Longtime RVIA Shows VP ‘Mike’ Hutya to Retire

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Mary "Mike" Hutya

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) today (Jan. 13) announced that Mary “Mike” Hutya, vice president of meetings and shows, will retire on March 31 after 38 years of service to RVIA and the RV industry.

“Mike has been a key part of our shows department for nearly four decades,” said RVIA President Richard Coon in a press release. “While most of her work has happened ‘behind the scenes,’ she has offered effective leadership and management as vice president. I know I speak for our industry’s leadership and all who have gotten to know her in wishing Mike the best in retirement and in thanking her for all her work on our behalf.”

Jim Jacobs, chief operating officer of Jayco Inc. and chairman of RVIA’s Shows Committee, said, “Mike is a real pro, and it’s been a treat to work with her over the years. Her extensive knowledge and shrewd negotiating skills have played a major role in expanding and improving RVIA’s shows and events. I’ll miss her.”

Hutya joined RVIA in 1975 and has overseen the shows department since 1981. During that time, the industry underwent radical growth with shipments more than doubling. The annual National RV Trade Show played a key role in that growth by offering a central place for the industry to showcase its latest products and to conduct business. Hutya’s work was central to expanding and improving the National RV Trade Show and the California RV Show, said Coon.

“I’ll miss the people I’ve had a chance to work with at RVIA and throughout the RV industry, but I am looking forward to moving away from the city and enjoying retirement,” Hutya said. “It’s been a joy to play a part in the growth of this great industry, and I’m grateful for my years in the RV industry and for all the support from so many. I’m certain that more success lies ahead for all my friends and colleagues.”

With Hutya’s retirement, RVIA will divide the vice president of meetings and shows position into two separate functions. The responsibility of the National RV Trade Show and the California RV Show will now fall under the direction of James Ashurst, vice president of public relations and advertising. RVIA will be hiring a professional for the newly-formed position of shows executive director that will work in concert with Kelly Smith, shows manager, to oversee the daily management of these two industry events.

The planning of all other RVIA meetings and events will be handled by Doreen Cashion, meetings manager, under the direction of Coon.

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Louisville Honors Good Relationship with RVIA

November 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon (standing) speaks during a brief reception on Wednesday recognizing the association's 50th anniversary.

The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kentucky Exposition Center sponsored a brief party on Wednesday afternoon recognizing the RVIA’s 50th annual show.

RVIA President Richard Coon and Harold Workman, CEO of the host Kentucky Exposition center, each made brief remarks.

Coon’s remarks follow:

“Fifty years is a long time to do anything. And much has changed in the world.

In 1962, a gallon of gas cost 28 cents, the average income was $5,500, and an average house cost $12,500.

There were some notable “firsts” in 1962. John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. The first Walmart opened. The first Beatles single — ‘Love Me Do’ — was released.

And, the RV industry held its first show here in Louisville.

While much has changed in the world, it has been good to be able to count on some things that have endured. Each year — in good times and bad — our industry has gathered here in Louisville. We have enjoyed the hard work and friendship of the people of Louisville, and I’d like to thank the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau for your hospitality through the years. You’ve been fantastic partners.

The reason our industry has been able to flourish and endure through the decades is that while society is changing, core human values remain the same. As long as there are people, they’ll want to get outdoors and spend time with family and friends. RVs offer a great way to do that — one with unmatched comfort, flexibility and value.

Thank you again for joining our celebration. And let’s all do what we can to assure that in 2062, our descendants are celebrating the 100th annual National RV Show.”

Guests shared 50th anniversary cupcakes and light beverages afterward.

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‘Wheeling and Dealing’ is Underway in the KEC

November 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Day 2 underway at National RV Trade Show in the Kentucky Exposition Center

The wheeling and dealing of selling recreational vehicles and everything that goes into them got under way Tuesday (Nov. 27) at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

Manufacturers and their suppliers set up shop and then greeted old friends, reached out to sign up new dealers and watched expectantly as dealers went in and out of the hundreds of RVs on display in the Kentucky Exposition Center, The Goshen (Ind.) News reported.

“You can see everything from a $9,000 travel trailer to a $1 million motorhome,” Winn Sheppard said. He is a salesman with Avalon RV Center in Medina, Ohio, and was trolling the show displays with Avalon manager Mike Makebakken.

“It is great to come to this show and see everything in the RV industry under one roof,” Makebakken said.

But the salesmen were not at the show to buy, they already placed orders at the Elkhart County RV Open House in October.

“We picked up most everything we wanted earlier at the showcase,” Makebakken said. He said they were attending in part to affirm their earlier order decisions.

“As a sales person,” Sheppard said, “you can look at what the competitors have; what are you going to face in the coming year. That is important to a sales person.”

Tom Montague

Redwood RV

Down the aisle at the Redwood RV show area, which is part of parent-company Crossroads RV’s display, Tom Montague, general manager, was busy helping his sales staff meet with dealers.

Montague was in charge of starting up the Redwood luxury fifth-wheel line in Syracuse a couple of years ago. Since then, the company has grown quickly, producing 480 units so far in 2012 and capturing a 35% share of the luxury fifth-wheel market, according to company information.

“It’s just a big show (for the company),” Montague said of the importance of the Louisville show.

Montague and the sales staff were wearing themed shirts sporting the initials NGV, which stands for New Generation Vehicles.

The reasons for Redwoods’ quick growth? Montague said one reason is that Carriage Inc. in Millersburg, a competitor, went out of business and the company purchased its name and assets. Redwood also hired many people from the Carriage workforce.

But the big reason for the growth has been the company has stuck to its original plan of building quality fifth-wheels, he said.

“The neat thing about Redwood is, we have stuck to the story we started with and the dealers have responded to it. It was a well-thought-out plan,” Montague said.

He said that because Redwood is a Thor company, which is the largest RV company, funds were available to purchase the best technology for the fifth-wheels.

That means that the fifth-wheels have many of the same convenience features, such as full-sized refrigerators, dishwashers and furniture, that used to be found only in motorhomes.

And fifth-wheel owners don’t have to deal with an engine and drivetrain of a motorhome, instead they use a pickup to pull the unit, Montague said.

“They can leave this in their barn and drive their truck every day,” Montague said of the fifth-wheels all around him.

Terry Haynal

Derby City RV

Terry Haynal, a salesman with Tom Stinnett Derby City RV in Clarksville, Ind., only had to drive across the Ohio River bridge to reach the show. But to him, the drive was necessary.

“I am looking at fifth-wheels that we compete directly with,” Haynal said.

He was comparing what features those competitors offer in their fifth-wheels so when he talks to a customer he’s not surprised by their comparison of products.

“I would rather see it here than on the lot,” he said with a laugh.

Like the industry as a whole, Stinnett Derby City RV had an up year, according to Haynal. “Our sales have been real good this year. We have done real well, motorized and towable.”

The reason for that?

“I think there are a lot of people who have had money for several years and they are feeling more comfortable now, Haynal said.

Echo RV

Mike Sheets, owner of Echo RV in Elkhart, was also feeling comfortable. He poked fun at the industry’s fascination with statistics, saying his company has the largest increase in display floorspace at the show with a 33% gain. That means that Echo has four units on display this year, up from three in 2011.

The 3-year-old company builds stick and tin travel trailers. Sheets said the stick and tin building process, which is simply aluminum siding over a wood frame, is still the largest build style in the industry.

“We are a relatively new company, so we are down here at Louisville trying to grow our company,” Sheets said.

He said he was working in the RV industry and “one day I said, ‘I can do this.’ And you know what they say about getting what you wished for,” he laughed.

Sheets now has partners and stable financing, which means he can concentrate on running the company.

The company’s niche is selling to dealers who are mid- to small-sized and not selling products from the large RV corporations.

“We would like to grow to 800 to 1,000 units a year,” Sheets said. “But the most important thing is to give personal service. If someone calls our company, they talk to me, which is kind of nice.”


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Opening Day Attendance Down 7% in Louisville

November 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Opening day attendance at the 50th Annual National Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was off about 7% from Day 1 in 2011, according to preliminary, unaudited figures from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

The count among “total buyers,” which includes RV dealers, accessory store personnel, campground owners and warehouse distributors, was 2,541, down 221 or 8% from opening day last year.

The dealer drop-off was 206, which constituted the bulk of the total decline.

Total headcount was 6,710, down 487 or 7% from opening day in 2011.

Attendance was off in most categories. However, showing increases were the numbers of warehouse distributors (up 9%), editorial press (up 17%), non-member manufacturers (up 32%) and non-exhibiting member manufacturers (up 100%).


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RVIA’s Advertising and PR ‘Mine Media Gold’

November 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom Stinnett

The RV industry today (Nov. 27) launched the 50th National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., at “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” an informative, entertaining program that provided details of the industry’s prospects for 2013 and an update on advertising and public relations initiatives.

The event began at 7:30 a.m. and was attended by approximately 1,000 RV manufacturers, dealers and industry representatives. Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett partnered with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst for a multimedia presentation recapping 2012 accomplishments in the advertising and public relations arenas, according to a news release.

“We have a strong public relations team at RVIA,” Thompson told the audience. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to promote the RV lifestyle, combat misperceptions and position the industry as growing, vibrant and innovative.”

Successes Outlined

Thompson discussed a few of the industry’s media relations successes, including coverage on TV networks such as ABC News, FOX News Channel and HGTV. He also highlighted digital media placements and detailed RVIA’s plans to commit more resources to online outlets in the future.

“It used to be that people only got news from print publications, television or radio,” Thompson said. “Times have changed. More than a third of adult Americans own a tablet or smart phone to read news stories or watch video clips.”

B.J. Thompson

This year, RV coverage appeared in several major digital outlets, including Yahoo! News, and

Stinnett and Olson reported on strong results from the new “AWAY” Go RVing advertising campaign. The pair emphasized the campaign’s strategic shift to focus on media brands that provide the opportunity to build cross-platform partnerships.

“Consumers are really engaging with our message,” Stinnett said. “We’ve experienced great success in our first year of targeting brand-building partnerships. Our co-branded initiatives with Great American Country and Outdoor Channel drew 46,000 new leads.”

The new ads, which debuted in early 2012, resonated with consumers, Olson told attendees.

“Our research demonstrates that consumers look favorably on what our industry is selling,” Olson said. “Our messaging about RVs allowing consumers to spend more time doing the things they want to do with the people they want to do them with — works. It reinforces the need to keep getting our industry’s message out to as many consumers as possible.”


Ashurst closed the presentation by discussing some of the plans for Go RVing in 2013.

“Next year you will see a return of some of our best performing partners, as well as several new offerings,” Ashurst said. “One such deal is a sizeable partnership with Discovery Networks’ newest lifestyle cable network, Destination America, which will explore the people, places and stories of the United States while celebrating the tenacity, hard work and humor that characterizes our great nation.”

In addition, Go RVing will partner with Travel Channel and will expand its outreach to the Hispanic market.

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RVDA Hands Out DSI Awards on RV Show Eve

November 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch (left) with Keystone RV management Matt Zimmerman, president, and group general managers Andy Cripe, Jeff Runels and Ryan Juday.

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) recognized an array of North American RV builders Monday evening (Nov. 26) on the brink of the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., as Quality Circle Award winners for having excelled in the 19th Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) Survey.

On hand for the festivities at the Crowne Plaza hotel near the Kentucky Exposition Center was a big crowd of dealers and manufacturers.

“Tonight we honored the manufacturers that the dealers in the United States and Canada voted as doing the best job in a number of areas – everything from their manufacturer policies, which include things like territory, to parts and warranty policies to product quality and value,” RVDA President Phil Ingrassia told RV Business. “So, all those areas are measured in the DSI and these are the manufacturers who scored the highest with 15 or more responses from dealers.”

Four hundred and sixty-one dealers responded to the DSI between April and July and provided 2,709 brand ratings, an average of nearly six per dealer. Winners received at least 15 dealer responses and scored 80% or above for overall dealer satisfaction.

Jeff Hirsch (left) presents DSI award to Gary Conley of Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.

Towable RV manufacturers/brands receiving awards were (in alphabetical order): Airstream Inc.; CrossRoads RV (Zinger/Z-1/SE/Hampton); Forest River Inc. (Flagstaff travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Palomino RV travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Rockwood/Roo expandables, Sierra/Sandpiper, Indiana-built Surveyor/r-pod); Heartland RV LLC (Big Country/Elk Ridge, Bighorn/Landmark, Cyclone/Road Warrior/Torque, North Trail/Wilderness, Prowler); Jayco Inc. (Eagle/Super Lite/HT, camping trailers, Jay Feather/Select, Jay Flight/Swift/SLX, Pinnacle, White Hawk); Keystone RV Co. (Bullet/Premier, Cougar/X-lite, Passport, Raptor); KZRV LP (Durango, Sportsmen/Sportsmen Classic, Spree/Spree Escape); Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. (truck campers); and Prime Time Manufacturing Inc. (LaCrosse/Trace, Crusader/Sanibel).

The six motorized RV brands/manufacturers receiving awards: Forest River; Jayco/Entegra; Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E RV; Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.; Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.; and Winnebago/Itasca/ERA.

Bob Wheeler of Airstream Inc., Matt Zimmerman of Keystone RV Co. and Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, Ariz.

When rating the brands/manufacturers, RVDA asks dealers to express, confidentially, their level of satisfaction on eight core issues: Sales support; sales territory; vehicle design; vehicle reliability/quality; competitive price/value; parts support; dealership warranty support and overall dealer communications.


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RV Industry Revs Up for Louisville Trade Show

November 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Thousands of RV dealers will meet with thousands of RV manufacturers, suppliers and aftermarket producers in Louisville, Ky., this week for the 50th annual National RV Trade Show put on by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

The Elkhart Truth reported that since Elkhart County is the undisputed manufacturing hub of the North American RV industry, with up to 83% of all RVs manufactured here, according to the RVIA, there will be a large local presence at the show.

“Our 50th annual trade show is a testament to both our industry’s strength, as well as evidence of the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.

There will be 63 manufacturers and 222 suppliers with exhibits at the Kentucky Exposition Center Tuesday (Nov. 27) through Thursday, and they all have a variety of refreshed and new products to display.

The Show’s Changing Role

It’s impossible to have a conversation with RV industry insiders about Louisville without the September RV Open House Week coming up. This year was the fifth year for the impromptu event which has grown to huge proportions for the industry.

With manufacturers showing off new-model-year improvements to dealers for the first time that week, things have changed for the Louisville show.

“It used to be the Super Bowl of all shows, Louisville. It’s no longer that,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t want to minimize it.”

“It’s hard to say, as open house continues to grow, what part does Louisville play,” said Zimmerman. It used to be that “Louisville cleaned up your fall. We don’t need Louisville to do that anymore.”

To read the entire article click here.



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Outlook Breakfast Opens 50th Louisville Show

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Outlook 2013

“Outlook 2013 : A Golden Opportunity” will kick off the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50thNational RV Trade Show on Tuesday, Nov. 27, with an informative, entertaining program that honors the rich heritage of the industry’s premiere trade event while also emphasizing the fundamental opportunity found an a new RV, a new show and a new year, the RVIA announced.

The free event will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a complimentary sit-down breakfast in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s (KEC) South Wing Mezzanine Ballroom. As one of the industry’s most anticipated annual events, an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,000 is expected to be on hand at Outlook 2013, and attendees are urged to arrive early as lines form before the doors officially open.

Hosted by RVIA Chairman of the Board Doug Gaeddert, “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will feature “Time to Shine” with RVIA President Richard Coon’s thoughts on the future direction of the RV industry.

In “Mining Media Gold” Go RVing Co-Chairsmen Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett will team with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst to showcase high-impact advertising and public relations achievements in 2012 and preview what’s ahead for 2013.

RVIA will also welcome business expert Larry Winget to the Outlook lineup. Winget is a five-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose books offer solid, common sense advice for improving your business and finances. With his direct, irreverent, dead-on approach, he is also a popular and frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC and MSNBC.

The “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show badge registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.


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Power Solutions to Debut Engine in Louisville

November 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Power Solutions International Inc. (PSI) announced the introduction of its newly designed and tooled 8.8-liter engine. This state-of-the-art model, which is designed, tooled and manufactured in the U.S., offers industrial, bus and truck OEMs a fully-integrated drop-in solution that provides power performance with maximum fuel efficiency, emissions certification and fuel flexibility.

According to a press release, PSI also offers unique in-house design, prototyping, engineering and testing capabilities that enable it to customize the 8.8-liter to the specific power, emissions or engineering needs of OEMs, in addition to the manufacturing capacity to meet large volume requirements.

PSI will unveil this new product at the RVIA National RV Trade Show Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky., and at Power Gen International in Las Vegas on December 13th, 2011.

The company said that the new 8.8-liter engine extends PSI’s tradition of durable, high-performance turnkey solutions in the industrial and off-road markets to on-road markets. The newly-tooled engine fills a key market gap with a cost-effective product capable of fully delivering on power, efficiency, emissions and fuel-flexibility needs across a wide range of applications, including school buses, waste-hauling trucks and light-duty delivery truck uses. PSI will also be integrating the new system with existing industrial customers.

“On-road markets have been actively seeking medium-duty engine replacements as existing big block inventories have wound down,” said Dan Grohoski, director of new business development for PSI. “Most current offerings are compromises or partial fixes. PSI now offers them a total integrated solution–no compromises–with the new 8.8-liter engine.”


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Coon to Address Market Trends at Outlook ’12

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Attendees at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will hear RVIA President Richard Coon’s thoughts on important trends that will impact the RV industry, including a preview of key findings from the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile being released at the show.

The Outlook event, which annually serves as the kickoff to the National RV Trade Show, is slated for Nov. 29 at 7:30 a.m. in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s (KEC) South Wing Mezzanine Level Ballroom.

In a presentation titled “What’s Up!” Coon will also examine how RVIA’s efforts in a variety of areas, including government affairs, RV standards, and industry training and education, are focused on achieving the common goal of all industry members to expand the RV market.

Hosted by RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore, “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will also feature “Away We Go!,” with Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett teaming with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst for a joint multimedia presentation recounting 2011 accomplishments in the advertising and public relations arenas and reviewing new approaches for the upcoming year.

The program culminates with Stan Richards, founder and creative principal of The Richards Group, unveiling the agency’s new Go RVing “AWAY” national advertising campaign and sharing marketing insights drawn from his long career as one of the advertising industry’s most respected leaders.

Other special guests appearing at Outlook 2012 include television personality Rutledge Wood, NASCAR racing analyst on the SPEED Channel and co-host of History Channel’s Top Gear, and country music artist Chuck Wicks, who will perform live at the event.

The “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show badge registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.


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