20 years of service with the company.
To better meet the needs of large equipment customers, Sunstate acquired Fuhr Rents in January 1981. This helped by expanding their equipment fleet to include larger machinery, such as wheel loaders, scrapers, bulldozers, motor graders, and excavators. Seeking more space for fleet and equipment, Sunstate moved to a larger facility, giving them the needed space to grow and service their customers.
In 1986, finding itself in need of more space and with the explosive growth of the Phoenix area, Sunstate once again packed up and relocated to their current Phoenix location. Eventually, they added two more facilities, strategically located in neighboring Mesa and Peoria.
At this time, Sunstate also acquired Dial Rentals. This added both the fleet needed for continued expansion and experienced employees – many of whom finished their careers with or are still employed at Sunstate.
Mike Watts' original dream and vision were confirmed when in April 1988, Sunstate purchased Apache Rentals, the company he left originally. With its rapid expansion, Sunstate felt it was critical that all employees were initiated into the Sunstate Philosophy. A training program was created that included everyone. The results were immediately apparent in customers’ positive responses to the consistency and excellence of their Sunstate experiences.
Located in Casa Grande, AZ, Ford Rentals was a homeowner-focused business similar to what Mike knew in the early Beldon days. After acquiring Ford in 1995, once again, Sunstate changed the business model by adding contractor equipment to capitalize on both the existing homeowner business and booming growth and construction in this market.
During this time, Sunstate also opened 5 locations; 3 more in Arizona and expanded into Utah and Colorado.
John Deere wanted to learn more about the rental business and spent years looking for a partner. After reviewing many companies for their expertise in customer service, knowledge and growth potential, they approached Sunstate. In 1996, a successful partnership was created that gave Sunstate the capital they needed to continue growing.
With an innovative approach to seeking out employee feedback and rewarding positive suggestions, Sunstate is awarded the "Best Practice Award" by the Center for Suggestion Development.
Promoting a healthy balance between work and play, Sunstate also got involved in the community, including sponsoring a race car!
What better way to celebrate an anniversary than an award? In 2002, Sunstate is recognized by RER Magazine as the largest privately-held rental equipment company in the United States. Still today, Sunstate remains guided by the same set of Core Values rooted in its dedication to focus on employees by hiring well, training, practicing accountability, and providing opportunities. Mike Watts' original philosophy, "Focus on taking care of our people, and they will take care of the customer," still stands strong.
For several years, Sunstate's Team Headquarters had been spread between three buildings, making it a challenge to operate smoothly. In 2007, a new purpose-built office was developed to house Sunstate's Service Center in Phoenix, AZ. This brought all the headquarters' staff under one roof for the first time. Sunstate also expanded into New Mexico and Texas.
International trading company, Sumitomo Corporation, purchased a minority interest in Sunstate and a positive partnership was formed in 2009, to continue the solid growth of Sunstate. As Mike Watts explains, "Sumitomo approached us about investing in the equipment rental business in the United States and after studying the industry and determining that our cultures were very similar, they concluded that they wanted that investment to be in Sunstate."
Sunstate expands further east and opens in its ninth state in 2010; Tennessee. Again, the Sunstate management team identified a market that promised vibrant business growth – in spite of the overall US recession.
Keeping a focus on technology, dispatch innovations, fleet tracking and operating system improvements further enhanced delivery and pickup service for all Sunstate's customers.
Building on the partnership formed in 2009, Sumitomo Corporation increased their investment in Sunstate Equipment, becoming the majority owner. The increased investment by Sumitomo enhanced Sunstate's financial strength, paving the way for more growth and additional branch openings, which included new market expansion into Nashville, TN and Odessa, TX.
Safety has always been a priority at Sunstate, and to further highlight this critical component of company culture, Sunstate announced a new Core Value – "Safety: We place the utmost value on your well-being. No job is so important that we should not take the time to perform the work safely."
2013 saw the introduction of the Sunstate difference to Nashville, TN and Odessa, TX, with new branch openings in these markets.
The Phoenix location became a certified training center for the American Work Platform Training (AWPT) operator-training program, continuing its commitment to safety. The program is based on the training program put forward by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). In 2014, Sunstate trained over 8,900 equipment operators in both aerial and forklift equipment safety programs meeting a critical need in the industry and keeping more people safe.
Once again, Sunstate continued to be the #1 rental company. Ranking Arizona is the outcome of the largest business opinion poll in Arizona, and the winners are selected purely on voter’s opinions.
Sunstate was awarded the Founders Award, which is given by the founders of the Industry Leaders of Arizona to the company they feel best defines the spirit of the awards – impact on its industry, community and employees, longevity, and loyalty in Arizona.
Chris Watts assumes the role of CEO, in addition to President, of Sunstate Equipment. Chris began his full time career with Sunstate in 1996, working in a variety of positions before moving in to an executive position in 2009. After 23 years with Sunstate Equipment, long time CEO Benno Jurgemeyer retired at the end of 2014.
Sunstate celebrates its 40th Anniversary with a continued commitment to providing the most dependable service and people in the rental equipment industry. By remaining innovative and dedicated to our vision, we’ve reached this milestone with a solid foundation from our past and a bright forward-looking future.
Sunstate undergoes another milestone transition as Founder and Executive Chairman Mike Watts retires and transfers 100% ownership to Sumitomo Corp., while his son, Chris Watts, continues as Sunstate’s CEO and President, providing leadership with a promise to keep Sunstate’s culture, core values and people thriving.
By year’s end, Sunstate opens in its tenth state (another milestone!) as we continue our eastward expansion into a new market – Atlanta, Georgia.
Sunstate Equipment offers a full fleet of state-of-the-art construction equipment and tools by the best names in the industry. With a vast selection of purpose-built OSHA and ANSI equipment that is impeccably inspected and serviced, we deliver powerful tools and equipment to your jobsite that increase productivity and minimize headaches.