Aspen Trail, a division of Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., reported that sales for 2013 showed a marked increase according to the year-end report by Statistical Surveys Inc.
“Final 2013 Stat Surveys numbers show Aspen Trail’s total sales increased 49% with a market share increase of over 27% for that same time period,” said Ryan Thwaits, Aspen Trail general manager, in a press release.
Aspen Trail offers a wide range of travel trailers that combine a high-end look and quality features at an affordable price. Interior amenities include distressed maple hardwood panel drawer fronts and cabinet doors, heavy-duty drawer guides, interior designer treatments, a Bluetooth audio system, and Beauflor wood plank flooring. Chad Holtzinger, Aspen Trail product manager, added, “Residential-styled furniture and two-toned walls add a sense of comfort and warmth to the living areas.”
The 2014 Aspen Trail is designed with an 82-inch interior ceiling height, allowing for taller kitchen cabinets, larger windows, more storage and additional headroom in the slides. Aspen Trail slides include an oversized convertible dinette and/or sofa. “Mega-slides are over a foot wider, and offer a 6-foot-1 inch ceiling height,” Holtzinger noted. “All main living areas also include an overhead skylight.”
Kitchens are versatile, offering tons of storage, larger cabinets, multiple drawers and liberal counter space. Kitchens also include a generous double-door refrigerator, extra-large double-bowl sink with high-rise faucet, auto-ignition 3-burner range with oven, residential carousel microwave and ptional high-end solid surface countertops.
Most bedrooms feature a 60 inch by 80 inch “true residential” queen-sized bed (instead of the RV standard queen beds), as well as designer bedding, reading lights and TV hookups. Bath areas offer an ABS tub with shower surround and porcelain foot-flush toilet. Units also offer a heated and enclosed forced air underbelly and black tank.
During December’s recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s newly-redesigned Aerolite travel trailers was well received by dealers while earning a “Top RV Debut” from RVBusiness Magazine.
In describing the parameters of a “Top RV Debut”, RVBusiness said companies must embrace cutting-edge innovation and highlight “specific eye-catching RVs that we think are most likely to draw a majority of attention among current and future campers cruising the aisles of retail shows throughout North America.”
“Aerolite narrowed the product lineup to conventional lightweight travel trailers and expandables, while revamping the look of the line with new colors, graphics and floorplans,” said Ryan Elliott, Aerolite product manager, of the product line overhaul.
“Aerolites provide well-planned, comfortable seating areas, generous kitchens, and practical baths and bedrooms. Families appreciate the time our engineers and interior designers spent making their vacation experiences the best ever,” Elliott added. “Aerolite offers tons of living and storage space for the money. It utilizes every square inch to guarantee families will have everything packed and ready for their next perfect camping experience.”
Terry Whitley has joined Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. as regional sales manager for the company’s northwestern territory.
According to a press release, Whitley is responsible for increasing market penetration and sales efforts of Coleman travel trailers in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, northern Oregon, Washington, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Whitley comes to Dutchmen after nine years in the industry, where he most recently served as regional sales manager for a competitive line of lightweight travel trailers.
“Terry is a great addition to the Coleman sales team,” said Troy James, Coleman general manager. ”He’s passionate, aggressive, and comes with the skill sets necessary to keep Coleman focused on maintaining the tremendous growth we’ve experienced this year.
He added, “Terry is part of our continued, revitalized emphasis on product, dealer communications and customer service, and we’re extremely glad to have him on board.”
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the Coleman team,” Whitley said. “The product is dialed in, and the Explorer and Expedition lines offer a wide variety of floorplans. Coleman is a strong company, and Statistical Surveys shows it on a fast, upward climb. I intend to add to that continued growth.”
Whitley was born and raised in Elkhart, Ind., and currently resides in Goshen. He can be reached on his direct line at (574) 537-5959, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RV industry veteran Matt Christensen has joined Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. as regional sales manager for the company’s Dutchmen product line.
According to a press release, Christensen is responsible for working with RV dealers in the Western United States and Canada to market Dutchmen travel trailers. His territory includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Matt’s enthusiasm and experience, plus his knowledge of the West Coast and Western Canada are exciting,” said Troy James, general manager for the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary. ”He’s a perfect fit with Dutchmen.”
Mike Scheetz, Dutchmen product manager, added, “Matt’s a great addition for us on the West Coast. His retail experience alone is something all dealers are looking for in a rep, and he’ll be a real asset for Team Dutchmen.”
Christensen’s past experience includes six years in RV retail management, and he previously served as a regional sales manager for another RV manufacturer. Christensen noted, “I’m excited to be part of such a talented team. With the investment this company has made in the infrastructure and with a constant emphasis on innovation, I’m confident Dutchmen will continue to be regarded as the best value in the industry.”
Christensen resides in Petaluma, Calif., and may be reached at (707) 495-1982 or email@example.com.
Cody Doody was recently named regional sales manager for the Aspen Trail product line at Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.
According to a press release, Doody will be responsible for new market penetration and increasing Aspen Trail travel trailer sales. Doody joined Dutchmen in November 2013, and his territory comprises the Central and Western United States.
“Cody is a perfect fit with our team, and I’m looking forward to his success with Aspen Trail,” said Ryan Thwaits, Aspen Trail general manager.
Chad Holtzinger, Aspen Trail product manager, added, “Not only is Cody a great sales rep, but he had virtually the same territory at his previous employer. That will really give him a leg up with his efforts.”
Doody came to Dutchmen with prior experience in the RV industry as a regional sales manager. “I’m excited to be part of the Aspen Trail team,” he said. “We’ve made significant, positive changes for 2014, and I’m also impressed with the support this company has given this product line.”
Doody, a native of Toccoa, Ga., attended Mercer University in Macon. He currently resides in Fort Wayne, Ind., and may be reached at (574) 537-5918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goshen, Ind.-based towable builder Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. has named Mike Scheetz product manager for its Dutchmen travel trailer division, according to a press release.
In his new position, Scheetz is responsible for Dutchmen product development, expanding market penetration and dealer relationships throughout the United States and Canada. “We’re looking forward to Mike’s involvement in Dutchmen’s product planning and dealer development. He brings a refreshing new energy to the table,” said Troy James, general manager.
Scheetz, an RV industry veteran, comes to Dutchmen with 20-plus year’s experience, primarily in RV manufacturer senior management. Most recently he was president of Bristol-based Echo RV.
“I’m really keyed up about this opportunity at Dutchmen,” Scheetz noted, “and appreciate the progressive way they conduct their business. There’s new construction and expansion happening every direction you turn, and I’m extremely excited with the direction this company is headed.”
James added, “Mike is an integral part of Dutchmen’s continued, revitalized emphasis on product, dealer communications and customer service, and we’re pleased he’s joined our team.”
A native of Indiana, Scheetz lives in Vandalia, Mich., and can be contacted at (574) 975-0503 or email@example.com.
Staff from Oklahoma-based RV General Store Inc., which handles Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s line of Voltage toy haulers, recently met two stars from the popular A&E TV series, Duck Dynasty, at a Sooners football game. According to a press release, the reality TV show is based on the Robertson family, owners of Duck Commander, a Monroe, La., business that produces duck calls.
When the Oklahoma Sooners faced the University of Louisiana at Monroe on the gridiron, Jep and Jessica Robertson of Duck Dynasty were on hand for the festivities. The RV dealership is the official sponsor of Sooner Village, an on-campus area set aside for RV tailgating and camping at every home football game.
Adjacent to Oklahoma’s football stadium is the Fan Fest area, which hosts live and remote radio broadcasts, games and giveaways. “That’s where we parked our nicest 2014 Voltage toy hauler to be used as a green room for the celebrity guests,” said Darrin Abel, general manager of RV General Store.
The fully equipped fifth-wheel was seen that day by thousands of football fans. It boasted full body paint, a rear porch and numerous luxury options. “Jep and Jessica were brought in to pose for pictures with fans and we got to hang out with them briefly,” Abel said. He also reported that the couple liked the Voltage and were pleased with its comfort. “They were as nice as could be and extremely genuine,” Abel said.
On game weekends, RV General Store provides an RV for use as a check-in station when campers register at Sooner Village. “On site, we display two RVs for sale and market directly to Sooner Village campers,” said Abel, “We partner with the university to make this a first-class experience for RVers. We cook out, tailgate and have special drawings and prizes for the campers.”
About 300 RVs visit the Village for each event.
Goshen. Ind.-based Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. announced recent personnel moves, naming John Cunningham as regional sales manager for its Kodiak ultralite travel trailers and Justin Couts as regional sales manager for Aerolite travel trailers.
According to a press release, Cunningham is responsible for sales, dealer contact and market penetration in the Northeastern U.S. In making the announcement, Ryan Thwaits, Kodiak general manager, noted, “John comes to us with over 14 years of experience in the RV industry and has positive relationships with many RV dealers. We’re especially excited to have him involved in launching our brand new 2014 Kodiak products.”
Cunningham’s industry experience ranges from sales to management with two major RV manufacturers. He noted he is pleased to be part of Kodiak’s team and looks forward to the expansion of its sales and marketing efforts.
“Kodiak’s new exterior designs and interior colors are tremendous,” he said. “Dealers have been asking for something different and this is it.”
A graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., Cunningham earned a bachelor’s in accounting while playing football on a full athletic scholarship.
He resides in Elkhart and can be contacted at (574) 361-7037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Couts will be responsible for working with existing Aerolite dealers and growing the brand with new business on the west coast.
“As an industry leader, it is our obligation to bring in new blood, and Justin Couts is the kind of talent we’re looking for from outside the RV industry,” said Thwaits.
Prior to joining Aerolite, Couts worked for two major manufacturing companies in sales and business development for 10 years, and in sales for six years. He was involved in a variety of services, including transportation, warehousing, machining and container management for numerous products.
“The 2014 Aerolite line is amazing,” Couts noted, “and I can’t wait to get the word out to my dealers.”
A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Couts holds a bachelor’s in business administration. Couts resides in Fort Wayne, Ind., and can be contacted at (260) 443-6842 or email@example.com.
Sean Doll has joined Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. as regional sales manager for the company’s East Coast territory. According to a press release, Doll is responsible for increasing market penetration and sales of Dutchmen travel trailers on the East Coast, from Maine to Florida. Doll has more than 13 years of RV experience.
In making the announcement, Troy James, Dutchmen general manager, stated: “Sean is a great addition to the Dutchmen sales team. He’s enthusiastic, aggressive, and comes with a well-rounded RV background from the dealership side of the industry, which is so important.”
He added, “Sean is part of our continued, invigorated emphasis on product, dealer communications and customer service, and we’re pleased to have him on board.”
At age 15, Doll started his career at the RV dealership where his father worked in Longmont, Colo. He worked his way up, performing virtually every job available, including the service department, where he carried out customer PDI walk-throughs, and also worked in the parts department. He moved into retail sales at dealerships in Colorado and California from 2007 until present.
Doll’s position at Dutchmen meets a long-time career goal – working at the corporate level. “I’ve wanted to do this for some time,” he said. “I bring a different mindset to this job, which is a special appreciation of the guys who sell retail. I’m excited to be at Dutchmen because it’s such a strong company, and I appreciate the opportunity,” he added.
Doll attended college in Fort Collins, Colo., and will be relocating from San Diego, Calif. to the South Bend, Ind., area. He may be reached on his direct line at (970) 324-1274 or his e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2013 Elkhart Open House was a “great show” for Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., not only because of the opportunity the northern Indiana trade show afforded the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary to show off new Kodiak, Infinity and Voltage models, but also because of the chance to communicate with dealers regarding all of the change that has occurred in 2013 for the Goshen, Ind., builder.
“It was absolutely a great show,” Aram Koltookian, executive vice president of Dutchmen, told RVBUSINESS.com. “We were a little bit ahead of last year as far as total sales, and the dealers were real receptive to the change. They understand all the new processes and the construction going on, and a lot of dealers really decided to stick with the Dutchmen brand and our company. And we signed a lot of new dealers.”
In addition to some West Coast consolidation and an aggressive construction project now under way at the Goshen campus, the biggest change for Dutchmen over the past year involves a major organizational shift announced in March through which Matt Zimmerman, president of Thor’s Keystone RV Co., assumed the additional responsibilities of overseeing Dutchmen while Koltookian, formerly general manager at Goshen-based Keystone, moved into his current slot.
All that led to some natural speculation within the industry regarding the independent status of Dutchmen – despite Thor’s assurances in March that the company would remain independent and continue to develop its own unique products with its own sales force, engineering staff, product development team and production facilities.
Now, Koltookian maintains, that speculation is gradually being laid to rest, especially among the dealers who attended the Open House and visited the company’s display outside the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“Yeah, this was really huge for Dutchmen,” said Koltookian. “You know, some of the Dutchmen dealers don’t know Keystone or me, Aram Koltookian, and they wanted to get to know us. They wanted to know what the game plan was for the company and make sure that we weren’t going to really be part of Keystone. You know, they wanted to make sure that this wasn’t just a move to build on Keystone’s business and they wanted to know whether Dutchmen would remain Dutchmen.
“And I think we proved it to them,” he added. “You know, we showed them a lot of (construction) pictures and a lot of what’s going on on the new campus, the new factories that are going up and they were reassured that Dutchmen remains Dutchmen, Keystone’s still Keystone, and that the two of us are going to continue to slug it out and let the best company win.”
The $10 million-plus construction project involves the consolidation of some smaller facilities into one large new plant, according to Koltookian, as well as revamping roads and retention ponds to improve traffic flow. Also part of the project are new computer systems, fiber optic cables and upgraded operating software, which, Koltookian maintains, says a lot about Thor’s long-term commitment to Dutchmen.
“We’ve already broken ground and are well under way on a new 60,000-square-foot multiuse building, which will bring all of our small part CNC machines, weld shops and aluminum fabrication onto the Dutchmen campus,” said Koltookian. “We’re also upgrading our County Road 38 facility, where we do lightweight lamination and build several lines, and we’ve built new scaffolding there. We’ve repaved around that plant and moved some retention ponds to allow for better traffic flow.
“We’re also moving our sales team this week back into the corporate office where we completely renovated the first floor and added 20 new offices,” he explained. “So, all of our reps have their own space, their own offices where they can do a better job and be more efficient in taking care of their dealers.
“We have multiple projects going on, and the first one, the corporate office, is complete.”