Carriage Inc. has promoted Don Emahiser to CEO and president of its entire corporate operations, Glenn Cushman, chairman, announced this week.
Emahiser was previously the Millersburg, Ind.-based company’s vice president of sales and marketing and has been with Carriage for the past five years. Prior to that, the RV industry veteran served in upper management at Starcraft Corp. for many years.
While in charge of sales for Carriage, Emahiser helped increase the number of dealers by 25% and doubled sales within his first two years, according to a news release. Other accomplishments included growing market share to 40% of the high-end fifth-wheel market and taking the company’s Cameo product from a small market share to the 16th best selling fifth-wheel in North America. Emahiser has also helped create a new marketing brand campaign for Carriage’s 2010 model year product.
Carriage will continue to innovate and expand its product offerings and market dominance in the high-end fifth-wheel marketplace with Emahiser at the wheel, Cushman said, noting that Emahiser’s new “Resort Vehicles” mantra represents a fresh commitment to Carriage’s luxury fifth-wheel buyer.
“We’re thrilled with Don’s performance, leadership and ideas,” said Cushman. “New and exciting innovations are in store for the future – we are very optimistic – and Don is the right man for the times.”
Cushman will continue his role as chairman of Carriage Inc. Carriage is the sixth largest fifth-wheel manufacturer in the RV industry. The company has been providing quality, high-end towables for over 40 years. Current product brands include Cameo, Carri-Lite and Royals International.
Carriage is a privately held company and has employed around 400 workers in Elkhart County.
Former managers and employees of Western Recreational Vehicles Inc. in Union Gap, Wash., have filed suit in federal court for reimbursement of unpaid benefits and damages.
The complaint, filed Tuesday (June 2) in U.S. District Court in Yakima, alleges the company failed to pay accrued vacation and provide the required 60-day notice when it ceased operations in April 2008, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.
The high-end motorhome manufacturer laid off about 220 workers when it shut down production at its plant in Union Gap.
The lawsuit names 26 former salaried and hourly workers as plaintiffs. In addition to the unpaid vacation, former employees claim Western RV withheld the cost of medical and dental premiums from their paychecks after canceling health coverage without notifying employees.
“As a result, plaintiffs have incurred damages consisting of medical and dental expenses and wages due in an amount to be proven at trial,” the complaint said.
Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers are required to provide 60-day notice before shutting down an employment site or one or more facilities that results in job losses for 50 or more employees.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Western Recreational Vehicles and Philip Von Burg, listed as vice president of the firm when the firm closed its doors.
The suit does not specify a damage amount.
Yakima attorney Wade Gano, who is representing the former employees, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Western RV had operated in Yakima since 1971, manufacturing motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers and campers. The founders of the company, Bill and Suzanne Doyle, sold the company to an equity firm, Monomoy Capital Partners of New York City, in 2006.
The firm was operating in Union Gap when it closed, citing a declining market for its products, some of which carried price tags of $500,000.
Western RV tried unsuccessfully to merge with an Indiana RV manufacturer prior to its closure.
Towable RV registrations were down predictably in Statistical Surveys Inc.’s March retail registration report released today (May 20) by the Grand Rapids, Mich., firm.
Travel trailer and fifth-wheel registrations for the month totaled 10,411, compared to 16,997 in March 2008, a decline of 38.7%. Retail registration totals by segment:
- Travel trailers: 7,239 compared to 11,599 in March of 2008.
- Fifth-wheels: 3,172 vs. 5,398 last March.
- Camping trailers: 983, down from 1,616 last year.
- Recreational park trailers: 135, off from 298 in ’08.
Thor Industries Inc. expanded its hold on the travel trailer market with a 30.8% share in March and 29.3% for the first quarter, more than double its closest competitor, Jayco Inc.
Thor had an even greater lead in the fifth-wheel market with a 40.6% market share in March and 39.7% share for the first quarter. Forest River Inc. was a distant second with a 12% and 13.6% share for March and the quarter, respectively.
FTCA Inc.’s Coleman camping trailer was the top selling folding camping trailer manufacturer with a 33.8% market share in March and 34.1% share for the quarter. Jayco was second at 26.6% for March 25.4% for the quarter.
In the recreational park trailer segment, Thor and Skyline Corp. were in a dead heat for the quarter, each with a 16.1% market share with Chariot Eagle a close third with 13.5%. For March, Thor was tops with 19.3% market share, followed by Skyline with 16.3% and Chariot Eagle with 17%.