The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council’s (IMHA-RVIC) annual Fall Campground Meeting & Tour at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind., Sept. 24 included a keynote address on best practices and ways to increase ancillary income by Kelly Jones, director of franchisee development for Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI).
LSI, headquartered in Milford, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb, markets the Jellystone name to franchised park operators.
Detailed updates and discussion on IMHA-RVIC marketing, website, social media networking and RV show opportunities were given by Mike Dukehart, the trade association’s marketing coordinator, and Matt Rose, director of recreation vehicles for RVIC.
Jeff Sims, national director of state relations and program advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), also participated in the meeting via video conference to give an update on member benefits, resources on the ARVC.org website, new educational opportunities and current legislative issues.
However, legislative issues were the hot topic of the day, as the open forum discussion led by IMHA-RVIC Executive Director Mark Bowersox consisted almost entirely of campground owners’ questions and concerns on that subject. Attendees asked about regulations they’ve been wrestling with at their parks and continued discussion on topics introduced by Sims, particularly rumblings of guidelines being developed for ADA-compliant campsites.
Bowersox acknowledged the impact of changing and increasing regulations on campground owners and the resulting confusion and sense of unease, noting that the parameters of ADA-compliant pool areas are still not entirely defined — even though the compliance deadline has already come and gone.
“The federal government has a way of telling you that you have to comply by this date, but not telling you what the rules are until much later,” Bowersox said. “That’s one of these issues where they’re still clarifying and revising things, and it’s a bit unclear exactly what you’re supposed to comply with.”
Following the discussion, attendees were given lunch and a tour of the campground by its founder and Chairman, Roger Barry, and Leon Rogers, general manager.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) announced the appointment of Matt Rose as director of recreation vehicles.
According to a press release, Rose’s responsibilities will include coordination and promotion of RV and camping shows, new membership growth and sponsorship opportunities for the association and its events.
“Matt brings a vast amount of experience and skills with him to our organization,” said IMHA-RVIC Executive Director Mark Bowersox. “His marketing and hospitality background will help to grow our membership and strengthen our RV shows and other events.”
A native Hoosier, Rose brings 20 years in the hospitality industry to his position with IMHA-RVIC, most recently serving as director of sales and marketing at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind. His background includes sales and coordination of trade shows and special events, business to business sales, marketing and event promotion. Rose, 43, earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.
In other news, IMHA-RVIC will host the Valley RV & Camping Show Jan. 18-20 at the Century Center. According to Rose, the event will feature more than 70 RVs on display along with several campgrounds exhibiting. For more information visit www.rvshows.org.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) will be hosting the Bob Young Sr. Annual Golf Outing June 13 at the Bear Slide golf course in Cicero, Ind.
According to a press release, the event benefits the IMHA-RVIC PAC Fund designed to help increase the RV and MH industries’ influence with state officials.
The annual golf outing is IMHA-RVIC’s primary fundraiser for the PAC fund. The PAC fund is an “essential tool to protect and promote our industries and is more necessary now than ever before,” according to the release.
IMHA-RVIC reported that in the past year several bills were proposed that would have negatively impacted the industries. Through funding from the PAC, IMHA-RVIC association’s staff and governmental representatives were able to keep these proposals from becoming law.
The Bear Slide course earned 4 ½ starts from Golf Digest and ranks among the top 10 courses in the state. Bear Slide is centrally located in Cicero and a 10 a.m. shotgun start makes it easy for players to make it to the course from anywhere in the state.
There will be door prizes along with food and drinks. To register, call IMHA-RVIC at 317-247-6258.
Despite economic headwinds and ongoing political turmoil, Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) President Gregg Pardieck assured around 60 association members at the organization’s annual meeting that the two industries maintained a steady course during the past year.
“International financial crisis and national political unrest have caused uneasiness and volatility in the stock markets, shaken consumer confidence and tightened credit markets,” Pardieck said during the Oct. 19 gathering at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. “Fortunately our association represents two resilient industries. Even in the midst of uncertain markets, the word that best describes our industries and our association this year is stable.”
Pardieck emphasized that “the single most important thing your association does is work with Indiana’s administrative and elected officials to protect our industries.” He said that despite the effects of a historic five-week walkout in the Indiana House of Representatives, the past year yielded several positive actions on behalf of the manufactured housing and RV industries, including:
• The 2011 session reduced the corporate income tax rate (HB 1004) from 8.5% to 6.5%. “This is welcome news to our members as Indiana had one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the nation,” Pardieck stated. The reduction will be phased in over four years.
• The legislature passed a workable illegal immigration bill (SB 590). The measure attempts to determine legal status of immigrants but “does not aggressively overreach,” according to Pardieck, noting that a three strikes provision that could have resulted in a company losing its operating license or permits was amended out of the bill.
• IMHA-RVIC pursued possible remedies to the federal SAFE Act through both state legislative and administrative action. Discussions on potential legislative amendments led to an ongoing series of meetings with the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). IMHA-RVIC are continuing to work with DFI to interpret key phrases in HUD’s SAFE Act final rule.
• House Bill 1453 was successfully defeated, partially due to a provision that would have required anyone selling at least five vehicles each year to become a dealer. The existing law requires only those who sell at least 12 vehicles for delivery in Indiana to become a dealer and the proposed change became problematic for the bill.
• HB 1269 was also defeated, which would have revised the recreational vehicle excise tax on units in the RV category that are permanently located in Indiana campgrounds but not registered under the motor vehicle laws of any state. The bill would have applied the same tax and depreciation schedule to those units that currently apply to units registered in Indiana.
Pardiek said that IMHA-RVIC was also continuing to monitor action by the Indiana Department of Health to expand its Healthy Homes program to include issues such as mold, pests, radon and formaldehyde. RVs and manufactured housing would be included in the legislation.
“At the request of a state lawmaker we recently brought a selection of RVs to the Indiana statehouse to show our products to the state’s highest elected officials,” he said. “In addition to the legislature and elected officials we are actively working with numerous state agencies throughout the year.”
Jeff Sims, director of membership and public affairs for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), also addressed attendees that included 16 representatives from Indiana campgrounds.
”I had a very productive meeting with the Indiana folks,” said Sims. “There were questions about evictions, senior-only parks, long-term storage and ADA guidelines for chair lifts in pools.”
Sims said ARVC is developing a national database on local issues so that campground owners can understand how specific issues are being handled in the various states.
Of particular interest on the Indiana association’s two websites — campindiana.org and indianarvlifestyle.com — are pending changes in ARVC’s gocampingamerica.com web portal. Both are being more closely tied to the ARVC’s website, said IMHA-RVIC Executive Director Mark Bowersox said.
On the Indiana sites, RVIC has taken over responsibility to keep up to date the campground web pages it hosts, Bowersox said, while ARVC’s site, which is undergoing an upgrade, will allow campground owners throughout the nation to upgrade their own information.
”Before, I think it’s been very cumbersome for them to get that information updated,” Sims said. ”The new system will be simple and campground owners will be able to upgrade their information directly.”
IMHA-RVIC will elect new officers during a Dec. 9 meeting in Indianapolis.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association- Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) will be holding its annual meeting Oct. 19.
The luncheon session is scheduled for noon at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. IMHA-RVIC President Gregg Pardieck will update members on association activities and accomplishments of 2011.
Lunch is included with all registrations for the annual meeting. Click here for details and registration information.
IMHA-RVIC will also be holding the MH Community Power Symposium and its IMHA-RVIC Annual Campground Meeting & Tour in conjunction with the meeting. Click here for details on those events.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) is readying for the 2011 Elkhart County Supplier Expo, set to run June 23 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
According to a press release, the event will feature 35 exhibit booths from 27 suppliers at the facility, situated along the Indiana Toll Road on the north side of Elkhart.
Geared toward purchasing agents and engineers for manufacturing companies, the exhibitors are largely from the Elkhart County area, but IMHA-RVIC noted that “some come from as far away as Canada to market their products.”
The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a reception sponsored by the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County from 5-7 pm. Admission to the event is free and no RSVP is necessary.
For more information, call 317-247-6258, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.imharvic.org. This event is presented by the 65-year-old nonprofit trade association dedicated to the promotion, protection and education of Indiana’s manufactured housing and recreation vehicle industries.
Space is selling fast for the first-ever Elkhart County Supplier Expo, scheduled for July 27 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. More than half of the 50 booth spaces have already been reserved, according to a press release.
The event is sponsored by the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC).
This event is an opportunity for suppliers from many industries to display their company, products and services to a variety of OEMs in their market area. IMHA-RVIC is promoting this event to purchasing agents, engineers and top-line officials in the RV, manufactured housing, auto, marine, bus, specialty vehicle and agricultural industries and others.
Seminars include “Business Development Opportunities through NCI,” “Opportunities for Suppliers in the Green Economy” and “Finding Our Way to Green – Sustainable Business Development.”
The event will include a reception sponsored by the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp.
In other IMHA-RVIC news:
- The Elkhart City Council approved a request from Mayor Dick Moore to partner with RVIC on promoting the Midwest Show in the RV Capital in August. This support will allow the association to increase the show’s advertising budget to more than $80,000, while at the same time lowering the square footage cost for dealers. The show will be held in Aug. 13-15 in downtown Elkhart. The space selection drawing will be held June 30. Contact Mark Bowersox at email@example.com for more information.
- Members and their guests gathered at Ironwood Golf Club on June 16th for the annual Bob Young Sr. Annual Golf Outing to benefit the IMHA-RVIC PAC Fund. The golfers raised over $2,000 for the PAC Fund and enjoyed beautiful weather, great golf and friends. The Mount Comfort RV team of Ken Eckstein, Pat Starling, Kerry Christian and Stan Bryant earned the title of “Most Honest Team.”
- The association also reported the passing of three industry members. Jim N. Boyts died June 12 at his home in Hesston, Kan. Boyts served on the IMHA Board in the 1980s and worked most of his career for Skyline Corp. in Elkhart. Jim is slated to be inducted into the RV and Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame on August 2 of this year. Holiday World president and co-owner, Will Koch passed away at his home on June 13. Koch, who with his mother, Pat, was the face of Holiday World & Splashing Safari. The park and campground was founded by his grandfather, Louis Koch. Emma Stinnett, mother of former IMHA-RVIC Board member and former RVDA Chairman Tom Stinnett, has passed away. Funeral services were held Wednesday, June 16.
- Two former members, South Bend East KOA Kampground in Granger, and RV manufacturer Trophy Homes Inc. in Elkhart, have rejoined the association.
Editor’s Note: Officials in Indiana’s Elkhart County were working this week to bring Mike Huckabee’s show, which airs Saturday night on the Fox News Channel, to Elkhart this week. Plans call for the show to be taped Saturday afternoon at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The former Arkansas governor made an unsuccessful run to win the Republican nomination for president last year.
A leading official in Elkhart County, Ind., is lobbying state and federal legislators to target some of the federal economic stimulus money to complete work on the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart.
John Letherman, president of the Elkhart County Council, told RVBusiness that completing the conference center and showcase grounds at the Hall is on a “wish list” of 13 projects submitted to the state of Indiana in the last month and No. 4 on his personal wish list.
Private funding through the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc. got the Hall of Fame to its present state but further funding is drying up, leaving work on completion of the conference center, kitchen and 20-acre business showcase still on the drawing board. Cost to complete the facility is estimated at $10 million to $12 million.
Letherman has been lobbying Hoosier Congressmen Joe Donnelly and Mark Souder, whose congressional districts include Elkhart County, for a share of the $787 billion economic stimulus package President Obama signed into law on Feb. 17.
No funds have come Elkhart’s way thus far, but Letherman is still hopeful.
“If they are passing out money, we should be getting a large share because the New York Times says we’re ‘at the white hot epicenter of the recession’ and everyone knows the New York Times doesn’t lie,” he said. “Congress gave huge loans to the auto companies and they are still in business. Nobody gave anything to Elkhart County RV manufacturers and we lost a huge part of our business base because when sales slowed they just shut down and many went out of business.
“The fastest way to get back is to start selling RVs and getting them financed.”
Letherman, a prominent Republican at the local and state level, said he can make a persuasive argument why the community deserves the money for this and other capital improvement projects. He favors the Hall project because work to complete it could put hundreds of people to work and, once completed, the facility would give the RV industry an excellent venue to showcase its products.
“I know some people may think producing a venue is less important than taking care of unemployed people, but the best way to get people back to work is to start selling RVs again,” Letherman reiterated. “If we create a good venue to showcase RVs and a conference center where 1,000 people can sit down to eat, neither of which we have now, this will be good for Elkhart County in the long-term.”
A leading Midwestern caterer told the Hall of Fame staff that a facility able to seat 1,000 people for a meal could draw as many as 20 functions within the first year of operation.
Letherman, formerly employed in the RV industry but now a commercial realtor in Elkhart, said the finished Hall of Fame site would be an excellent location for the annual Midwest RV Show sponsored by the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC). That show is currently staged at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.
“Those guys who are still in business when this (recession) is all over with are going to need a venue to show their products, other than in the field behind the animal pens at the fairgrounds,” Letherman said. “The fairgrounds are a great place for 4-H projects and a midway. However, it is just not in my mind a proper place to be trying to showcase the outstanding RV and MH products that Elkhart County.”
Dennis Harney, IMHA-RVIC executive director, agreed that the completed Hall of Fame grounds would be a good venue for the Midwest Show and other manufacturer events.
Letherman said the Hall of Fame complex could broaden its appeal and become an “industrial showcase” for the region.
“There are people in Detroit who would like to bring shows down here because there are few venues with this kind of quality and exposure,” Letherman said. It also would help the community retain some of the business and social events that end up going to other communities because Elkhart County does not have a suitable facility, he added.
Letherman noted that Elkhart County government is known for being frugal in its spending.
“Both local government and the Hall of Fame know how to do a big project like this,” Letherman said, referring to careful spending on big projects. “The Hall, for its part, has raised almost $12 million and has built the finest facility in the Elkhart County Community, all with donated funds.”
Letherman has run his proposal by the Hall of Fame management and received its support. Heritage Foundation spokesman Tom McNulty called Letherman “a champion of the Hall” since before it opened and praised his efforts to get funding. However, he stressed that the foundation will not undertake partial completion of the conference center and won’t finish the show grounds until the money is in hand.
“My board has mandated we are not building anything until we have the money and that is how it should be,” he said.
Also, knowing where to go to get the economic stimulus funding could prove problematic.
“All of the stimulus money is being channeled through federal agencies or the state,” explained Tom Byers, Elkhart County administrator. “Nobody knows what the rules and regulations in getting access to these funds are. The criteria are being put together now.”