Pender, Neb.-based Blue Ox held its 18th Annual Service Award Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux City on June 15.
According to a press release, the supplier hosts an annual banquet to show appreciation to the associates and their years of dedication. Associates and their guests were treated to a social hour and a gourmet meal before the award presentation began.
Blue Ox honors its associates at five-year intervals. Those honored at this year’s banquet were:
5 Years – Ward Barelman of Wayne (IT department).
10 Years – Ed Isaac of Bancroft (service tech), Todd Kubik of Pender (material handler), Aaron Mahaney of Walthill (maintenance), and Mike Thelander of Melbourne, Fla. (outside sales).
15 Years – Kim Bargmann of Bancroft (supply chain specialist), Delwin Kai of Pender (fabrication), and Deanna Wendte of Pender (customer care).
20 Years – Ron Duncan of Pender (Welding) and Cory Meyer of Pender (Shipping and Assembly).
25 Years – Duane Kratke of Pender (fabrication), Ray Potter of Thurston (assembly), Billie Rager of Emerson (fabrication) and Paul Thomsen of Pender (customer care).
35 Years – Keith Brehmer of Pender (material handler) and Doug Glaubius of Wisner (fabrication).
40 Years – Joan Beckman of Pender (assembly) and Larry Witt of Wakefield (welding).
In appreciation of their years of service the honored guests received various gifts including;
• Beautiful detailed, life-like Terry Redlin deer sculptures, modeled after Redlin paintings.
• Beautiful clock with a walnut frame, gold/silver accents, and a pendulum with crystals from Swarovski components.
• Beautiful world globe inlaid with over 25 hand carved semi-precious gemstones on a gold plated table stand with a built-in compass.
• $1,750.00 credit towards a trip for two to a domestic destination of choice within the 48 continental United States.
• Beautiful 10k patented Sunshine Gold Blue Ox ring with genuine full cut diamonds set in square collects in West German Fire Blue Spinel stones
• Beautifully designed classic styled grandfather clock.
•Trip for two to Ireland.
• Hawaiian cruise for two.
Blue Ox President Jay Hesse and Vice President Ellen Kietzmann completed a trip to Washington, D.C., last week where they visited members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation – Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fisher and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry – to discuss the role of Blue Ox in providing material to the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to a press release, Hesse said he and Kietzmann have been working with the American Business Development Group, which specializes in helping to develop contracts to supply equipment to U.S. military forces and introduce Blue Ox to Nebraska’s representatives in the nation’s capital.
“We were in Washington, D.C., to meet with our representatives to let them know who we are, where we’re at and what we do including diversifying what we already do,” said Hesse. “We’ve been manufacturing in the agricultural and the RV industries and we wanted to emphasize that we have the capabilities to work in the defense industry.”
Known for making hitches to haul trailers and vehicles behind utility, commercial, agricultural and recreational vehicles, Blue Ox also makes tow bars of defense-grade materials that can haul 20,000, 40,000, 80,000 and 120,000 pounds. “These would be pulling heavy military vehicles,” Hesse said of the heavy-load tow bars. “These would be from HUMVEEs and other similar-sized vehicles up to some tanks.”
Hesse said that Sens. Johanns, Fischer and Rep. Fortenberry plan to tour Blue Ox facilities in August. “We have our headquarters in Pender but we’re looking at expanding the engineering and logistics of our two facilities in Lincoln,” said Hesse who noted that retired Major General Roger Lempke, former adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard, will also tour Blue Ox facilities “We’re looking at acquiring equipment and expanding the Lincoln facilities to handle defense contracts,” said Kietzmann. “Our goal is to put the Department of Defense side of our operations in Lincoln.”
For more information about Blue Ox and its complete line of Blue Ox towing and braking systems, steering controls systems, sport carriers and accessories, along with its agricultural products, visit www.blueox.com.
Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, has donated $5,000 to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, Inc.’s current “Burn the Bank Note” campaign for its Elkhart, Ind.-based RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum.
According to a press release, Hesse, who also serves on the Hall’s executive committee as vice chairman, proposed to Hall President Darryl Searer an idea designed to reach the “Burn the Bank Note” challenge even sooner. Hesse’s idea is what he describes as a “Peer Challenge.”
The “Peer Challenge program” works like this: Once a company or individual makes a contribution of $1,000 or more, they could challenge up to three other companies. The challenger would go to the Hall’s website and enter a few lines of information about the company or individual they intend to challenge. The web program then generates and sends a personalized, detailed e-mail informing them that they have been challenged to match the donation.
Hesse believes a company should challenge others in their own industry and market segment. In other words, an RV supplier would challenge another RV supplier, a manufacturer another manufacturer, a distributor a distributor or an individual would challenge another individual.
Hesse said, “The challenged company or individual basically has three choices. First, and ideally, to match the challenger’s donation; second, contribute a different amount either greater than or less than the original challenger’s donation and start a new challenge; or finally, ignore the challenge, which we hope they will not do. If they match the challenge or start a new challenge then they would challenge others. This bicycling effect could result in more donations and be a huge benefit to the Hall.”
Searer said, “This is a great idea. Jay’s Peer Challenge program should help us achieve our goal much quicker. I’ve learned since becoming president of the Hall that people in both the RV and manufactured housing industries are generous and would be happy to make a contribution if asked. And the ‘Peer Challenge’ makes it easy to ask.”
The goal is to raise $150,000 in voluntary contributions by April 30, 2013, to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has offered a $50,000 challenge grant, and that $200,000 would pay off the Hall’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
Tax-deductible gifts, adds Searer, may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through the Hall’s web site at www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
The jury’s in, so to speak, on the latest RVBusiness/Blue Ox Survey question, and industry respondents have returned their most lopsided decision to date on the question of whether the North American recreational vehicle industry, for a variety of reasons, should better coordinate its new model introductions.
A commanding 88% of those posting their opinions say they’d prefer a more coordinated new model introduction cycle – something more akin to the auto industry where new releases all debut in a relatively narrow window of time, most likely in the fall. Only 12% would prefer to see things stay the way they are, where new models debut virtually non-stop year-round, from April to April.
Here’s the essence of what people were telling us in the latest round of a periodic survey sponsored by Blue Ox, the Pender, Neb.-based RV industry supplier, and administered by RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.com:
“For dealers in the north, model change happens in the middle of the spring show season. Hardly fair to be competing in an already tough market with perceived non-current inventory that the dealers carried all winter. August/September would be the best time for model change allowing for a structured retailing program year round and especially for dealing non-current models.” — Anonymous
“Follow more closely to what the U.S. auto industry does.” — Anonymous
“Credibility is lost when a manufacturer jumps a model year prior to a calendar year (Ex: 2013 models sold in 2011). The industry regulating the timing for model year change-over would be a great thing to add consumer confidence to an industry lacking notable guidance.” — Brad, Southern RV
“I would rather be selling 2013s instead of 2012s. Early introduction allows 20 months or more before your product becomes aged in the public’s mind. You can get more for the 2013 than your competitor across town selling a similar 2012 model. You have all spring and summer to get rid of your 2012s. Dealers who want to keep ordering 2012s all spring and summer have things bass-ackwards, In my opinion, if you should get overstocked in the spring and summer, better to be overstocked with 2013s!” — Lee Litchfield, Lee’s RV Superstore
“Having a consistent dated new model introduction would level the playing field for those that come out early to get an advantage. More importantly, dealers being mfg partners, would respond better and could plan consistent inventory and consistent purchasing without fear of what dealers will receive in when built. — Rob Reid, President, Great Lakes RV Center
“New model release dates are part of the marketing plan by the manufacturer and the manufacturer must decide in concert with his dealers what is best. If dealers don’t like the release dates by their manufacturing partner, then they should change brands.” — Anonymous
“I think it would be great if they could be on a coordinated approach so that our customers aren’t so confused about new models b/c new car models come out next month for the 2013 year, so why not something like that for trailers? It also messes up the values of the previous year model, even if it was built the same year, dealers don’t want to keep having to drop the price for ‘last year’s model’ because a new model came out two months later. They (the manufacturers) need to agree on a coordinated approach to improve the overall RV business as a whole, and I know quality is not the main topic here, but a lot of them are still building substandard units and customers can tell.” — Anonymous
“A more coordinated approach to new model introductions would make it easier on all parties involved. However, I seriously doubt that the process can be controlled and monitored to the point that all manufacturers would comply.” – Keith Griffin, Bison Coach, LLC, A Navistar Company
“It would be great if they would all follow one release date unfortunately it all boils down to the almighty dollar. If brand “X” can get their latest greatest out before Brand “A” then the dealers will use their floorplan money to buy brand “X” with none left for brand “A”. This is the same reason the mfg shows have started in Elkhart, IN two months before the Louisville show to try to get the dealers to use all their money so they don’t have anything to spend at Louisville.” — Anonymous
Look for a new RVB/Blue Ox Survey question — on foreign trade — early next week.
Blue Ox, a key supplier of towing and hitching products, has introduced two new solutions to assist RVers with dinghy towing.
According to a press release, the new LED taillight wiring kits are not only brighter than standard bulb and socket kits, but are also smaller for easier installation. The kits install independent of the towed vehicle’s wiring, preventing back feed or warranty issues with the vehicle manufacturer. They’re available in both clear and red as a complete wiring kit or 10 packs of bulbs only.
Blue Ox’s fuse bypass switches are available in four different models. The switches provide a convenient alternative to the constant removal and re-installation of the fuse when changing from the towed mode to the driving mode.
The swithces offer a simple, one-time installation of the fuse switch allows for push button activation and deactivation of the fuse.
Blue Ox, Pender, Neb., has introduced the TailGator, allowing the transport of ATV’s, golf carts or other oversized vehicles without risking damage to the truck’s tailgate.
According to a press release, the TailGator was built to prevent damage and add support for the tailgate cables from undue stress.
It pins directly into any standard 2-inch receiver, eliminating the additional strain on the tailgate. Load capacity is rated at 1,000 pounds.
For more information on the TailGator and their complete line of towing and hitch systems contact Blue Ox, visit www.blueox.com.
Killer Bees LLC and Blue Ox jointly announced that Blue Ox will serve as the primary sponsor of the #96 car driven by Ben Kennedy in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series East on Thursday (April 28) in Richmond International Speedway, Richmond, Va.
Blue Ox, of Pender, Neb., is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicle and towing industry supplies and accessories.
“As the third generation owner of a family business, I am personally very excited to sponsor the #96 car this weekend,” Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, said in a news release. “Ben and his family’s time-honored foundation in NASCAR are a perfect reflection of Blue Ox’s respected tradition as the leader in the towing industry.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features separate schedules and championships for the East and West, and makes up the top step of the NASCAR Home Tracks ladder. A launching pad for developmental drivers, as evidenced by the national series success of recent graduates Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Carmichael and Austin Dillon, the K&N Pro Series East has become the destination for the best up-and-coming prospects to launch their NASCAR careers, and the destination for fans to get a glimpse of the starts of tomorrow.
For more information on Blue Ox and the complete line of Blue Ox weight distribution and gooseneck hitches, towing and braking systems, steering controls systems, track bars, sport carriers and accessories contact Blue Ox, 1 Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; (402) 385-3051; fax (402) 385-3360; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.blueox.com.
Blue Ox, a leader in the recreational vehicle and towing industry, has signed on as the official race entitlement sponsor of the opening event of the Spring NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. The Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East runs on Thursday (April 28), kicking off the action-packed weekend, according to a news release.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features separate schedules and championships for the East and West, and makes up the top step of the NASCAR Home Tracks ladder —a launching pad for developmental drivers and home for veterans of motorsports. In addition to producing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has served as the starting point for some of the top up-and-coming talent now in NASCAR’s three national series, including Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex.
For additional information on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, log on to www.NASCARHomeTracks.com – the ultimate online destination for fans of all of NASCAR’s developmental series.
Tickets for the Thursday Blue Ox 100 will be available for online purchase at www.rir.com or by calling (866) 455-7223. All seats are general admission and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
The weekend continues on Friday with the BBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Friday’s ticket includes Wawa Pole Qualifying and practice for the Sprint Cup Series, as well as NBC12 Pole Qualifying and practice for the Nationwide Series.
On Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway as Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400. Hometown hero Denny Hamlin will square off with defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and the rest of the Sprint Cup Series.
Blue Ox is now offering a simple way to increase the ease of use on your current weight distribution hitch. The same Rotating Latch Brackets that are found on the Blue Ox SwayPro weight distributing and sway-control hitch are now available to separately to fit other weight distribution hitches, according to a news release. While most hitches on the market today utilize snap-up chain brackets which allow the chain to sway freely, the Signature Series Rotating Latch Bracket’s wrap-around design secures the chain thus reducing sway. The rotating latch enables you to hook up much quicker and with less hassle than traditional snap-up methods, and will improve the amount of clearance for enclosed trailer frames, propane bottles and battery compartments. Blue Ox Rotating Latch Brackets will be available in both clamp-on (84-0166) and bolt-on options (84-0167), and will fit any hitch that uses chains. For more information on the Blue Ox Rotating Latch Brackets and the complete line of Blue Ox towing and braking systems, steering controls systems, sport carriers and accessories contact Blue Ox, One Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; phone 402-385-3051; fax 402-385-3360; e-mail; email@example.com, website www.blueox.us.
Blue Ox has opened a new engineering facility in Lincoln, Neb.
Located at 2331 Fairfield, the 4,400-square-foot facility will be devoted entirely to the design of new products and improvements to the company’s existing product line of towing products, hitches, braking systems, steering controls, carriers and fifth-wheel accessories, according to a news release.
“The new engineering office will be capitalizing on the fresh ideas and talents of interns from various local colleges and universities, in addition to experienced engineers from the Lincoln metro area,” said Dave Merchant, engineering manager
Blue Ox will maintain its Manufacturing and Product Support Department at its Pender, Neb., facility. “We will continue to lead the industry in the release of product specific applications such as baseplates, steering controls and gooseneck hitches in addition to current product line changes and supporting the Lincoln office”, said Armando Ambriz, operations manager.
For more information on Blue Ox Engineering and the complete line of Blue Ox tow bars, baseplates, hitches, braking systems, steering controls systems, sport carriers and accessories, contact Blue Ox, One Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; phone (402) 385-3051; fax (402) 385-3360; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.blueox.us.