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Kay Toolson Recaps Career at Monaco Confab

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June 22, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

Kay Toolson

Kay Toolson

Kay Toolson, who will officially step down July 1 as president of Monaco RV LLC, delivered a parting speech to the company’s dealer body during the June 20-22 Dealer Congress 2011 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

Toolson first assured attendees, representing 68 of the Coburg, Ore.-based company’s dealers, that he was leaving operations in capable hands. Bill Osborne, a 30-plus year veteran of the auto industry, will take over for Toolson in July, assuming the role of vice president of custom products for Navistar Inc.’s Monaco and Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC subsidiaries.

“Bill will be an asset in working with the rest of the management team to ensure Monaco RV continues to flourish and grow well into the future,” Toolson said. “We will redouble our efforts to ensure that Monaco RV is the best partner to all of you – both with motorized and towable products, as well as service and parts.”

Although, he will be transitioning into retirement – “there are lots of golf courses I haven’t played and so many fish left to catch” –  Toolson indicated that he would still be involved with Monaco in a part-time capacity.

“I’m not going to say goodbye,” he said. “I’m still going to be around, doing a few things where I can be of help to the Monaco and Navistar teams. I will look forward to running into you down the road.”

Looking back, the Smithville, Utah, native recapped the highlights of a career in the RV industry that began in 1972 and culminated with a 25-year run as the head of Monaco Coach Corp. The company fell victim to the economy in March 2009 and was purchased out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy later that year by Navistar.

“When I started out, I was in Dallas and I heard about this company, Redman Industries, that was looking to get into the RV industry,” he said. “They offered me a job as product manager. My wife and I moved to Southern California and I started Redman in the motorhome business.”

Toolson spent a couple of years at Redman, “enduring the 1973 gas crisis,” before joining Michigan General, which owned King’s Highway Mobile Industries in Los Angeles.

“I spent eight years there, mainly because I liked working with high-line products,” Toolson said. “Then came a chance to buy into (Anaheim, Calif.-based) Executive Industries as a minority owner. I was there for four years, when I got the opportunity to go to Oregon with some backers and buy Monaco. That was in 1986.

“Monaco had 67 employees, it did $13 million in business and it was losing money. Over the next decade or so, we built the company to $1.4 billion in annual revenue, and of course, saw a lot of success.”

Toolson emphasized that over the years, the company’s dealers played a large role in attaining that success.

“We grew and flourished together, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed building relationships with so many of you in this room,” he said. “Over the years we’ve become friends, and I thank you for that friendship and support.”

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