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RV/MH Hall Announces Slate of 2013 Inductees

The RV/MH Heritage Foundation board has announced the names of those who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame as the Class of 2013. According to a press release, the induction ceremonies will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., during the annual induction dinner on Aug. 5.

Darryl Searer, president of the foundation, said, “It is my great pleasure to welcome these new inductees who will join the honored rolls of industry leaders, pioneers and innovators who have made significant contributions the RV and manufactured housing industries. I join their friends, family and colleagues in congratulating the following honorees.”

RV industry inductees include:

• Kirwan Elmers, an RV bus converter from Custom Coach in Columbus, Ohio. Beginning with his father in 1955, he has been for over 50 years a major innovator in the creation of luxury RVs from bus shells. Among the innovations he helped to engineer are the first automatic transmission in an intercity bus shell (1956), first backup camera in a motor coach (1965), first cruise control in a motorcoach (1967) and the first quick change lounge area that automatically converted to a bedroom (1986). He served 10 years as president of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Commercial Council.

• C.M. Fore (deceased) an RV manufacturer from Foretravel, Inc. in Nacogdoches, Texas. Since founding his company in 1967, he has been a leader in the evolution of luxury Class A motorhomes. He was among the first to use diesel engines in motorhomes, and among the first to build pusher chassis. He built the first uni-body motorhomes and pioneered the use of many household features such as multiple air conditioners, central vacuum systems, ice maker refrigerators and more. He led the concept of factory-owned stores by creating factory outlets in major markets around the country.

• Lawrence C. Lippert an RV and MH industry supplier from Lippert Components Inc. in Goshen, Ind. Beginning his company in 1955 with two employees, he built it into the largest component supplier in the industry. The company provides every thing from frames and chassis to roof materials for both homes and RVs. Products have included axles, countertops, mattresses, draperies and furniture. Now a third generation family led company, he is recognized for building a generous corporate citizen employing over 4500 workers in 12 states.

• Mathew Perlot (deceased) an RV manufacturer from Safari Motorhomes in Harrisburg, Ore. For over 25 years Perlot has been recognized as an innovator and leader in the motorhome industry. He pioneered the concept of the affordably priced diesel pusher, and the automatic awning. He was honored as RV Executive of the Year in 1994. He took Safari and Beaver public in 1996 and eventually sold to Monaco.

Thomas Walworth an RV and manufactured housing industry consultant and statistician from Statistical Surveys Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich. Under his leadership, his company has become the recognized official scorecard for sales in both the RV and manufactured housing industries in the U.S. and Canada. He has served for over 20 years on the RVIA Market Information Committee. His data has become relied upon for marketing planning by every major company in either industry.

Manufactured housing inductees include:

• Claude N. Palmer (deceased) a housing retailer from Palmer Homes in Waverly, N.Y. Since 1971 Palmer has provided a source of affordable housing to families in south central New York. He has received top retailer recognition from seven manufacturers. He developed Holly Park Terrace with 99 oversize lots in 1970 and created Custom Modular Homes Company to build upscale state code modular homes. He was the first in his region to offer home/land financing packages.

• Thomas P. Meyers a housing manufacturer from Guerdon Industries in Louisville Ky. For over 50 years he led several housing manufacturers to dynamic and varied growth. Guerdon Industries was the first to enter overseas markets in a significant way with plants and sales in South America, Asia and the Middle East. At its peak, Guerdon was operating 57 plants with 7,000 employees. At Commodore Homes he led 27 factories producing 20,000 floors per year. He founded Meyers and Associates and provided consulting services to manufacturers world wide.

• Theresa M. Desfosses, a housing industry veteran of retail, communities, and manufacturing from State Manufactured Homes in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Since 1968 she has led her company in retail sales of both HUD code and modular homes and the development and management of communities providing over 600 home sites in Maine and New Hampshire. As president of Burlington Homes, a HUD code manufacturer, she is the only woman to be the active leader simultaneously in all three divisions (retail, community and manufacturing). She is a founding member of the Maine MHA and a board member of the Manufactured Association for Regulatory Reform.

Craig M. Bollman, a housing community developer/operator from Mobile Home Communities in Littleton, Colo. Beginning in the 1960s, he built his community into the first publicly traded land-lease community in the nation. For many years, he was the largest owner of manufactured home communities in the USA. He has served as the housing industry’s representative to the Small Business Administration.

The foundation’s board of directors recently approved a major change in the foundation’s bylaws that simplifies the procedure and criteria for nominations to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

Searer said, “For those who would like to nominate future candidates for the Hall of Fame, we invite you to visit our web site to view the nomination guidelines and to download the necessary nomination forms.”

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#1 Comment By William F Henness On June 2, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

I am glad to see that C.M.Fore is being inducted into the “Hall of fame”, my only regret is that he is not here to see it. I worked as service manager for Foretravel in their service departments in Irvine,CA and Las Vegas,NV and had the pleasure of conversing with C.M. on many ocaions, he was a wonderful man and boss and will be missed by many in the industry.