Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV Inc. announced Monday (Sept. 30) John Lowry will join the company as Chief Operating Officer.
The position was previously held by Jim Meyer, who is the COO of Fleetwood RV’s parent company, Allied Specialty Vehicles, and was the acting interim COO of Fleetwood RV Inc.
Lowry previously worked at Harley-Davidson as general manager of powertrain operations and served in operational leadership roles for the company’s four largest factories. Prior to joining Harley-Davidson, Lowry served for 15 years as a Marine Corps officer and spent an additional 10 years in the Marine Corps Reserve after joining Harley-Davidson, retiring with the rank of colonel. He was decorated for valor as a Force Recon Platoon Leader during the 1991 Gulf War and received numerous other awards including the Legion of Merit.
“John’s caliber of experience and enthusiasm will help raise the bar in our organization and we’re elated to have him on our team,” stated John Draheim, President & CEO of Fleetwood RV Inc. “With a strong focus on our business objectives, I look for John’s presence to further strengthen our industry-leading operational practices and his contributions as COO will help move us closer to becoming a world-class RV manufacturer.”
Lowry holds an MBA from Harvard University and has also earned degrees from Princeton, Stanford and the U.S. Army War College.
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. reported increasing success with the refresh of its flagship diesel, the Discovery.
Fleetwood RV Inc., has revealed innovative new floorplans for the 2014 Southwind 34A and 36L Class A gas motorhomes, according to a press release. Introduced in 1970, the iconic Southwind is one of the company’s original brands and has a reputation for innovation, quality and value.
Boasting a generous galley kitchen area encased with stylish glass backsplash and solid surface countertops, the Southwind 34A provides a double-slide for optimal space when cooking and entertaining on the road. The L-shaped sofa, mid-ship 40-inch Sony LED TV and cozy fireplace offer all the comforts of home. Centrally located is a large bathroom with plenty of room and storage space while the bedroom includes a king bed plus ample storage and wardrobe space for livability and convenience.
The new Southwind 36L floor plan offers not only a convenient bath-and-a-half, but two slideouts and a popular L-shaped transformer sofa with a hide-away foldout air-bed. Perfect for entertaining family and friends, the Southwind’s forward slideout houses a roomy dinette with drawer storage and a Euro-recliner with ottoman. A queen bed or optional king bed in the aft slideout offers generous space for a restful sleep.
“At Fleetwood, we have a continued focus on designing unique floorplans that provide our customers with choices and allow them to fully enjoy their adventures on the road,” said Kyle McCrary, senior vice president, product planning and design, at Fleetwood RV. “An essential part of that process is listening to our customer’s needs and desires and then creating floor plans that are spacious, comfortable and modern.”
“With far more contemporary styling than other Class A Gas motorhomes, the affordable Southwind 34A and 36L models have inspiring design and décor,” stated Lenny Razo, director of sales for the Eastern Region at Fleetwood RV. “And, customers on the East coast have an opportunity to see the new Southwind at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show, Sept. 11-15 in Hershey, Pa.“
For more information about Fleetwood RV, its full-line of Class A and Class C recreational vehicle, or Fleetwood motorhomes on display at the Hershey RV Show, call (800) 322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Fleetwood RV Inc. and its luxury motorhome division American Coach will display more than 25 new 2014 models, including several exciting new floorplans at the upcoming Elkhart County RV Open House Sept. 17-19 in northern Indiana.
According to a press release, both brands will display models with entirely new interior and exterior décors for the 2014 model year. Fleetwood said new floorplans on display for the Excursion 33D, Southwind 34A and new Providence 42P are a “direct result of customer feedback and the company’s commitment to designing unique floorplans that offer customers more choices.”
“We’re always eager to showcase all our latest products, designs and floor plans,” said Kyle McCrary, senior vice president of product planning and design for Fleetwood RV and American Coach. “What you’ll see at this event is a culmination of our desire to create innovative designs that are well engineered, functional and beautifully designed inside and out.”
The display area will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located at the corner of County Road 6 and Frederic Drive in Elkhart. Visitors can enjoy a complimentary hot lunch served each day from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fleetwood RV executives and sales team members will be on hand to answer questions and talk with visitors and dealers.
For more information about Fleetwood RV or the Elkhart Open House display, call (260) 728-2121.
Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV Inc. announced the slate of activities and seminars scheduled for its 5th Annual Fleetwood RV National Rally, set to run Aug. 2-5 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.
New to this year’s event are guest appearances and seminars by Johnny Trigg from TLC’s television series BBQ Pitmasters. Rally attendees will have the opportunity to learn tips for barbecuing on-the-road from Trigg, a barbecue champion and reality TV star.
Also highlighting this year’s event is a list of new activities, tailored to a wide variety of RV lifestyle topics, including:
• “The RV Cooking Show” with Evanne Schmarder: Creating scrumptious hors d’oeuvre and salad recipes from a motorhome, Schmarder and her husband, Ray, have been on an adventure since 2000. Schmarder will be on hand at the event to teach attendees how to cook healthy and on a budget, all within the confines of a coach.
• “RV Basic Training” with Gary Lewis: Lewis will present his “Behind the Wheel Driving School” courses including the very popular “ladies only” confidence course. Attendees can learn how to safely and confidently drive their motorhome.
• Family activities include bingo, a sidewalk chalk contest, golf cart rodeo, ice cream social and a patriotic parade and picnic including the appearance of Richard Holmgren’s Flying Debris Show.
• Final evening entertainment will be hosted by famed comedian and singer/song-writer Jolly Demis. Demis has established a national reputation for his hilarious live performances, seamlessly weaving both music and comedy into his shows.
“Our incredibly loyal customers are a large part of our continued success, and this event brings Fleetwood owners together to enjoy the RV lifestyle,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “It is an exceptional opportunity for us to hear the voice of our customers, thank them for their loyalty and gather their valuable feedback.”
Fleetwood RV has partnered with the owner-operated organization, Fleetwood Motorhome Association (FMA), to promote the national rally. All Fleetwood and American Coach motorhome owners are welcome to attend the rally.
For more information about the rally, including how to register or to download a schedule of events, visit www.fleetwoodrv.com/mhevent. For information about FMA, including membership, visit www.fma4fun.org
Wakarusa, Ind., Town Manager Jeff Troxel and others had sounded curiously upbeat over the past two weeks that a company would step up and acquire the 150-acre campus that formerly housed motorhome operations for Navistar RV.
The property was placed on the market when Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc. (ASV), parent to motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. and a subsidiary of American Industrial Partners (AIP), purchased rights to Navistar Inc.’s RV assets on May 16. In the wake of the acquisition news, ASV announced that it would be relocating operations from Wakarusa to Fleetwood’s headquarters in Decatur, Ind., impacting some 520 workers involved in the production of Holiday Rambler and Monaco motorhomes.
Now Troxel’s confidence appears to have been well founded with Monday’s (June 3) announcement that Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. was purchasing the facility from ASV with initial plans to move at least part of the company’s Thor Motor Coach into the plant as well as paint operations to be overseen by Thor’s Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. division.
“This purchase marks an important step forward in the growth of our RV business,” stated Thor President and COO Bob Martin in a press release, noting that the facilities comprise nearly 1 million square feet of total production space. “With this new production complex, we will be better positioned to achieve our long-term strategic growth initiatives. Even more compelling, this purchase will allow us to expand capacity faster and at a lower cost than other options. We are excited about the future prospects of reinvigorating the Wakarusa facilities.”
John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV, noted that the company’s plan to consolidate motorhome production hinged on logistics.
“Our plan all along wasn’t necessarily to sell to Thor,” he said, noting that Fleetwood has around 1,000 employees in Decatur. “But our plan all along was that we didn’t need the production capacity. We didn’t want to run two buildings. We felt that the Decatur campus has plenty of upside and we have a work force there that is a known entity to us. And we also have a management team in place that is also a known entity to us. So, it made sense to get the brands relocated to the Decatur campus, and put the facility on the market.”
A key factor fueling hopes that a buyer would step forward was the overall health of the RV industry, as growing sales have pushed companies into expansion mode.
“We believe through our studies that the RV business is in a growth mode, and that there are capacity constraints, especially on the trailer side of the business,” Draheim said.
Wakarusa also represented a prime manufacturing location, offering room to expand along with 35 paint booths designed specifically for recreational vehicles.
“This is a massive manufacturing complex in Wakarusa, and the real sweet spot of that whole production facility is the paint facility,” Draheim said. “A lot of the manufacturers are going outside and having third parties do their paint work, which is expensive. It increases your working capital because you have excess WIP (work in process) in your operations. So, we felt that somebody out there would see the attraction because of the paint facility and also because we could expedite the sale because we’re a cash buyer.
“You know, we didn’t have to sell it fast, but we could. And AIP has made several other acquisitions where we’ve gone in and acquired a company, relocated the product to one of our facilities and then sold the real estate. So, they have a good track record of being able to do that.”
Draheim added that ASV will retain a very limited presence in Elkhart County, running towable operations out of a former Roadmaster chassis plant in Elkhart while also maintaining some offices at an unstated location in Wakarusa for engineering and product development.
“We will operate those offices for an extended period of time – for months if not years,” he said. “Employees include Monaco people plus some additional hires that have occurred since the acquisition of Navistar RV.”
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. recently announced a series of key organizational changes and additions to the Fleetwood RV and American Coach sales and product teams. According to a press release, these changes “support Fleetwood’s continued market expansion and product development.”
Kyle McCrary has been appointed to senior vice president of product planning and design. He will oversee all current and future product design for both Fleetwood RV and American Coach brands. This move formalizes the role of influence which McCrary already plays with the American Coach brand as it continues its resurgence in the marketplace. Product design will “play an increasingly vital role as the brand continues to expand and enhance its model lineup and offer some of the most luxurious motorhomes in the industry,” according to Fleetwood.
“Kyle has been instrumental in the success of the redesign and branding of the iconic American Coach brand,” stated John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “His forward-thinking coupled with his 27 years of RV experience make him a great asset to our company. Kyle will be very influential in the ongoing product design innovations for all Fleetwood RV products.”
Additionally, Matt McQuown joins the company as director of sourcing, bringing over 20 years of procurement experience to the Fleetwood team. McQuown will apply his extensive supply chain and commodity expertise as he leads the strategic sourcing team and establishes processes. He will be based out of the Decatur manufacturing facility.
Other appointments include:
• Dave Denarola has been appointed director of sales, Western region and Lenny Razo is now director of sales for the Eastern region, equally focusing on Fleetwood RV and American Coach product lines. Both will report directly to Draheim and will handle strategic sales planning and management of all sales operations and activities for their respective sales regions.
• Tim Schulyer joins the American Coach sales team as a district sales manager, Eastern region, reporting directly to Razo. He will be responsible for the sales activities of the American Coach product line in all areas of the United States east of the Mississippi River and Eastern Canada. Schuyler brings a wealth of knowledge to his position with more than 15 years of RV industry experience, which includes holding positions at the retail level in sales and management.
• Jeff Gibson comes to Fleetwood RV as district manager to its Western region sales team. He brings a wealth of knowledge to his position with more than 20 years in the RV industry, including both wholesale and retail experience and in the rental segment. Gibson will be responsible for the sales activities in the key California and Mountain states area.
Draheim noted, “These organizational changes more closely align Fleetwood RV’s structure with our strategy and commitment to innovation, design and to provide a strong value proposition to our dealer network and retail customers.”
Fleetwood RV Inc. recently received the “Large Business of the Year” Award from the Chamber of Commerce in Decatur, Ind., where the motorhome manufacturer is headquartered.
According to a press release, the award is presented annually to a business that has more than 25 employees and has demonstrated “apparent, consistent success as well as good corporate citizenry.” The business must show a concern for the well-being of the community and have management and personnel who actively participate in civic organizations or community activities.
“We are very much honored to have received this distinguished award from the Decatur Chamber of Commerce,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “The Decatur community and its local businesses have been an essential part of our success, and we sincerely thank them for that.”
Draheim said that Fleetwood RV has experienced a major transformation over the last few years, today employing 950 people. The local work force as well as the community played a critical role in the company’s decision to locate in Decatur.
Fleetwood RV Inc. announced the 5th Annual Fleetwood RV National Rally, “Rocky Mountain High,” will be held at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Aug. 2-6, according to a press release.
“We’re excited and looking forward to our 5th Annual National Rally in Colorado,” stated John Draheim, president and CEO of the Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder. “This event is open to all Fleetwood RV and American Coach owners – regardless of brand – and is a great opportunity for fostering open dialogue regarding their insights and product needs while cultivating deeper bonds with our customers. We recognize the value of listening to our customers and meeting their needs through our innovative products and services.”
Event highlights include:
• Musical entertainment from Ted Vigil (a tribute to John Denver) joining John Denver’s original lead guitarist Steve Weisberg.
• Daily driving seminars conducted by Gary Lewis from RV Basic Training LLC.
For more information about the “Rocky Mountain High” national rally or to register, visit www.fleetwoodrv.com/mhevent.
Fleetwood RV Inc. and its American Coach luxury diesel-pusher division will be featured on HGTV’s “RV 2013,” scheduled to run Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. (EST and PST).
According to a press release, “RV 2013″ features HGTV’s host, Brandon Johnson, as he leads families on a shopping trip searching for their perfect RV at America’s Largest RV Show, held in Hershey, Pa.
Fleetwood’s top Class A models, the Excursion 35B and the Discovery 40E, along with its popular Class C model, the Jamboree Sport 28Z, will be the highlighted throughout the program. American Coach also received recognition for the 2013 American Heritage, featuring a gourmet galley and lavish amenities.
“We’re pleased to be included in HGTV’s ‘RV 2013’ program,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “This recognition reinforces our commitment to listening to our customers and creating designs that inspire and lead the industry in innovation, quality and value.”