Don is a lifetime resident of the Santa Clarita Valley. He moved here with his family at the age of 4 in 1957. He attended Newhall and Peachland Elementary schools and graduated from Alemany High School in 1971.
His introduction to College of the Canyons was through the football program where he attended spring and summer football in that year. He left the football program that fall but continued classes for the next three years. Initially he wanted to be an architect, taking classes in engineering graphics and art. Before long he changed course and enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician course, thinking of a career as a fire department paramedic.
Don left COC to work full time and later part time as an EMT over the next eight years. The fire department proved to be difficult goal. In 1975 Don took a job in the aircraft industry and during that time he re-enrolled in automotive classes at COC. Those skills came in handy when Don embarked on yet another life path.
AV Equipment Rentals, Inc. was founded in 1978 when Don Cruikshank and Mike Redmond purchased the equipment portion of All Valley Rental Center (originally an A to Z franchise) which had been in business since 1968. AV Equipment Rentals was primarily as a homeowner rental store but the new owners moved the focus toward contractor equipment rentals. In 1990 they bought out their local competition (All Craft Tool & Equipment) and moved to their present location.
The company grew and through the years looked to COC for qualified employees. Many of the yard and mechanic staffs were students at the college. By the mid 1990’s it became apparent to Don that he personally needed help with computer technology as well as accounting. Enter once again COC. Don sought out the advice of the schools counselor. By chance that was Al Adelini who was Don’s counselor in 1971. He pointed out that Don was only a few units short of his AA and convinced him to finish. In December 2000, a short thirty years after high school, Don received his AA.
Don has personally and through his company had a long history of involvement in the rental industry and his community. AV Equipment Rentals is a long time member of the California Rental Assn and the American Rental Assn. as well as being active in the Chamber of Commerce winning Santa Clarita Valley Business of the Year in 1992 and Medium Business of the Year in 2001 & 2002.