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Jayco Surprises Execs with Milestone Trophy

May 25, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Wilbur and Derald Bontrager The bulk of Jayco Inc.’s senior management team surprised the Middlebury, Ind.-based RV manufacturer’s chief executives Wednesday morning (May 25) in the company’s executive conference room with a momento – a trophy – marking what in this industry is a remarkable feat by anyone’s estimation: the production of the RV builder’s one millionth unit. While Chairman Wilbur Bontrager and his brother, President & CEO Derald Bontrager, obviously couldn’t pinpoint... Read more

Ex-Auto Workers Could Land RV Jobs in Elkhart

May 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a good news-bad news story for the northern Indiana cities of Elkhart and Goshen and for the 500 workers being laid off by Diversified Machine, a manufacturer of automotive parts located in Bristol. A division of Chassix, a large Michigan-based parts supplier, Diversified announced in a WARN notice Friday that it was downsizing its Elkhart County facility as a result of the cancellation of a major contract. And while the first of those layoffs involving 272 hourly and salaried workers was... Read more

Saturday’s ‘Bids for Kids’ Auction Raises Bar

May 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Bids for Kids auction drew 730 to the Hall of Fame (Photo by Tyler Klassen) Saturday (May 7) night’s 8th Annual Bids for Kids Dinner & Auction, a crowd-pleasing fund-raiser organized by Elkhart, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, raised the bar in most every respect from previous auctions and again served up a high profile social event for about 730 attendees, a majority of them from the RV industry. (To view a slideshow scroll to... Read more

RVIA Attracting 300-Plus for NHTSA Seminar

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Over 300 industry representative are in attendance today at the RV/MH Hall of Fame event covering NHTSA requirements The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) first full-blown effort to bring the RV industry’s manufacturers and suppliers up to speed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) latest safety-related requirements was well underway this morning (May 4) as a large crowd of RVIA members and non-members were in attendance for the all-day seminar... Read more

Cruz-Fiorina Campaign Rolls Into ‘RV Capital’

April 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ted Cruz with Frank Lucchese (L) during Thursday’s campaign stop at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant on the east side of Elkhart, Ind. (Photo by Roger Schneider) If Indiana is in fact “Ground Zero” for the national Republican presidential race, the very epicenter of the Hoosier State’s electoral race on the brink of next week’s primary election – at least for a couple of hours on Thursday (April 28) — was Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant on County Road 17 on the east side... Read more

The BUZZ: Go RVing is Anticipating Millennials

April 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Karen Redfern Time and again, the industry talks about the Millennials – people from their late teens to their early 30s with their authentically different views of our culture, products and society. They, like countless generations before them, audaciously challenge conventional wisdom on many levels as the industry works to develop products and parks to suit their intrinsic tastes. Authentically different? Among their quirks, the mass media tell us, is a need for quick answers. They’ll take... Read more

Priority Network has ‘Best Meeting in 18 Years’

April 13, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Judging by the attitudes and comments of the independent RV dealers who gathered Mar. 28-30 at the M Resort Spa & Casino Hotel in suburban Las Vegas for the 18th Annual Priority RV Network Meeting, the U.S. RV industry – barring the unforeseen – is in a position to post its seventh consecutive year of growth in 2016. That goes for Priority’s individual members, including a number of the country’s best known independent retailers, as well as for the Priority RV Network itself – a “dealer-run,... Read more

Q&A: Keller Is Expanding Its East Coast Reach

March 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The shifting tectonic plates in the RV parts and accessories aftermarket have actually accelerated the growth of some of North America’s so-called “regional” distributors – small-to-midsize operations like Port Trevorton, Pa.-based Keller Marine & RV. The 100-employee distributorship, a long-term player in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States launched in 1958 as a boat parts distributor by George and Margaret Keller, is run today by the Kellers’ son, President Mike Keller, and daughter,... Read more

Distributor Meyer Has RV Market in Crosshairs

March 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Meyer Distributing corporate offices in Jasper, Ind. In the rapidly changing landscape of the North American RV parts and accessories arena, one of the newest entrants — and perhaps one of the real wild cards for existing players in this highly competitive field — is Meyer Distributing, a Jasper, Ind.-based automotive parts specialist that directly stepped in last July with the acquisition of regional 5 Seasons RV Distribution out of Portland, Ore. While that gave Meyer a leg up in the... Read more

The BUZZ: Meet Winnebago’s CEO Mike Happe

February 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Mike Happe When RVB caught up with new Winnebago Industries Inc. President and CEO Michael J. Happe late Friday afternoon (Feb. 12), he was driving north from Winnebago’s Forest City, Iowa, headquarters to the suburban St. Paul, Minn., site of his 17-year-old son Brady’s high school basketball game. It was a fitting moment for Happe, a former Toro executive who succeeded Winnebago CEO Randy Potts on Jan. 18 and is working to balance family demands with those of the 2,900-employee, publicly-held... Read more

Elkhart ‘Open House’ is Set for Week of Sept. 19

February 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2016 Elkhart RV Open House, one of the RV industry’s two key national wholesale RV-buying trade venues, is slated for the week of Sept. 19 in and around the northern Indiana city of Elkhart. The show immediately follows one of the year’s top retail-centric events – the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association’s popular Hershey Show, Sept. 12-18 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. The release of the dates for the Open House, originally launched in 2009 as a proprietary Forest River Inc.... Read more

WESCO Exec Wollschlager Named Dicor’s COO

February 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Anthony Wollschlager Anthony Wollschlager is joining Dicor Corp. as Chief Operating Officer, effective Monday (Feb. 8), reports Dicor President Gregg Fore. Wollschlager, a native Australian and a graduate of the University of Evansville, joins Dicor after having served in a management position for publicly held WESCO International Inc., a northern Indiana-based firm at which he last was director and general manager for the manufactured structures unit of the distributor of electrical, plumbing... Read more

Gov. Pence To Keynote May 12 Power Breakfast

January 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann addresses capacity crowd at last year’s Power Breakfast (Photo by Shawn Spence) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will keynote the first half of this year’s 4th Annual RV Industry Power Breakfast, a fast-paced, information-rich event catering to early-rising recreational vehicle industry constituents along with civic and business leaders. The Power Breakfast is slated for May 12 from 7-9:45 a.m. at the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Northern Indiana Event Center in the RV-building... Read more

OPINION: Remember, It’s About The Adventure!

January 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Full-timers Ryan McCready and Kim Thomas check out the selection of RVs in Tampa with their Goldendoodle companion Jet RV industry people understandably spend the bulk of their time absorbed in conversations about the merits of things like hitch weights and interior decors, awnings and tag-axles. But many of us probably lose track at times on a personal level of the real-life consumers in whose hands all of these recreational vehicles eventually wind up. With that in mind, we visited with a few RV... Read more

Tampa RV Show Generates Cautious Optimism

January 19, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Supplier booths were jammed at Tampa Show The general mood of RV industry exhibitors at the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Florida RV SuperShow was decidedly upbeat regarding prospects for 2016, although tempered in some cases with realistic concerns about any number of factors – from interest rates to national elections to an unpredictable stock market. Tim Hyland, president of the RV Group for GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finanance unit, said most of the measurable indicators... Read more

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