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RVAA Conferees Now Voting on RVIA Proposal

August 16, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Voting is now underway at the Aug. 14-18 Recreation Vehicle Aftermarket Association’s (RVAA) annual Executive Conference at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego to determine whether the trade group will merge with the all-industry Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) as a full-fledged RV Aftermarket Committee reporting directly to RVIA’s board of directors.

RVAA’s board announced in a late June letter to its membership that the transition would occur with the board’s unanimous approval, pending the current referendum, the results of which are to be announced at 11 a.m. (PST) Thursday (Aug. 17) during RVAA’s awards luncheon.

Why is RVAA considering this bold move to essentially consolidate with RVIA?

Susan Carpenter

“My question to you is why not?” RVAA President Susan Carpenter, president of Clarence Center, N.Y.-based JR Products Carpenter, told RVBUSINESS.com during the first full day of the conference which includes three full days of networking and conferences for a virtual “Who’s Who” of the North American RV aftermarket. “Quite truthfully, through the year-long vetting process, we found a thousand reasons why. We could not consciously come up with one reason of why not. I think (RVIA President) Frank Hugelmeyer’s vision of this industry is something that’s long overdue, and I think that RVAA will benefit from that vision and the resources that will be available to us to carry forward that mission in the aftermarket.”

A simple majority of the voting members – about 200 suppliers and distributors, a third of whom are already RVIA members — will determine the outcome. And the results should come as no surprise to the conference attendees inasmuch as the ongoing tally is being posted online, said Carpenter.

Co-chairing that RVIA committee would be Craig Floyd, the OEM/RV general manager for Industrial Finishes & Systems in Eugene, Ore., and RVAA Vice President Steve Johnson of Northern Wholesale Supply Inc.

She said that RVAA’s board opted for a live vote at the conference versus an online referendum because it felt that might be the best way to get a group buy-in.

 “We’ve decided to actually launch the voting at the conference for a very important reason,” said Carpenter, whose aftermarket organization is currently administered by a management firm out of Chicago. “Traditionally, with online voting, you don’t get a lot of participation. I think the average is about 10% participation. For something this pivotal, we thought it was very important to have as much participation as possible on a subject like this. Having it live here at the conference gives everybody the chance and we have a better chance of the highest participation.

“Secondly, we as a board have the opportunity to portray why we feel it’s a good idea (to transition to RVIA),” said Carpenter. “No matter how many e-mails or phone calls you can make, there’s no comparison to being able to stand face-to-face with anybody, make your presentations and have your opinions aired and compare notes with other members.”

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