Upon seeing the news this morning (Sept. 17) of the $200 million acquisition of Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC by Thor Industries Inc., industry insiders have been speculating as to whether Heartland President and CEO Brian Brady will stick around for the long haul.
You know, they speculate, why should he?
A veteran of Coachmen Industries Inc., Holiday Rambler Corp., Damon Corp. and Heartland, Brady’s been through the business wars – and economic cycles – for years. He’s cashed out well from his latest venture, a company that’s been generating sales of about $400 million a year.
Besides, he’s now being called upon to operate Heartland as a unit of a company with which he and Heartland’s 1,000 employees had intensely competed in the towable RV arena.
But Brian Brady isn’t going anywhere. Nor, for the record, does he mind doing business with a company that until recently was viewed as a formidable rival.
“We have always viewed Keystone as the class of the industry – you know, Thor in general terms and Keystone being the crown jewel in their portfolio,” Brady told RVBUSINESS.com. “We at Heartland have had an immense respect for the Keystone team, and in many respects we admired their significant accomplishments.
“You know, with that said, I think we were able to demonstrate that we could compete effectively with them, and we did. And I would imagine, with the way Thor manages, that we’re going to continue to compete with Keystone. But, you know, for me personally and the other initial investors in Heartland, we’re essentially owners of Thor now. So whether Heartland wins or Dutchmen wins or Keystone wins, we all win.”
As for his own personal career moves, again, Brady says he’s staying put rather than fleeing the day-to-day stress of the business world. “Yes, I am staying for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I have no plans at this point to disengage from Heartland and Thor. And I’ve made that commitment to Ron Fenech and Peter Orthwein.
“To be honest with you,” he added, “I feel really reinvigorated. I’m looking forward to getting this week behind us and going back to work on Monday.”
Fact is, Brady still enjoys the game.
“I do, and I enjoy the game because of the people with whom I work. We’ve really got such terrific people at Heartland. You know, Heartland is no different than any other successful enterprise in any industry. At the end of the day, it comes down to the team – the men and women around whom you build your business.”