In the midst of his 12th year serving as executive director for the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association (TRVA), Clark McEwen has decided to step down, targeting the week of May 27 as his official exit date before heading into “the next phase of my life with my wife, Sue.”
“I really made the decision around a year and a half ago after going through a little health issue,” McEwen told RVBUSINESS.com. “It made me realize what was really important to me, which was of course my family and my wife. I’m in good health, and we’re looking forward to doing a little RVing and just enjoying a stress-free life.”
Fittingly, McEwen’s retirement coincides with the conclusion of the next Texas legislative session. While growing the association’s membership and bolstering its show and convention presence, McEwen was best known for his successes at the legislative level, spearheading laws that protect and strengthen the rights of RV dealers.
“I think that’s what people will remember me by,” said McEwen, who will turn 68 this weekend. “I was right in the middle of a lot of battles – many that lasted several years – on issues that could have been very damaging to our dealers if they had gone the other way.”
He added, “One of the most important things I did was establish strong relationships in Austin, ties that I believe really benefited the association over the years.”
McEwen said he started fostering those relationships while serving as vice president of the Texas Restaurant Association, adding that prior to joining TRVA he and his wife also oversaw a trade show production company in Mexico City.
“I really learned how to lobby for an association when I worked for the restaurant group,” McEwen said. “It opened a few doors for me when I started with TRVA.”
McEwen pointed to some key laws that were either removed or enacted during his tenure that helped create a “very business-friendly environment” for Texas RV dealers.
“One of the bigger issues had to do with what we referred to as ‘notorious travel trailer tax,’” he said. “It allowed taxing entities to look at travel trailers as personal property, meaning they could tack on an ad valorem tax. We battled for years, but were finally able to defeat it with a constitutional amendment passed in 2003.”
McEwen will continue to act in an advisory capacity following his retirement and will also be available to assist in the search for his replacement in the interim period.
“I’ll be around to deal with any issues that crop up,” he said. “My goal is to make it a very smooth transition.”