Goshen, Ind.-based supplier Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that its founder, Larry Lippert, will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., on Aug. 5 at the annual Heritage Foundation Induction Dinner.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Lippert returned home with little money and no formal education. After two years at Redman Industries, Larry founded Lippert Components in 1956 in a small facility in Alma, Mich., first supplying to the manufactured housing industry with aluminum and steel roofing.
In 1959, he began LCI’s chassis and chassis parts business. The company enjoyed steady growth until Lippert’s retirement in 1977 when he handed the reins to his son, L. Douglas Lippert. Today, as part of Drew Industries Inc., LCI is one of the largest suppliers to the mobile home and recreational vehicle industries, employing more than 5,100 people in 11 states.
Lippert’s grandson, Jason, currently serves as CEO of LCI and could not be more proud of his grandfather and the legacy he left behind.
“I am very thankful to the Hall of Fame for selecting my grandfather – he is great man and so very worthy of this honor,” said Jason Lippert. “It means a lot not only to me and my family and those inside and outside the industry who know my grandpa, but also to the employees of our company that its founder is being recognized for the mark he left on this industry. I have always looked up to my grandfather and father as mentors and on behalf of the entire team here at Lippert, I can say that we are truly proud to be serving out the legacy 57 years after he founded this company.”
Lippert, 87, still lives with his wife of 66 years, Dorothy, in Alma. At the RV/MH Hall of Fame induction ceremony, his extraordinary family will surround him, including his two sons, six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Commenting on the upcoming event, Larry Lippert said, “While I certainly appreciate this recognition, it is the employees who make up the company. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved with LCI from the very beginning and helped me to make it a success. Without these folks, none of this would be possible.”
Goshen, Ind.-based supplier Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) will have two of its products for recreational vehicles featured on the Speed Channel’s popular “Truck U” program in March and April, according to a press release.
A how-to show dedicated to all things related to trucks, 4x4s and SUVs, “Truck U” follows monster-truck expert Matt Steele and master mechanic Bruno Massel as they tackle hands-on projects crucial to serious off-roading and truck performance.
LCI’s Level Up hydraulic automatic leveling system for RVs and the Correct Track trailer alignment system will be featured on Speed Channel’s “Truck U” episode No. 902 on the following dates:
Saturday, March 9, 8 a.m.
Sunday, March 10, 8:30 a.m.
Friday, March 29, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20, 8 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, 8:30 a.m.
Friday, April 26, 10:30 a.m.
Level Up is a six-point hydraulic automatic leveling system that comes standard, or as an option, on more than two-dozen RV brands. The system levels an RV in less than a minute using a one touch auto-leveling feature, and includes an auto re-hitch memory function that remembers the exact height at which the coach was unhitched.
Correct Track trailer alignment systems are designed to allow OEMs, dealers and consumers to correct the alignment of an RV or trailer. Correct Track can be installed on any RV or trailer that has spring axles, including travel trailer and fifth-wheel RVs, and horse, cargo and specialty trailers.
Episodes and more information about the “Truck U” program on the Speed Channel are available at www.truckutv.com.
The Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, Ind., is preparing for its annual Bids for Kids dinner and auction fundraiser on May 4, and it’s looking to the local RV industry to once again make it a success.
Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components Inc., Elkhart, Ind., and chairman of the Boys & Girls Club board, has increasingly led other RV industry members to support and attend the event in recent years.
“We have general managers and owners from maybe 70% of RV companies around here who attend the event, participate, help or sponsor in one way or another,” said Michilah Miller, Boys & Girls Club director of resource development and stewardship. “Jason’s been on the board for six years; he and Lippert Components have kind of taken over and run with this event. They’ve done a great job of getting the whole RV industry involved. It’s definitely gotten much larger since he came on board.”
Four years ago, the Boys & Girls Club moved the auction to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart. “We had to move it out there because it’s grown so much, and there’s not really a place in Goshen that will fit it anymore,” Miller explained. “The Hall is amazing to work with. They help us out every year.”
Like last year, there are a number of live-auction items, including guided private fishing trips, tickets to “Saturday Night Live” and a private jet trip to Nashville for a concert. “We’ll have lots of different fun and exciting things,” she said, including a tailgate theme with sports-apparel dress code and catering provided by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Miller reported that many kids who use the Boys & Girls Club in Goshen come from families with ties to the RV industry and appreciate what industry members do for them at this fundraiser. “When they come in and they see what their parents’ companies are doing for them, it’s just really neat,” she said.
The Boys & Girls Club of Goshen serves school-age youth ages 6 through 18, with approximately 350 children attending programs and activities each day. Beyond offering youth development programming in five core areas — health and life skills, education and career development, character and leadership development, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation — the club offers a wide variety of other fun-filled activities to its members. Nutritious afterschool snacks and dinners are also available to all club members each day.
For those who are unable to attend the fundraiser, support is welcomed in other forms. “If companies can’t come to the auction or aren’t here in the area, we do have many different sponsorship opportunities and are still accepting donations for the auction,” said Miller. “There are plenty of ways people can get involved.”
Presenting sponsors are Lippert Components, Consolidated Metals, Ruth’s Chris Steak House Inc., Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co., Wildman Business Group, Standard Industrial, Lakota, and Patrick Industries Inc., along with other sponsors.
“All of the sponsors, donors and bidders allow us to continue to provide a safe place for children to learn and grow,” Miller stated. “We could never thank them enough for supporting the 1,100 children who flood our doors every year.”
For tickets or information on sponsorship and donations, contact Michilah Miller at (574) 533-4793, ext. 111, or firstname.lastname@example.org; or, send checks for event tickets ($100 per seat) to Boys and Girls Club of Goshen – Bids for Kids, P.O. Box 614, Goshen, Ind., 46527.
Drew Industries Inc., parent to industry suppliers Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., today (Feb. 20) reported record revenue for its full year, ended Dec. 31, boosted by a 25% increase in fourth-quarter sales and strong performance from its RV segment.
The White Plains, N.Y-based company, which recently announced a realignment in upper management and the relocation of its headquarters to Elkhart, Ind., reported net income of $4.7 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in its fourth quarter compared to $4.1 million the year prior. The company noted that earnings included a previously announced after-tax charge of $0.9 million in connection with executive succession.
Sales in the fourth quarter increased to $200 million, 25% higher than last year, as a result of a 31% sales increase by the RV segment. This segment accounted for 86% of consolidated net sales in the quarter. RV segment sales growth was largely due to a 21% increase in industrywide wholesale shipments of travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Drew’s primary RV market. Sales of recently introduced RV products and motorhome components also increased, as did sales to adjacent industries.
Drew reported that in January 2013, consolidated net sales reached approximately $85 million, 28% higher than in January 2012, as a result of continued solid growth in the company’s RV segment. Drew estimates that industrywide production of towable RVs increased about 20% in January 2013.
Net sales for the year increased by $220 million to a record $901 million. Acquisitions added approximately $60 million to 2012 net sales. Sales growth in new markets and new products were also key factors enabling Drew’s sales to exceed industry growth rates. Key additions to the company’s RV product lines in recent years include advanced leveling devices, in-wall slide-out systems and awnings. Together, net sales of these products reached $65 million in 2012.
For the full year, Drew’s net income increased to $37.3 million, or $1.64 per diluted share, up from net income of $30.1 million, or $1.34 per diluted share, in 2011. Excluding charges related to executive succession, net income would have been $38.3 million in 2012, or $1.68 per diluted share.
The company’s content per travel trailer and fifth-wheel in 2012 increased by $365 to $2,713, or 16% greater than in 2011. Content per motorhome RV reached $1,071 in 2012, an increase of 68% over 2011.
“Our solid sales gains, along with favorable RV industry fundamentals, are encouraging,” said Fred Zinn, Drew’s president and CEO. “In the 2012 fourth quarter our operating profit margin before executive succession charges, while higher than last year, did not improve enough. Labor efficiencies improved at several key production facilities. However, this improvement was offset by the cost of implementing facility consolidations and improving production processes, as well as refinements to the calculation of our warranty accrual, and other transitory cost increases. We are confident in our ability to achieve profit improvement, particularly in the second half of 2013, as these costs return to more normal levels, and as the bottom-line impact of the efficiency improvements that have been implemented gains momentum.”
“The steps we have taken are enabling our production lines to be more efficient,” said Jason Lippert, currently CEO of Lippert Components and Kinro who will will take over as CEO of Drew in May while Scott Mereness will serve as president. “During the quarter we consolidated and realigned production of several key product lines, including furniture, manufactured housing and RV windows, chassis and thermoforming, and continued to benefit from and expand our lean manufacturing initiatives. While these efforts cost us $2 million in the 2012 fourth quarter, they are continuing to make us more efficient. Also, in the 2012 fourth quarter we retained more of our seasonal workforce than typical, ending the year with 5,200 employees. We spent the last 12 months building and training our workforce, so that we can minimize hiring and training costs as demand ramps up in early 2013.”
Drew will provide an online, real-time webcast of its fourth quarter 2012 earnings conference call on the company’s website, www.drewindustries.com, today at 11 a.m. Eastern. The call can also be accessed at www.companyboardroom.com.
To view the full report click here.
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) reports growing use of its bonded, frameless windows in travel trailer and fifth-wheel recreational vehicle designs during the last 12 months.
“It’s all about styling with this product line,” said LCI Vice President of Sales Andy Murray in a press release. “Bonded frameless windows create a cleaner, more automotive look and cleaner lines on the outside of the RV while streamlining the sidewall.”
“Initially, the product was a high-end feature, but now it’s used on mid-priced products, and more and more on motorized products,” continued Murray. “In order to support this growing trend, LCI has made significant investments in people, facilities and equipment over the past 12 months.”
Murray said that Lippert dedicated a 130,000-square-foot to frameless window production, which will include its own in-house glass processing and tempering operation.
“It’s the first if its kind in our industry,” he said.
In addition to travel trailer and fifth-wheel RV windows, LCI’s window products include:
• Truck cap windows.
• Bus windows, including activity bus windows, egress activity bus windows, and electronic switch windows.
• Cargo trailer windows.
• Horse trailer windows including drop down feed windows, drop down insert windows, side slider windows, and living quarter windows.
• Commercial vehicle windows.
Drew Industries Inc. announced today (Feb. 12) that President and CEO Fred Zinn will retire, effective May 10. Jason Lippert, who currently serves as chairman and CEO of subsidiaries Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., will take over as CEO of Drew while Scott Mereness will serve as president and COO.
According to a news release, this transition is the result of a comprehensive succession process initiated by Drew’s board in 2011.
Drew also announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from White Plains, N.Y., to Elkhart County, Ind. – the location of the corporate headquarters for Lippert and Kinro, and where more than 80% of all RVs produced in the U.S. are manufactured.
The company said that consolidating Drew’s corporate functions with its Indiana-based manufacturing operations will be “both cost-effective and result in an even greater exchange of ideas and expertise between Drew’s management team and executives across the RV and manufactured housing industries.”
Zinn, who will turn 62 in March, has been an executive officer since 1986, serving as president and a director since 2008 and as CEO since 2009. While Zinn will not stand for re-election as a director, he will serve as a consultant to Drew through 2013.
Lippert, 40, has served as chairman and CEO of Lippert Components and Kinro, and as a director of Drew, for the past six years, and will continue in these positions. Lippert has held various executive positions at Lippert Components and Kinro since 1998.
Mereness, 41, will continue to serve as president of Lippert and Kinro, as he has since 2010, while assuming his new duties with Drew. He has held various executive positions at Lippert and Kinro since 2001.
Chairman Leigh J. Abrams stated, “Fred has been Drew’s CEO through very challenging times, including the ‘Great Recession,’ and he has helped guide our strong growth that followed. In the past four years, Drew has generated over $200 million in operating cash flow, enabling the company to complete 13 acquisitions, pay nearly $80 million in special dividends to stockholders, and still close 2012 with no debt. The board is grateful for the substantial contributions Fred has made to Drew for more than 30 years, first as CFO and then during his distinguished tenure as CEO and a director.”
Abrams continued, “This carefully conceived leadership transition brings Jason Lippert and Scott Mereness to Drew’s top executive positions. Both these executives are highly experienced, and they have the vision, energy and ability to lead the company through its next phase of growth.”
Zinn stated, “I have been privileged and proud to work for this vibrant company. After more than three decades with Drew Industries, it’s time to transfer Drew’s executive responsibilities to a new generation. Jason is an exceptionally talented leader, and he has been key to the company’s success. Since he assumed an executive role more than a decade ago, Drew’s market share has grown consistently and significantly. Jason has gained the respect of business executives throughout the industries we serve. He has developed an outstanding team of executives with proven leadership capabilities and extensive experience in our industries.”
Lippert noted, “We will continue our strategic initiatives to enhance Drew’s cash flow and profitability. We intend to accomplish this by providing the highest quality products and superior service, both to our existing customers, and to new customers in the adjacent markets we have been developing in accordance with our ongoing strategic planning process. We have always provided our customers with products that add value and offer innovative solutions to their business needs. It is essential that we maintain our outstanding reputation among both our customers and the investment community.”
He added, “Scott Mereness has provided Drew with exceptional operational leadership for more than a decade. Scott and I have worked closely together for over 15 years, with an emphasis on attracting and developing the best possible talent for every aspect of the company. Together with our extraordinary management team and dedicated employees, Scott and I will continue to develop strategic plans to benefit Drew, including our stockholders, employees and customers.”
Other moves include:
• Joseph S. Giordano III, 44, CFO and treasurer of Drew since 2008 and corporate controller from 2003 to 2008, will relocate to Indiana and continue to serve in his current positions. “For the past decade, Joe has played a crucial role in our success,” said Abrams, “and we are delighted that we can continue to rely on his broad knowledge and experience.”
• Harvey F. Milman, 71, who has served as general counsel then chief legal officer of Drew since 1969, will retire, effective July 31. Milman will continue to serve as a consultant to Drew through 2014. “On behalf of the board, we are most grateful for the advice and counsel Harvey has provided us over the years,” stated Abrams. Milman will be succeeded by Robert A. Kuhns, 47. For the past 13 years Kuhns was a partner in the corporate group at the Minneapolis offices of Dorsey & Whitney, a full-service global law firm. Kuhns has extensive experience with a broad range of corporate, acquisition and securities matters.
As a result of Drew’s leadership transition and corporate relocation, the company will record a pre-tax charge of approximately $3.3 million, including $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, and the balance in the first and second quarters of 2013, related to contractual obligations for severance and the acceleration of equity awards. Upon completion of the transition, the company will save an estimated $2 million annually in general and administrative costs.
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) held a gathering on Jan. 18, marking the launch of its Lippert Interior Solutions brand and the opening of a new furniture plant.
According to a press release, LCI’s seating division recently exited a 65,000-square-foot facility and moved to a 158,000-square-foot plant in Goshen. Operations began on Jan. 2.
Plant Manager Andy Overpeck, General Manager Mark Taylor and Vice President of Sales Ryan Smith lead the Lippert Interior Solutions team. Over 200 plant employees participated in the celebration held at the end of the work day.
“We’re excited about the opening of this new plant and look forward to growing this piece of LCI’s business,” said Taylor.
“Consolidating the facilities will make the operation more vertically integrated,” said LCI Director of Product Development Jeff Few. “Combining the wood, steel, and the foam cutting operation under one roof streamlines management and communications, and accelerates production and product development while increasing quality control and improving design.”
Lippert Components Inc (LCI) announced that Josh Roan has been promoted to the senior leadership team for the window division, based in Goshen, Ind.
According to a press release, Roan has worked in the RV industry for over 17 years. For the past 10 years he oversaw divisions for Lippert and sister company Kinro Inc., including managing LCI’s largest chassis division in Goshen as well as its specialty products division.
In his new position, Roan will help lead 955 employees producing an average of 8,000 RV windows in any given day.
“Josh is one of the strongest managers we have,” said Scott Mereness, president of LCI. “He has proven himself in multiple situations with outstanding leadership and team building skills.”
Roan noted, “One of my goals moving forward is to exceed customer expectations. I plan on growing and leading the very best team in the industry here at our Indiana window division.”
Roan will also oversee several new initiatives in the coming months. Due in early 2013 is equipment for a second glass tempering and processing facility that when installed will add 63,000 additional square feet of glass and window manufacturing space, effectively doubling Kinro’s current glass tempering capabilities.
“With the addition of manufacturing space and investments in equipment, as well as the addition of dedicated leaders such as Josh to our window operations, we will be well positioned to meet our increasing customer demand for windows,” said Mereness.
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) is launching a new line of entry door products following the acquisition of the assets of Amerimax’s U.S. door operations.
According to a press release, the new product line utilizes the designs of both LCI’s existing entry doors and Amerimax’s entry doors. To improve efficiency, LCI is consolidating two production facilities into one, and began transitioning customers to the new door products.
“Rather than producing parallel product lines of both the LCI entry door and the Amerimax entry door, we adopted the best features and the best production methods from both lines and developed a new hybrid product line incorporating the best of both entry doors,” said LCI Vice President of Sales Andy Murray.
The entry door design changes include:
• A base construction with a steel reinforced core panel to add stiffness.
• An updated screen door with a new upgraded latch design for ease of use.
• Three-dimensional injection molded kick panels in the screen door for added strength.
• A square cut joint on the exterior of the door frame for a cleaner fit and finish.
“In addition to these design changes, consolidating production facilities has made the entire entry door production process much leaner,” said Murray.
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC has adopted LCI’s Level Up automatic hydraulic leveling system as an option on the builder’s Sundance brand of travel trailers.
According to a press release, Heartland’s Sundance is the first travel trailer to offer a hydraulic four-point automatic leveling system as an option.
“We were looking for some key differentiating features that would set the Sundance trailer apart from other brands, and we felt that automatic hydraulic leveling was one way to do that,” said Heartland Vice President of Sales Coley Brady. “Level Up is becoming a trend as an option more and more on our fifth-wheel RV brands, so we felt that consumers would also like to see automatic leveling as an option on a travel trailer. We introduced the product at the Hershey Show, Dealer Open House and at the RVIA show in Louisville, and the response has been outstanding.”
“At one time, automatic leveling was something found only on high-end units such as expensive luxury fifth-wheel RVs,” said LCI Vice President of Sales Andy Murray. “Today, the RV industry is moving towards offering leveling products as standard or as an option on less expensive fifth-wheel and travel trailer RVs. We’re seeing that OEMs are turning to the Level Up from LCI to help fulfill this demand.”