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Dealers Honored by RVDA at Vegas Convention

Outgoing Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Chairman Andy Heck presented the Chairman’s Service Award to three dealers and one associate member on Oct. 3 during the RVDA’s annual meeting at the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo. In addition, Butch Thomas was presented with the prestigious James B. Summers Award.

According to a press release, the Chairman’s Service Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to RVDA and the industry and is presented at the chairman’s discretion each year.

Dealers receiving awards were Bob Been of Affinity RV Service and Sales, Prescott, Ariz.; Jeff Hirsch of Campers Inn of Kingston, Kingston, N.H.; and Tim O’Brien of Circle K RVs in Lapeer, Mich.

All three of the honored dealers have extensive records of leadership and service on RVDA boards and committees and Heck thanked them for their “incredible assistance” to him during a time when the organization was recruiting for and transitioning to a new president. “Since I was the chairman, I knew I could not work on the various issues that come with a change alone,” Heck said. “I looked to Bob, Jeff and Tim for support and guidance.”

Been has served as RVDA second vice chairman and as a board member in addition to leading the association’s Audit and Finance Committee. He is the chairman of the Keystone Brand Committee and is active in the Arizona RVDA.

Hirsch has served in every RVDA officer position and as New Hampshire state director. He was named to the board for the first time in the early 1990’s and was elected RVDA chairman during the Annual Meeting on Oct. 3, succeeding Heck.

Tim O’Brien was RVDA chairman from 2010-2011, served as past chairman for the last year and has held every officer position in addition to positions as an at-large delegate, Michigan state director, and chairman of the Industry Relations Committee.

Associate member Jim Musbach of The Coast Distribution System Inc. was honored for his strong support of RVDA programs over the years and his efforts to help make RVDA membership payment programs more flexible for some dealerships hit hard by the economic downturn. In addition, Musbach was noted for his arrangement of a special credit RVDA received that had the net effect of increasing RVDA’s revenue by $50,000 during the last fiscal year.

Thomas Earns James B. Summers Award

Thomas received the James B. Summers (JBS) award for 2012 at the RVDA Annual Meeting. He was honored for his long and close association with RVDA, including 30 years as a dealer member, service on the board and his current work promoting the value of the association to dealers.

After a successful career running an RV dealership, Thomas now serves the organization by making hundreds of phone calls to recruit association members. He played a key role in both the formation of the RV Rental Association and the Missouri RVDA.

“There are some people, when you see them or hear their name, you think R-V-D-A,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “For 30 years, Butch ran a successful RV dealership, until he sold the business in 2005. A master story-teller, there isn’t much Butch hasn’t seen happen in this business.”

Recounting Thomas’s recent contributions, Ingrassia said, “Butch understands the importance of being politically active and was part of the legislative effort to keep RV dealers out of the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

The JBS Award, created in 1986, is named in honor of RVDA’s second chief staff officer James B. Summers, who passed away in 2010. It is the highest award a member can receive for consistent and outstanding service to the association. The board of directors selects the winner each year by secret ballot from among nominations submitted by association members.



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