The recreational vehicle industry, which used to virtually define Inland Southern California’s manufacturing sector, is not gone and certainly not forgotten. And, probably nowhere is this more certain than in the heart, mind and hands of Pablo Carmona.
The Press Enterprise, Riverside, reported that Carmona is an RV lifer who never left the game. Two months ago he launched Talvor USA and began manufacturing towable trailers for export to Australia, working from a factory in Perris that used to be occupied by one of many companies in the region that did not survive the recession.
But Carmona’s story is longer than that. He came to the United States from Mexico as young man, with no American schooling and limited English skills and, when in his 20s, got a job on the production floor of Thor of California’s factory in Moreno Valley, one of the many operations that made the Inland area the nation’s biggest RV-making hub west of the Mississippi River.
Within a short period, he was a supervisor at Thor, but his journey to the helm of his own company began to get serious in 2009. Carmona teamed with a pair of other Thor alumni, Brad Williams and Roger Humeston, with what started as MVP EV, an effort to manufacture electric vehicles.
That fell through because of lack of funding but evolved into MVP RV. The company began to produce and sell trailers from a former Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. factory in Riverside but the company disappeared late in 2011. MVP’s chief investor, Chinese entrepreneur Winston Chung, lost the firm in a dispute with a co-investor, a firm called Fadar International.
The last vestiges of MVP RV were sold off in April 2012 to a Los Angeles-based real estate investor with no experience or intent involving the RV industry.
That left Carmona, who is now 44, with no job — but not without options. As MVP RV’s vice president for manufacturing, he had a reputation as a seasoned professional and received some job offers that would have meant leaving the area.
Talvor started in Perris, in a plant that used to be the home for RV manufacturer Weekend Warrior, in November. At the outset there were six employees. There are currently 32 people working there, and he plans to add five or six new workers a week.
The company is turning our two or three finished RVs a week and hopes to up that to up that to between 40 and 50 a month when the plant gets to full staff.
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