Editor’s Note: The following is a column penned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Chairman Gregg Fore and published in the latest issue of RVIA Today outlining the highlights Committee Week June 10-14 in Washington, D.C.
Summer is nearly here and the RV season is in full swing! Our customers are out in force across North America using their vehicles, enjoying the lifestyle, making new friends, and living life to the fullest.
Meanwhile, the RV industry steadily continues to gain ground with shipments up nearly 10% through the first quarter of 2011. Buoyed by this momentum, our manufacturing members are in the process of introducing their new model year lineups; our dealer partners are trying to manage the process of selling down inventories and restocking with new models; and, suppliers are seeing their new products being used in new model year vehicles and working to maintain volumes.
As we approach mid-year, RVIA is readying for this year’s Committee Week to be held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., from June 10–14. Without question, Committee Week is one of the most important weeks on the RVIA calendar every year. The association’s committees meet to review information, set agendas and begin preparations for the next fiscal year so that budgets and priorities can be reviewed and approved. This one event includes more member personnel working on industry issues
that any other RVIA event except the National RV Trade Show.
While the activity level is always intense at Committee Week, it promises to be especially busy this year as we have newly-formed committees and added issues to contend with at the event. Formed last year, the Canadian Coalition Committee continues its work toward a more unified North American RV industry by finding ways to ease the export/import of RVs to our Canadian counterparts. From transportation, import and standards issues, this has proved to be a complex problem requiring attention from both U.S. and Canadian members and associations.
With RVIA’s ongoing interest in developing the Chinese RV market and the recent announcement that the association plans to open an office in China, it will be important that our involved committees
and members give careful consideration to this issue during Committee Week to insure that this landmark venture gets off to a solid start.
The recent addition of park trailer manufacturers to RVIA’s membership will result in a new focus by the entire association on a myriad of issues important to this manufacturing segment, including destination camping initiatives. This includes the formation of the Park Trailer Committee and Destination Camping
Committee to help guide these activities. Additionally, Matt Wald was recently appointed park trailer executive director and will be instrumental in leading our efforts in this area.
While on the topic of park trailers, I want to welcome all park trailer manufactures who have chosen to join RVIA. Over recent years both the traditional RV and the park trailer industries have changed as has the market for our combined products. For the health of all vehicle manufacturers and dealers, it only makes sense today that we are all working together under one umbrella to further strengthen our businesses.
Lastly, I want to comment on the 2nd World RV Conference, being hosted by RVIA in conjunction with the Florida RV SuperShow from January 17-20 in Tampa, Fla. With the RV industry continuing to become much more globally focused, this will be a significant event that is important not only for U.S. based companies, but for RV manufacturers and suppliers across the world.
In late April, RVIA started taking electronic registration for the World RV Conference. I encourage you to be on hand for this valuable event and to complete your registration as soon as possible.
As always, I want to thank all of you who continue to volunteer your time and the time of your staff to work with others in the association. Your involvement is what makes RVIA successful and what helps make our industry strong.
I hope to see you at Committee Week! Feel free to contact me at any time if I can be of any assistance relative to RVIA matters.
The Dicor Corp. of Elkhart, Ind., was among 43 companies feted at a special award ceremony yesterday (Aug. 25) evening for being named an Indiana “Company to Watch” for 2011. The Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis was the setting for the banquet and accolades.
The honor was presented by the Indiana Development Corp., its Small Business Center network, Purdue University and the Edward Lowe Foundation. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was present to offer his remarks, which were earlier summed up by Mitch Roob, secretary of commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Association. “These ‘Companies to Watch’ are among the firms fostering Indiana’s economic growth. This group deserves our congratulations and our thanks for helping to make Indiana a great state for business,” said Roob.
A special video presentation featured representatives from 10 of the winning companies, including Gregg Fore, president of the Dicor Corp. The executives commented on their success as an Indiana company, with a definite eye on business growth and accompanying job creation.
Fore also represented Dicor Corp. as one of four award recipients to participate in a roundtable discussion about growing a successful business in the state, and what makes a company one to watch. The discussion appears in the September-October issue of BizVoice magazine, which is being distributed to 15,000 Indiana chamber members and others in the business community.
The 43 selected companies for 2011 are projected to have combined revenues in excess of $600 million, while adding more than 550 new jobs this year. These projections are up more than $100 million or 33 percent from 2010,
“This is a good way to recognize what growing companies are doing here in Indiana. For Dicor Corporation, this is a great honor for the special team we have established — we accept this honor on behalf of all our employees,” said Fore, who was present along with six members of the Dicor leadership team.
The Dicor Corp. is a major, long-time supplier to the RV industry through its affiliated companies: Dicor Products, Seal Design, United Shade and Vixen Composites. An affiliate of United Shade, Window Expressions also serves the residential and commercial construction markets. Although selling a wide range of products, all of the Dicor Corporation companies thrive as customer-driven and focused on simplicity, innovation and customer confidence in whatever they sell. For more information, visit www.dicor.com.
Gregg Fore, Dicor Corp. president, was elected chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) during the RVIA’s two-day board meeting earlier this week in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fore’s term in office begins Oct. 1. He succeeds Jim Sheldon, Monaco RV LLC executive.
Fore previously held the office of first vice chairman on the Executive Committee. In addition, he chaired the Strategic Planning Committee and has chaired the Standards Steering Committee.
Other board matters included discussion and passage of the 2011 budget and other officer elections. These decisions will be announced at a later date.
Vixen Composites LLC, a sister company to privately held Dicor Corp., Elkhart, Ind., plans to start manufacturing lightweight composite side panels and structural components for the RV and other industries by the end of summer.
“Our intent was to determine if we could scale up technology to a size that had applications in not only the RV industry but other markets that use similar structural and aesthetic components,” said Dicor President Gregg Fore, who also is president of Vixen.
Vixen last week received $224,000 in property tax abatement over five years from the Elkhart City Council. Approval of the tax abatement also made Vixen eligible for $320,000 in state incentives, including tax credits and training grants.
Vixen, which will occupy a vacant industrial building on Elkhart’s northwest side, will employ 34 people by 2012 after $6.1 million in equipment is installed later this year.
“It’s all about being lightweight,” Fore told RVBUSINESS.com. “The target was to be 10% lighter than current product that is being used. On wall panels, we’ve exceeded that target.”
He said Vixen sidewalls will be marketed to RV manufacturers and others that make high-gloss finished products.
“The same basic product that can be produced off this equipment has applications in the marine industry, step van and commercial truck markets and the military,” Fore said. “The common denominator is that it’s a lightweight structural product that has no wood, will not absorb water and will not mold. It fits a lot of applications because of that. There are identifiable differences between this product and what other products do.”
Installation of equipment will be completed by the end of the second quarter.
“It is primarily existing technology that has been scaled to a size with some new technology mixed in,” Fore said. “We don’t know that any company anywhere is producing it on this scale. If we had found someone who was, we would have bought the company.”
Dicor is a supplier of synthetic roofing and related components to the RV industry in addition to decorative wheel covers. Another “associated” company, United Shade LLC, manufactures and distributes interior window coverings to the RV industry while another company, Alta Resources LLC, markets windshield wipers for the construction and agricultural markets along with remote motor controls.
Yet anothr Dicor-assocated firm, Seal Design LLC, designs and distributes a wide variety of sealant products to the step van and RV builders.
All Dicor-affiliated companies are located in Elkhart.
“If you look at our products, you don’t see a lot of them that are related,” said Fore, who is on track to become chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in October. “We look for opportunities in markets that we understand and then find the right people and partners to move ahead.”