Atwood Mobile Products LLC has announced its first webinar series (S.W.A.T., Success with Atwood Training), to provide technical and product training to OEMs, distributors, dealerships, and service centers throughout North America. The training series will kick off on March 25 and cover product training on water heaters.
The technical portion of the webinars will address installation, troubleshooting and sequence of operations for each of the various product lines Atwood supplies to the market. The product training portion will focus on features and benefits for the consumer, while providing tips to upsell Atwood products for distributor sales and dealer parts and store personnel.
These sessions will also provide valuable insight to OEM sales and allow them to promote the highly differentiated Atwood products the manufacturers have chosen to include in their units.
Fay Flournoy, marketing manager for Atwood, noted, “We are excited to bring SWAT back for 2015 after a very successful launch of the program last year. Attendance was strong in 2014 and we are looking forward to continued growth this year. Last year we learned some things that are going to allow us to bring even more to the sessions, including video archiving.”
For additional information on S.W.A.T. class dates and times e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org your name, company, title, and any specific questions you may have. You will then receive the schedule, information on how to access the webinar, and any materials you will need to print or download prior to the class to achieve the greatest benefit from participating. Register for the March 25 training by following this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4762701007153350145.
Atwood Mobile Products LLC has announced a new “Made in America” deluxe power jack promotion to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day holiday.
According to a press release, the limited edition deluxe power jack head cover is wrapped in the flag of the U.S. “This is a great product for veterans and anyone who wants to show their patriotic spirit not only on July 4, but throughout the year,” said Trey Miller, director of sales – aftermarket. “We are really excited for this promotion to kick off. This limited edition American flag power jack head looks great and it will truly be eye-catching at the campground. We are also looking into additional themes to showcase on the jack heads in the months and years to come.”
Atwood power jacks are OEM proven, made with high quality components and produced at Atwood’s manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Ind. For more information visit www.askforatwood.com.
Participating distributors will have these jacks available in June and into July to allow dealers to stock up for the 4th of July holiday season. This is a limited edition and when the inventory is gone Atwood will not be producing any more until next year.
Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier Atwood Mobile Products LLC has partnered with Echo RV to supply refrigerators and air conditioners for the company’s travel trailer lines.
“These new products provide unique benefits for the Echo RV sales team and dealers to take to the market,” said Bill Martin, director of OEM sales for Atwood, in a press release. “We are excited that Echo RV has elected to equip their travel trailers with Atwood components and the distinct features they offer.”
Atwood helium refrigerators feature class-leading storage capacity of 7- and 8-cubic feet. Equipped with helium in place of hydrogen, Atwood said the refrigerators offer safe and efficient performance. The company’s air conditioners offer durability higher efficiency with 16K and 18K Btu equivalent ratings.
Newmar Corp. held its 2011 Vendor Appreciation Dinner Thursday night (Oct. 18) at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Ind., in an unusual family-style dinner at which the Nappanee, Ind.-based motorhome builder took the time to recognize vendors from throughout the country who excel at the fine points of servicing Newmar as an original equipment manufacturer.
It’s something that Newmar, a family-held company, has done for 18 years — with the exception of a couple of years during the recession – hosting a dinner for the top-rated suppliers and presenting awards to a number of them.
“We do a bi-annual evaluation of about 150 vendors,” explains Mike O’Connell, vice president of purchasing for Newmar. “Through that process, we end up with scores, everything from ‘excellent’ to ‘unacceptable,’ and the people that we invite to this Vendor Appreciation dinner received excellent scores.”
Of the 44 suppliers and 140 diners in attendance at this year’s dinner, the top award, the “Virgil Miller Award of Excellence,” went to Industrial Finishes, an Elkhart, Ind.-based exterior paint supplier. On hand to accept the award were President Glenn Duckworth, Eastern Region RV Manager Rich Dotson and Mike Pratt, who’s in charge of business development.
Also honored were Almega Tru-Flex Inc. (Wire Harnesses), Alro Steel Corp. (Structural Steel), Fantastic Vent division of Atwood Mobile Products (Ceiling Vents), Fabritech (Bed Spreads), Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (Chassis), Quality Hardwood Sales (Hardwood Stiles), S & H Metal Products (Galvanized Metal Boxes), Equipment Service/Stressco (Slideout Components), Postle Aluminum Co. (Aluminum Extrusions) and Winegard Co. (Satellite Dishes & Antennas).
Additional awards bestowed at the event included Salesman of the Year: Jim Cramer, Global Link; Inside Sales: Amanda Girten, Positron Corp. and Judy Hafel, Flexsteel Industries Inc.; Truck Driver of the Year: Ross Minanik, YRC, and the Innovation Award, which went to Equipment Service/Stressco.
In looking down the road in his dinner remarks, Newmar President Matt Miller said Newmar has put in place a succession plan that will keep the company in the family of his father, founder Mahlon Miller, for the next generation. And he said the company has been making headway as well in terms of product innovation, despite the limitations of the recent recession.
“We believe the future of our company is very bright,” said Miller. “We have taken the opportunity during the downturn to prepare ourselves for a lot of innovation, which we’ll be introducing in the next 12 to 18 months, and we’re not slowing down on that at all.”
“We have fewer dealers than we did before the downturn, but we have higher quality dealers, and we have initiatives underway to recruit more dealerships. We have fewer brands than we’ve had, but we’re more focused on the brands that we do have. And we feel good about where we’re at right now.”
If Newmar was coming out of “survival” mode at last year’s supplier dinner, added John Sammut, vice president of sales, the company this year “is getting back on the offensive in its approach to selling and marketing its products throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
In fact, Sammut said the last five weeks beginning with the week before the Elkhart’s 5th Annual RV Open House Week through mid-October were “the best five weeks of order writing at Newmar in four years.” For this and other strategic reasons, Sammut said, Newmar is accelerating production schedules to four units a day for the balance of 2012 and for some time into 2013.
Atwood Mobile Products LLC has determined that a safety issue may be present in the 8935-III AC and 8940-III AC Atwood furnaces powered by 110-volt/AC power (12-volt/DC models are not affected).
According to a press release, there have been gas control valves which are suspect and need to be replaced. The suspect furnaces are contained with a manufacturing date between May 18, 2009 and March 29, 2012.
Atwood said it is possible for the units affected that the gas valves can stick in the open position causing a potential fire hazard. Customers with one of these units must not operate the furnace until the replacement of the valve assembly has been completed by an Atwood Authorized Service Center.
To confirm whether or not a furnace is part of this campaign, review the serial number of the suspect furnace. The serial number will be listed on the blower housing of the furnace on the data tag. Identified units will meet the following criteria:
• The model numbers affected are 8935-III AC and 8940-III AC furnaces
• Manufacturing dates between 5/18/2009 and 3/29/2012
Once a unit has been identified as part of this service campaign, contact Atwood Mobile Products at (800) 825-4328, ext. 114709, or email 8900AC@atwoodmobile.com.
Atwood Mobile Products LLC has appointed Trey Miller as aftermarket sales manager for all of Atwood, according to a press release.
Miller joined Atwood in 2011 as commercial manager for the Fan-Tastic Vent division. His background in the RV aftermarket includes roles as the president of BR Wholesale, vice president of sales and marketing at DTI RV Parts and vice president of marketing services at Stag Parkway Inc.
“His experience has shown to be a tremendous asset for the Fan-Tastic Vent Division and we are confident it will carry over to his new role,” said Kip Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing for Elkhart, Ind.-based Atwood.
As aftermarket sales manager, Miller’s responsibilities include the development, execution and maintenance of all aftermarket sales activities, including those for the Fan-Tastic Vent division. He will be the central driver for the alignment of Atwood’s product offering to meet the aftermarket’s needs.
While Miller will also retain the product management responsibilities from his commercial manager role for Fan-Tastic Vent, Atwood’s RV OEM sales team will assist in the management of Fan-Tastic Vent’s OEM account coverage needs.
In tandem with Miller’s appointment, Judy Schutz has been appointed as Atwood’s customer service/trading manager.
In addition to her current responsibilities, Schutz will also be responsible for the operational management related to the launch and distribution for many of Atwood’s new product lines. Both Miller and Schutz will continue to be based at Atwood’s headquarters in Elkhart.
Miller can be reached at email@example.com or (574) 266-4866. Schutz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (574) 266-4828.
The basic design of gas-absorption refrigerators — the type most often used in RV applications — hasn’t changed all that much since they first went into commercial use almost 90 years ago. Sure, they’ve been frequently upgraded with features that make them nearly the equivalent of compressor-driven residential units, and they’ve been restyled to today’s standards.
Operationally, however, they still employ the same original concept, using the same basic components — ammonia, hydrogen gas and water — in a closed system to create a chemical reaction that cools by way of evaporation.
That will change — to an extent — in August when Atwood Mobile Products plans a controlled rollout of its new RV refrigerator because the new Atwood reefer incorporates helium instead of hydrogen.
According to Kip Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing for the Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier, the company wanted to focus on the technological side of it and what could be done to advance the refrigeration product that’s used in the RV segment today.
Helium, as Ellis explained, is a product that has been used for quite a long time in cooling — in hotel minibars, for example — and it has, from a cooling and gas-absorption standpoint, several similar properties to hydrogen.
“The challenge has been in how to adapt that technology effectively to the RV market,” he added. “The refrigerators are bigger units and they are subject to temperature swings and vibrations. Also, helium is a different element than hydrogen, so we had to reconfigure the system to accommodate the distinctions in helium versus hydrogen.”
The new refrigerator will also help minimize potential problems from consumer misuse.
“For a gas-absorption refrigerator to function with optimal efficiency, they need to be level,” said Ellis. “If they’re operated entirely out of level — to varying degrees, for an extended period of time — you ultimately get heat buildup in the system. That can cause cracks in the cooling system itself, which can allow the hydrogen gas to escape.”
Ellis says he isn’t trying to be an alarmist by any means regarding the flammability aspects of hydrogen and, as Ellis pointed out, hydrogen technology has been proven through the years in millions of gas-absorption refrigerators built for RV use.
Yet, it’s clearly one of the aspects with which Atwood has been dealing in developing its new reefers.
“As we did our research on the front end of the current gas-absorption technology used in the market, we recognized that there were some challenges,” Ellis said. “We wanted to enter into it and be responsible to our ownership group in terms of bringing together a product that we believe is reliable and doesn’t present, on the back end, any sort of significant liability.”
Additionally, Atwood’s new reefer incorporates a state-of-the-art “anti-tilt system” built into the unit that shows the consumer on a lighted panel if the refrigerator is level. If it’s not level, it allows them to work to get to the point where it is. If they continue to operate it in an out-of-level position over the life of the unit, it has a counter built into it that will prevent the unit from getting to the point where it could fracture.
“If it’s used over and over in a manner that induces some sort of trauma to the system it will go into a lockout mode that requires the consumer to take it to a dealer for service work,” Ellis said.
Other aesthetic and functional features include two-way power system (AC and LP-gas), LED lighting, a door-ajar alarm, modern digital display and “cool crisper bins” that, Ellis noted, “use blue-hued light to further enhance the cooling aspect of the refrigerator in terms of a look and appearance for the consumer.”
Atwood is currently showing the refrigerator to RV OEMs — it will also be ultimately available as an aftermarket replacement — and plans are in the works to debut the unit with a “managed rollout” in mid-August. At least initially, the new reefer will be available in 6- and 8-cubic-foot models.
“Roughly 80% of the market is using one or the other of those two sizes today,” Ellis noted, “so we feel that this gives us a nice opportunity to get entrenched as a supplier of this product line.”
Atwood Mobile Products introduces the ILLUMIdoor lighted entry door system. This patent-pending system casts an amber light over the entry door area, providing a better view as you enter or exit the coach in the dark of night, according to a news release. ILLUMIdoor incorporates a strip of amber-colored LED lights mounted flush into the drip cap at the top of the door. Installation is the same as a traditional drip cap and requires only a few screws. The lights run off of 12-volt power, making ILLUMIdoor as easy to hook up as a traditional 12-volt light. Wires are hidden in the channels of the trim for a clean and finished look. The LED or Light Emitting Diode lights used in the ILLUMIdoor offer a longer life, minimal power draw and generate a vibrant light. And since the lights are amber in color they won’t attract bugs like a traditional white light. Atwood is the only full line manufacturer of entry doors for all types of Recreational Vehicles. ILLUMIdoor is available exclusively on Atwood doors. For more information visit (www.askforatwood.com.
Five men who played key roles in the development of the modern day RV industry were among those inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., Monday night (Aug.2) as part of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s Class of 2010.
During a 90-minute ceremony that featured equal parts of entertainment, nostalgia and inspiration, the new inductees reminisced before an audience of nearly 350 people.
Heritage Foundation Chairman Lon Larson welcomed the audience and received an award in recognition of his service, while B.J. Thompson, chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) spoke briefly on the RV Centennial celebration held on June 7 at the Hall of Fame and encouraged the audience to continue to mark the centennial throughout the rest of the year.
And in a surprise turn of events prior to the induction ceremony, as RVBUSINESS.com reported earlier, the foundation presented its Spirit Award to Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president of communications and chief marketing officer, who took the opportunity Monday night to announce his early retirement after 32 years with the trade group.
Here’s a few highlights of the inductees’ remarks:
Rex Floyd, Floyd’s RV, Norman, Okla., joked at the outset,” I thought you had to be dead to get in it!” He said the RV industry has treated him well over the 40 years that he has been part of it and thanked the staff of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) for its hard work through the years. Floyd served 12 years on the RVDA board and was a leader in the early years in organizing a national marketing program which evolved into today’s Go RVing campaign. He was the first dealer to receive RVDA’s Jim Summers award.
Jim Fogdall, Ace Fogdall RV, Cedar Falls, Iowa, said the first award he ever received was “a cherry pie from a satisfied service customer.” He said his parents, who started the company, “stressed customer care and hard work” as keys to success. Now run by the third generation of the Fogdall family, the dealership has been profitable in each of its 77 years. He thanked the RVDA, The Spader Co. and praised the 20 Groups that allowed him to interact with – and learn from — other successful dealers.
Don Lougheed, RV Group Inc., Austin, Texas, thanked “God and thousands of friends and associates since he started his business in 1963.” Loughheed gave credit to a number of RVDA pioneers, such as Hilton Fitt-Peaster and Jim Summers, and the late Bill Gorman, an industry consultant whoLougheed called his “idol who taught dealers how to sell RVs.” He also recognized manufacturing legends such as Winnebago Industries Inc.’s John K. Hanson, Holiday Rambler Corp.’s Richard Klinger and Airstream Inc.’s Wally Byam.
Carl Pfalzgraf, Atwood Mobile Products, Elkhart, Ind., recounted his early years as “a troubled teen” who built cars and drag racers and told how he joined Atwood in 1965 and spent his career as “an apprentice,” soaking up knowledge from those around him. He served 18 years on the RVIA board, the last two as board chairman, and called his industry service “a career within a career.”
Clarence T. Yoder, Carriage Inc. Millersburg, Ind., an Elkhart County legend who was sporting his trademark hat, lived up to his reputation as a man of few words. One of 15 children in an Amish family, he quit school at an early age and went to work sweeping floors at a nearby factory. He led his company, Carriage Inc., for 30 years and had a primary role in research and development. He pioneered seamless fiberglass end caps, motorized slideouts on fifth-wheels and developed the first flat floor for fifth-wheels with no step up to the bedroom. He holds several patents.
Inductees from the manufactured housing industry were Raymond F. Bassett, Jim Boyts, Jerry Haggadone, Morris Hylton Jr., Jess Maxcy and Jeff Wick. Bassett and Boyts are deceased.
A total of 14 foursomes competed earlier in the day in the charity golf tournament. The shotgun tournament was won by the team of Doug Bassett, Steve Bassett, Brian Younkin and Rick Grise.
Atwood Mobile Products LLC has announced the appointment of Bill Martin and Shane Doehrmann to its management team.
Martin was named director of marketing for the Elkhart, Ind.-based firm. In this redefined role, Martin will function as a leading source of market intelligence for Atwood and will be tasked with developing, executing and maintaining marketing strategies to meet Atwood’s organizational objectives.
“Bill brings a dynamic and creative personality to this role and his 12-plus years of RV OEM executive marketing experience will offer Atwood a unique perspective regarding OEM, dealer and RV consumer values,” stated Kip Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing.
Most recently Martin served as vice president of marketing for Coachmen Industries. In his new role, Martin will remain in the Elkhart area and be located at the Atwood Center at 1120 N. Main St.
Martin is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in public relations. He and his family reside in the Goshen area and he can be reached at email@example.com.
Doehrmann will fill the position of commercial manager for the hardware division. In this role, he will function as the lead manager of Atwood’s strategic sales and product management interests for the chassis and seating hardware product lines largely serving the commercial markets. He will also play a supporting role with the RV sales team in a product management capacity for the chassis hardware product lines crossing over into the RV market.
Doehrmann brings a technical aptitude and an analytical strategic mindset to this role following 15-plus years of diverse experience in engineering management and product line/marketing management with Honeywell, Goodyear and most recently with the Wellman Products Group – a $300 million manufacturer of brake and transmission components.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a masters of science in aerospace and Mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He is based at Atwood’s Elkhart – Charlotte Avenue facility and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Nominating Committee announced it is now seeking candidates from the association’s membership to run in this year’s board of directors elections.
There are eight seats up for election this year: four manufacturer, three supplier and one at-large representatives.
The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure. It is responsible for association affairs on a broad policy basis. The board meets three times per year: in March, during Committee Week in mid-June and in mid-September.
“The RVIA board of directors plays a critical role in guiding the work of the association and shaping the future of the RV industry,” said Dan Shea, president of the Towable Division at Gulf Stream Coach Inc. and chairman of RVIA’s Nominating Committee. “Any association member with an interest in addressing the issues that impact the RV industry should consider running for a seat on the board.”
Each RVIA manufacturer and supplier member company is afforded a single vote in the association elections, scheduled to take place electronically from Aug. 3-23. Newly elected board members will begin serving their terms on Oct. 1. The deadline for nominations is June 15.
In addition to Shea, this year’s Nominating Committee includes DeWayne Creighton of Dynamax Corp., Garry Enyart of Cummins Power Generation and Carl Pfalzgraf of Atwood Mobile Products.
Those interested in running in the board elections should contact a member of the Nominating Committee or RVIA’s Mac Bryan at (703) 620-6003 ext 334 or email@example.com.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) nominating committee is seeking candidates from the general membership to run in this year’s board of directors election.
There are seven seats up for election this year, including four manufacturer, one supplier and two at- large seats.
The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure. It is responsible for association affairs on a broad policy basis.
“RVIA depends on the board of directors to guide the association’s work and chart a course for the future of the industry,” said John Regan, chairman of Fabric Services and chairman of RVIA’s nominating committee.
The board meets three times each year: in March, during Committee Week in mid-June, and in mid-September.
“All RVIA members who are interested in the many policy issues that affect the RV industry as a whole should consider running for election to the board,” Regan continued. “Board membership is a terrific way to help shape the climate for the industry for years to come.”
Each RVIA manufacturer and supplier member is afforded a single vote. Newly elected board members will begin serving their terms on Oct. 1, 2009. The deadline for nominations this year is June 15.
This year’s nominating committee members include Carl Pfalzgraf of Atwood Mobile Products and Bob Olson of Winnebago Industries Inc. Those interested in running for a board seat should contact a member of the nominating committee.
Indiana’s Elkhart County is moving ahead with plans to grant tax abatements for firms looking to expand and add new jobs in the county, including RV suppliers Atwood Mobile Products and Jami Inc.
According to a report by WSBT-TV, South Bend, the county granted property tax cuts to Jami and also tentatively agreed to do the same for Atwood.
Atwood is planning to bring in a total of 94 new jobs over the next two years at its Elkhart facility.
“What we would like to do is use the tax abatement to bring in equipment to help support expansion in the Elkhart area in two areas – in hardware, and another one, window production,” explained Atwood president Tim Stephens. “We’re having to close a factory in West Union, Iowa, to accommodate this unfortunately.”
The company said while they are not creating an incredibly large number of new jobs, it adds to the overall efforts in the county to get the economy back on track.
“We’re hoping we’ve hit the bottom and things are turning around again,” Stephens said. “It’s important to remember it’s a depressed market. We’re down 60% in sales and any new jobs we bring in are really going to multiply as the market comes back, and it will do it fairly quickly.”
Jami also makes RV components at its plant in Middlebury. The county has approved a tax abatement request for expansion.
“They would retain over 140 jobs and then add an additional 85 jobs over the next two years,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “It would be a consolidation project where they’re closing a facility in Texas.”
Those 85 new jobs at Jami will come in the first two years. The company hopes to add 35 more in the future.