One of the most personable and well-liked American Rental Association presidents in history, H.A. “Hotch” Manning died last week following hip-replacement surgery in Tyler, Texas. Manning was 69.
Manning began in the rental industry when he acquired a Taylor Rental store in Las Cruces, N.M., in 1979 and developed a five-location chain called A-1 Rental Centers. Manning had come to know the area while serving in the Air Force in Texas.
Manning was very active in the local community, serving in a wide variety of community organizations, and became active in rental association politics immediately upon getting involved in the rental industry, culminating as ARA president in 1995. Manning sold A-1 to RentX in 1998. Already involved as a director of Citizens Bank of Las Cruces, Manning turned to banking as a full-time career, becoming executive vice president of the bank in 2000 and chairman in 2006.
It didn’t take Manning long to build A-1 into the leading rental company in southern New Mexico. “Communities need help,” Manning told RER in a 1994 interview. “And we all need to help each other. Life is just that way. And you build these kinds of relationships that, hopefully, last forever. These smaller communities are closely knit, and people tend to know everybody else. Over the long haul, community involvement is how you get recognized. When you work with people day in and day out, if they need something, they call you up. They don’t care how much it costs, they trust you. They just need the job done.”
Manning was particularly known for his personable style, with an uncanny ability to remember peoples’ names and faces. Manning retired in 2008 and he and his wife Carolyn moved to Alba, Texas, to be closer to their three sons and their families.
Manning is survived by his wife, their three sons David, Kevin and Charlie, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The Manning family has requested that any donations in Manning’s honor be made to the First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 406 E. Lane St., Quitman, Texas.