The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board wrapped up Committee Week, held June 6-9 in Washington, D.C., by approving a host of committee recommendations at their meeting on June 9 that will set the association’s agenda for the coming year and beyond.
In the area of industry education, the board approved revisions to the adopted RV Technician Career Ladder that gives RV service technicians the option of two different paths to certification. One path maintains the existing process to become a certified or master certified technician while the new approach allows technicians to become certified in specific specialties – including body, chassis, electrical systems, appliances – and plumbing, as they progress along the ladder.
Additionally, the board supported the reorganization of RVIA’s Trouble Shooter Clinics, beginning with the FY2012 sessions. Trouble Shooter Clinic classes will now be “track” oriented where attendees will focus on a specific area for several days. These new tracks are intended to follow along the specialty areas offered through the career ladder. Clinics utilizing the new approach will take place Nov. 7-11, 2011, and March 5-8, 2012 at Ivy Tech Community College in Elkhart, Ind.
Finally, the board approved the development and funding of a marketing program to be conducted by RVIA and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) to increase the number of certified RV technicians and raise the awareness and value of certification with RV dealers and RV technicians.
In other actions, the RVIA Board approved:
• Hosting the RV World Conference, a gathering of RV associations and organizations from around the globe, in conjunction with the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, Fla.
• Replacing the proprietary seminars conducted by exhibitors at the National RV Trade Show with more dealer-centric seminar programs.
• Increasing the admission price of the California RV Show from $6 to $10 (children under 17 admitted free) and offering admission discounts from Monday – Thursday to encourage more attendance on those days.
• Permitting exhibitors at the California RV Show to have up to 20% of units on display be from the previous model year.
• Providing funding in the amount of $25,000 to the RV Safety Education Foundation in the next fiscal year to support consumer safety education.
• Publishing the 2010 Annual Survey of Lenders’ Experiences and continuing the research next year.
• Returning to Washington, D.C. in June for Committee 2012 and holding the 2013 RVIA Annual Meeting in south Florida.
The RVIA board also endorsed the recommendation of the Go RVing Coalition to move forward with the 2012 launch of all-new national advertising campaign featuring the theme “Away.” Production of the campaign’s advertisements and other collateral materials will take place this summer.
The board’s actions were the result of recommendations from many of the association’s standing committees that met on June 6 -7. Programs with specific budgets for FY2012 are pending until final approval by the RVIA Executive Committee at its August budget meeting and the RVIA board at its September meeting.
With Congress in the grip of budgetary issues, don’t expect serious legislative action on much of anything for the time being, Indiana Sen. Richard “Dick” Lugar told recreational vehicle industry leaders during last week’s (June 6) reception at the U.S. Capitol.
“It is no secret that we are involved – in fact, all we are involved in right now – in the Senate are debates on the budget, on the debt ceiling, and, likewise, how we are going to be able to afford so-called entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – even how we will finance defense budgets with our country’s very ambitious goals,” Lugar said.
“But not to worry,” he added, extracting a few chuckles from his audience in the Congressional Atrium of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. “This is all that occupies us (Congress) right now. So, even as you are thinking through amendments, whether it’s with regard to HUD or trade or whatever else that may help the industry, be assured that nothing will happen on the floor to it at this particular time.
“However, you ought to think about the future and begin crafting either regulations that the administration might change by itself or amendments to bills that may eventually come along to deal with taxes or something that people find essential to pass. I say all this in as good a humor as I can because it’s really grimsville out there.”
Lugar, a veteran lawmaker who, if reelected, is likely to become President Pro Tem of the Senate – third in line for the U.S. presidency – provided one of the highlights of an evening that also included a tour of the U.S. Capitol and a stirring tribute to veteran industry executive Jim Sheldon. A Monaco executive and immediate past chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) board of directors, Sheldon was toasted by RVIA’s brass as well as his long-term boss, Monaco RV LLC President Kay Toolson.
Otherwise, Lugar’s comments were focused on the RV industry itself.
“We’re impressed with the tremendous vitality and strength that the recreational vehicle industry brings to our state,” said Lugar, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 and won a sixth term in 2006 with 87% of the vote. That was the fourth consecutive victory by a two-thirds majority for Lugar, who may wind up facing northern Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly in a closely watched general election race.
“Depending upon which year you calculate the statistics,” he noted, “at least 79% of the nation’s RV’s are produced in Indiana. So, it’s a tremendously important part of our manufacturing base and, likewise, a creative base with regard to the automotive industry and vehicles in particular.
“But it’s a base that has, at least throughout the years that I’ve served in Congress, always had potential problems with regulations and overregulation as well as tariffs and trade because this is an industry that has an international focus both in terms of imported parts and exported products. So, I simply pledge once again that our office will continue to work carefully and precisely with each one of you as firms as well as with the RVIA group as a whole.”
Lugar, in summary, said he’s enjoyed his interaction with RV industry people over the years. “I appreciate your personal visits to our office and the opportunities I’ve had in Indiana to converse with you to try to think through how the industry has recovered from a terrifically difficult set of circumstances which hit all vehicles,” said Lugar. “But the situation for the recreational vehicle industry, which is so special for Indiana, was especially grievous for us.
“I congratulate you all on a remarkable comeback and the ability to hire more people and the ability to see potential markets.”
New on RVBUSINESS.com today is “RV Capital Talk,” featuring an interview with Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Corp. and chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “RV Capital Talk” is part of a new weekly feature on RVBUSINESS.com and on the Internet.
While Fore previews RVIA’s Committee Week activities scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C., the show itself is co-hosted by RVNN.TV Creative Director Dave Dufour and RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg and is produced out of the northside-Elkhart, Ind., studios of RV News Net (RVNN.TV) (http://RVNN.TV), an Internet-based television network launched in January.
RVNN.TV currently generates 12 recreational vehicle-oriented TV shows for Internet distribution. In addition to traditional website and podcast distribution, RVNN’s shows are delivered via “over-the-top” (OTT) Internet TV systems, including Roku, Boxee and Apple TV, as well as mobile devices, such as iPad.
RVNN.TV is advertiser-supported, offering viewers a broad range of trade and consumer RV-related content, largely in a breezy, informal style, according to Andy McCaskey, managing director of the network. “RVNN is casual TV, not highly produced, but the trade-off is a closer relationship with our audience, more immediacy and a higher level of involvement that translates into a more productive marketing channel for advertisers,” said McCaskey.
“It’s a first in the RV industry — a multi-layered marketing channel that is actually ‘two –way TV’ using familiar tools such as text messaging and Skype,” he added, “and it’s fully integrated with social media such as Twitter and Facebook. With RVNN.TV, marketers can reach audiences more proactively in ways people want to be reached. RVNN.TV is an exciting cost-effective communications channel to reach the RV enthusiast.”
In addition to the important planning done during meetings of the various Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) standing committees, this year’s Committee Week will also feature two informative luncheon events that will give attendees critical information about the RV market and association activities.
Those events are discussed in the current issue of RVIA Today Express. The story follows.
Joint Committee Luncheon
On Monday, June 6, Richard Curtin, director of the Consumer Research Center at the University Michigan, will be the featured speaker at the Joint Committee Luncheon taking place from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m.
Curtin will present findings from his latest RV Consumer Demographic Profile research to be released this summer, provide his outlook for RV wholesale shipments in the coming year and take questions from the audience about the RV market and the overall economic climate. Curtin has directed RVIA’s demographic research since 1980 and authors RV Roadsigns, the association’s quarterly forecasting newsletter.
“Dr. Curtin has a unique understanding of how economic trends impact the RV consumer and the RV market, and we are fortunate that he will with be with us at Committee Week. His remarks will provide an insightful preview of what’s in store for the industry,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.
RVIA Membership Meeting and Luncheon
RVIA’s Annual Membership Meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 7, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. The session will include reports on the state of the association and updates on RVIA activities from RVIA Chairman of the Board Gregg Fore, RVIA President Richard Coon and RVIA Treasurer Derald Bontrager.
In addition, Chairman Fore will also honor industry leaders by presenting a host of association awards, including the prestigious Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award.
RVIA’s Committee Week 2011 is taking place June 6 -10 at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. During the four-day event, RVIA’s standing committee, executive committee and board of directors will meet to plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
For more information about Committee Week, contact RVIA’s Doreen Cashion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members will visit elected officials and key legislative staff during the association’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, during Committee Week.
“Advocacy Day is vitally important to our efforts to increase awareness of the RV industry on the federal level,” Jay Landers, senior director of RVIA’s Government Affairs Department, stated in a news release. “Congressional visits help strengthen relationships between RVIA members and the members of Congress who represent their states and districts.”
RVIA Government Affairs staff schedule appointments with elected officials, provide briefing materials and accompany members on visits. The program also gives participants the opportunity to have photos taken with congressmen and senators.
Advocacy Day begins with a morning meeting during which RVIA members are briefed on the issues they will be discussing with members of Congress. The briefing includes exercises that help RVIA members practice discussing key issues before they set out to meet elected officials.
For more information on RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, contact Jay Landers at email@example.com
RVIA’s Committee Week is set to take place June 6 – 9 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week 2011 will be held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C,. from June 6 – 9, 2011. During the four-day event, the association’s standing committees, Executive Committee and board of directors will meet to set the association’s agenda for the upcoming fiscal year, according to a news release.
The Go RVing Coalition is also scheduled to meet during Committee Week on Monday, June 6.
Committee Week meetings are open to guest attendance; however, those planning to attend a committee meeting as a non-member should contact the RVIA staff liaison or the committee chairman for information on the guest policy.
In addition to a full slate of committee meetings, other key events taking during the week include:
- Annual Membership Meeting – The luncheon program on Tuesday, June 7, will include reports on the state of the association from key officials, including RVIA Chairman of the Board Gregg Fore and RVIA President Richard Coon.
- Capitol Hill Advocacy Day – RVIA members will visit Capitol Hill for RVIA’s Advocacy Day on Wednesday, June 8, to increase awareness of the RV industry on the federal level. (Please note that the date is June 8, not June 9 as previously specified in the Winter 2011 print issue of RVIA Today.)
- Remarks from Richard Curtin – Richard Curtin, director of consumer research at the University of Michigan, will report on the latest RV Consumer Demographic Profile research and provide his outlook for the RV industry for the coming year. The date and time of this presentation is to be determined.
Full details on Committee Week will be mailed to association members in early April. For more information about the event, contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) today (June 9) wrapped up the open aspect of its strategic Committee Week and Annual Meeting sessions at the Century Center in downtown South Bend, Ind.
While the national trade association’s Executive Committee met in closed session Wednesday afternoon and RVIA’s full board meets Thursday behind closed doors, the general meeting clearly finished on a strong note with RVIA Chairman Jim Sheldon telling about 100 attendees that rising tides in the U.S. economy and the RV industry are lifting prospects after two “challenging years” for this winter year’s 48th Annual National RV Trade Show Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky.
With shipments forecasted to top 230,000 units this year, a 39% increase over 2009, 73 manufacturers through April had reserved 670,000 square feet of display space for the Louisville Show vs. 59 manufacturers and 490,000 square feet a year ago, he said.
This, however, is roughly half the show space the industry had utilized at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville a few years ago.
It’s too early to make forecasts for the association’s retail California RV Show in Pomona, he added, but reservations already are 70,000 square feet ahead of the 2009 show, he added.
An above-average turnout of RVIA’s membership at this week’s meetings, in turn, convinced RVIA’s leadership of the wisdom of holding its strategic annual meeting this year near the Indiana RV-building center of Elkhart County — even if next year’s Committee Week plans already call for a return to Washington D.C. and the format that the annual association has followed for years.
Sheldon, who hands over his chairmanship this fall, was among the speakers Wednesday in addition to RVIA President Richard Coon; Bob Olson, president, chairman and CEO of Winnebago Industries Inc. and Go RVing co-chairman, who gave the treasurer’s report, then later teamed with Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer, to update members on Go RVing; and B.J. Thompson, who, with LaBella, gave a report on “The New Consumer and the Road Ahead.”
Here are some excerpts from those presentations:
- Sheldon praised the RVIA’s staff, though reduced by budget-induced cutbacks the last two years, in representing RV industry interests in a number of fronts, including the formaldehyde debate, CAFÉ standards and standards and education.
- Coon said RVIA membership, which fell from 540 as of June 2008 to a low point of 389 in May, is on the rebound, especially on the supplier side, where the number had fallen from 315 to 218. RVIA will remain “manufacturer driven,” Sheldon pledged, though manufacturer membership has fallen from 101 in 2008 to just 77 this year.
- In reviewing RVIA board resolutions during the past two years, Coon noted that reunification talks with the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) are continuing with a vote from the RPTIA board likely in January. Reuniting with the recreational park trailer builders is important, Coon said, as “destination camping is becoming a bigger deal” with American consumers. Coon also said the RVIA may want to consider adopting ISO standards as RVing becomes a global business.
- In a presentation titled “Go RVing: We’re Back in the Saddle Again,” Olson and LaBella told RVIA members that investing in Go RVing’s new “Ambassadors of Affordability” ads was a wise decision during the recession. “We were under severe economic constraints last year,” said Olson. “Continuing to advertise and deciding to develop new creative in such a year were bold moves to keep our industry on the offensive.”
- The new Go RVing ads emphasize savings, which research shows is a smart move given how the economy has affected consumer thinking. “We’ve always promoted value and affordability as big advantages of RV ownership,” said LaBella. “But dramatic changes in consumer behavior due to the recession have now made value and affordability even more important to purchase decisions.” In the new ads, the “Ambassadors” — the charming critters already familiar to consumers from several years of national print exposure — were given new personalities and starring roles in four new TV commercials to air throughout 2010 and 2011. The Ambassadors will also appear on new web banners for Internet advertising, and are hosts of a new, more interactive experience at GoRVing.com. Web visits and leads have already surged as a result of the new ads and increased media exposure this year.
- Following the “We’re Back in the Saddle Again” report, LaBella was joined by Thompson to present “The New Consumer and the Road Ahead,” a look at RVIA public relations activities, as well as an overview of findings from a new communications-planning survey conducted by Harris Interactive. LaBella and Thompson reported that the image of RVing has remained strong, and that media has widely reported core RVIA messages. “The key to our successful outreach is the industry’s continued investment in PR,” said Thompson. “An investment that has protected our image and is deftly positioned in the industry to capitalize on our nation’s growing economic recovery.”
- After showing an 11-minute video of news and entertainment programs featuring RVs, the duo provided analysis of the new Harris Interactive research. “Among the findings, the survey showed that statements focused on family togetherness and cost savings rate equally with RV owners and non-RV owners alike,” said LaBella. “Messages that mention families saving money while enjoying a great outdoor experience will appeal to a wide cross-section of consumers.”
- The PR presentation closed with an entertaining video titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Our Centennial,” which showed RV news and entertainment highlights from the past several years.
Representatives of the RV industry from across North America will converge on Elkhart, Ind., tonight for the official celebration of the RV centennial.
All 1,000 tickets for the once-in-a-century event were sold weeks ago, sponsor Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported.
The celebration comes during RVIA’s annual Committee Week, which begins today.
Several Indiana state and natural political figures have been invited to the centennial event which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the RV/MH Heritage Museum on the city’s northeast side. The event is on, rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, all outdoor events will be moved inside.
The RV Centennial Celebration will include a barbecue and outdoor reception featuring casual fare and a variety of entertaining booths, a Centennial Campfire surrounded by antique RVs and more. The outdoor reception will be followed by a special program honoring the industry’s past. The fast-paced, one–hour program held inside the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum will include entertaining videos and presentations saluting the industry’s history and a cake-cutting ceremony. A rousing fireworks display will wrap up the evening.
RVIA previously announced important parking guidelines for those attending the event. Limited parking will be available on-site at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart and at the neighboring RSM McGladrey accounting firm. In order for event attendees to park on-site, they must be participating in a carpool with at least three people per car.
For those unable to carpool, RVIA is offering shuttle buses that will take guests to and from the Century Center Marriott in South Bend and RV/MH Hall of Fame. RVIA will also offer nearby satellite parking with shuttle-bus service to the event. Companies that have large groups of attendees coming to the Centennial Celebration are urged to run their own buses to allow as many of their attendees as possible to travel together as a group in one vehicle.
The party comes at the start of RVIA’s Committee Week, traditionally held in Washington, D.C. All Committee Week activities will be held at the Century Center in downtown South Bend, located 15 miles west of Elkhart.
Because Committee Week is being held in northern Indiana, the hub of the RV industry, the RVIA expects attendance at this week’s meetings to be higher than normal, RVIA Vice President Mac Bryan said.
Committee Week meetings began at 8 a.m. today and conclude with the RVIA board of directors meeting scheduled for all day on Thursday.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine and a regular panelist on the business show ”Forbes on Fox,” will be the keynote speaker at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) annual meeting June 9 during RVIA’s Committee Week at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind., according to RVIA Express.
In a talk titled, “U.S. Outlook: Is the Recovery Durable?” Karlgaard will give an outlook for stocks, home prices and asset classes while also discussing which sectors of the economy will benefit from increased government intervention and which will lose ground. He will examine how the results of the 2010 midterm elections might change the business landscape and which products and services, growth models and economic regions are likely to perform best in the immediate future and in the long-term.
Also at the meeting, RVIA Chairman Jim Sheldon and RVIA President Richard Coon will discuss the state of the association and speak on a wide range of topics including government relations, standards, industry education and RVIA-sponsored trade shows. RVIA Treasurer Bob Olson will detail the association’s finances.
In a presentation titled, “RVIA Public Relations: The New Consumer and the Road Ahead,” RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and Gary LaBella , vice president and chief marketing officer, will provide an analysis of the post-recession consumer, examine the new Harris survey findings on the factors that influence RV purchase decisions and give an overview of the media exposure created for the RV industry through the association’s public relations programs.
In “Go RVing: We’re Back in the Saddle Again,” Go RVing Co-Chairman Bob Olson of Winnebago Industries Inc. and LaBella will provide a briefing on the award-winning ad campaign. RVIA will also honor industry and association leaders by presenting a host of awards.
At a luncheon immediately following the membership meeting, economist Richard Curtin, director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, will provide his outlook for the RV market for the upcoming year. Curtin has directed RVIA’s RV Consumer Demographic Profile research for 30 years and authors the association’s quarterly RV Roadsigns newsletter.
For more information on the RVIA Membership Meeting and the industry forecast luncheon, contact RVIA’s Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 ext. 305 or visit www.rvia.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is gearing up for its two biggest member events of the year – Committee Week and the RVIA Annual Meeting – set to be held in Elkhart and South Bend June 7-10.
This year, Committee Week will be highlighted by RVIA’s fun-filled RV Centennial Celebration, taking place on Monday, June 7, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart.
Committee Week meetings take place Monday through Thursday, June 7 – 10, at the Century Center in South Bend, where RVIA members will plan the association’s agenda for the next fiscal year and beyond. The association’s standing committees, the Go RVing Coalition, the RVIA Executive Committee and RVIA board of directors will meet to develop strategies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year.
Rich Karlgaard is this year’s Annual Membership Meeting keynote speaker. A columnist, the publisher of Forbes magazine, and a regular panelist on the popular business show Forbes on Fox, Karlgaard will deliver his assessment of the current issues and trends in today’s business world. Richard Curtin, director of the Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan, will deliver a market forecast for the RV industry.
Karlgaard will be speaking Wednesday morning, while Curtin will be speaking at the luncheon that same day.
A full schedule of Committee Week events follows.
Monday, June 7
(Committee Week registration will take place in the River Suites Lobby – Lower Level from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
- RV Industry Education Council 8 a.m. -12 noon
- Joint Committee Luncheon 12 noon – 1 p.m.
- Industry Education Committee 1 – 5 p.m.
- Lawyers’ Committee 1 – 5 p.m.
- Market Information Committee 1 – 5 p.m.
- RV Centennial Celebration* 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.
* RV Centennial Celebration will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum
Tuesday, June 8
- Standards Steering Committee 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Go RVing Coalition 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- National Show Committee 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Public & Legislative Affairs Committee 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Joint Committee Luncheon 12 noon - 2 p.m.
- Financial Services Committee 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Supplier Committee 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Public Relations Committee 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Notre Dame Tour and Reception/Dinner 6 – 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 9
- RVIA Membership Meeting 8:30 a.m. – noon
- RVIA Membership Luncheon noon – 1 p.m.
- Long-Range Planning/ Executive Committee* 1:30 – 6 p.m.
* If you are a committee chairman, plan to stay on Wednesday, June 9, for the Long-Range Planning meeting to present any motions formulated by your committee that will be reviewed by the board.
Thursday, June 10
- Board of Directors Meeting* 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Board of Directors Working Luncheon noon – 1 p.m.
*Continental breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. in the meeting room.