Industry veteran Bobby Combs has joined the product development team at Pacific Coachworks Inc., Riverside, Calif.
Combs will be a viable part of developing and promoting the upcoming, all-new Panther Ultralite, Widelite and Premier series of travel trailers and fifth-wheels for Pacific Coachworks, Jeff Daily, general manager, announced in a news release.
Combs is a 17-year veteran of the RV industry, having worked with both Thor Industries Inc. and most recently Forest River Inc. prior to joining Pacific Coachworks.
“The addition of Bobby Combs is representative of the aggressive moves that Pacific Coachworks is making in the market since the company was purchased in October 2010,” Daily added.
Bobby Combs can be reached at (951) 686-7294 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Daily has been promoted to general manager of Pacific Coachworks Inc.
Daily will be responsible for all items directly related to both sales and operations for the Riverside, Calif.-based RV manufacturer, Brett Bashaw, president and CEO, stated in a news release.
Daily is a 22-year veteran of the RV industry including 15 years serving as a sales representative, sales manager and division general manager for a well known trailer manufacturer based in Elkhart, Ind.
The addition of Jeff Daily is representative of the aggressive moves that Pacific Coachworks is making in the market since the company was purchased in October 2010.
Daily can be contacted at (951) 686-7294 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
At least 1,000 people are expected to apply for fewer than 100 jobs at MVP RV LLC’s job fair Saturday (Aug. 28) in Riverside, Calif., and executives of the company are suggesting that only people with experience in the industry attend, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
MVP RV, which has been making towable trailers at the former Thor of California factory in Moreno Valley since 2008, announced earlier this month it has purchased two adjacent Riverside facilities formerly owned by Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., which filed for bankruptcy 17 months ago.
MVP will leave Moreno Valley and move to the Riverside complex in mid-September, said Roger Humeston, MVP CFO. Company officials want to add 80 people to its current work force of about 110 right now and add more over the coming months, eventually getting up to about 800 employees.
With the loss of Fleetwood and other RV companies, there are hundreds of skilled workers who used to make RVs in the area. Humeston said he’s been approached in church by people he doesn’t know offering their résumés, and he thinks as many as 1,500 people could show up on Saturday.
“We’re starting to get nervous,” Humeston said of the anticipated crowd. “People keep coming to our door in Moreno Valley wanting to apply. It’s getting spooky.”
MVP is stressing that they want people with at least three years of experience in the industry to apply. The company is looking to hire assemblers, welders and material-handling personnel as well as financial and administrative specialists.
“We’re going to have to be selective,” Humeston said. “We don’t have too many openings and unfortunately we can only take the cream of the crop right now.”
Humeston said he invited area companies that manufacture RV-related materials to recruit, but said those suppliers won’t commit to adding people yet.
MVP secured financial backing several months ago and bought the former Fleetwood facilities for $18.6 million in an all-cash deal. The Moreno Valley facility will be put up for sale.
Tom Powell, partner in Riverside-based Pacific Coachworks Inc. and, like Humeston and his MVP partners, a former Thor of California executive, said he likes MVP’s prospects “if they’re well capitalized, and it appears that they are.”
Powell said the market in Southern California is weak, but is improving in the Northwest and Canada and is also getting better in Asia.
“I hope they succeed,” Powell said. “The more manufacturing we have down here, the better it is for all of us.”
The largest RV show on the West Coast has shrunk in size, but the builders of trailers, toy haulers and motor homes who remain in business parked their homes-on-wheels in Pomona, Calif., optimistic that the worst may be in their rear view mirrors, according to the Riverside, Calif. Press-Enterprise.
On display until Oct. 25 during the California RV Show at the Fairplex in Pomona sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) are rows of recreational vehicles from towable trailers for $30,000 to veritable tour buses equipped with fold-out balconies and slide-out flat-screen TVs. Those, joked 61-year-old Jerry Presson of Fullerton, were for an RVer’s wife who wanted a hotel room, not a camping trip.
He takes two trips a month in his 1991 Winnebago motor home and plans to journey “a lot more” now that he’s retired. He was shopping for a Class A diesel motor home on Friday.
”I was going to buy one last year, but then the economy turned,” he said, so he stayed with his job as a technician for an aerospace firm until he was forced to retire this year.
The recession severely curtailed motor home sales as banks were skittish to lend to customers and RV dealers alike. Manufacturers went under; dealers closed.
Nonetheless, Bill Gibson, president of Jag Mobile Solutions based in Howe, Ind., decided to get into the RV business. With his first Galileo trailer model — a solitary vehicle parked next to the fence across from a wall of RVs — Gibson sees it as the perfect time to come into the RV market with something new. His 5,000-pound trailer starting at $30,000 has room for four adults to sleep, stereo surround-sound and a solar panel on the roof.
His company still makes custom-ordered portable restrooms, showers and trailers for films. As for RVs, “I only need a very small number of people to buy,” he said. “I have time to wait.”
Dick Graham, regional sales manager for Forest River Inc., Elkhart, Ind., sat surrounded by his company’s 2010 model motor homes.
“We’re eternal optimists,” he said. The economy that felled RV giants, most recently Riverside-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. (now owned by a New York equity firm and renamed Fleetwood RV Inc.), Weekend Warrior Trailers Inc. and National RV Inc., has left the market open to those remaining, Graham said.
Tom Powell, chief executive officer of Riverside-based Pacific Coachworks Inc., showed off his company’s use of plywood instead of particle board inside its brand of Tango trailers. After stopping production and laying off most of his workforce, Powell ramped up production again earlier this year.
He said his firm has an advantage being one of the few RV makers left in the Inland region — others include Skyline in Hemet and Eclipse Recreational Vehicles in Riverside — since local buyers can rest easy with a factory nearby if a fix is needed.
John Collins, 34, a feature film art director from La Crescenta, has been to the Pomona RV show before but hadn’t made a purchase.
This year he said he was willing to spend $75,000 to $125,000 for a motor home for his family that had bunk beds for his 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, and anything but easy-to-stain white carpeting.
“We have to find one we absolutely love to spend that much money,” he said.
Pacific Coachworks Inc. reported Wednesday (July 1) that the company has returned to full production of its Tango and Tango Twist brands of travel trailers and fifth-wheels, after enduring a months-long reduction as the recession hobbled manufacturing output.
“I don’t want to say that things are ‘rosy,” said Dane Found, president of the Riverside, Calif.-based builder, “but I think we are optimistic that the RV industry is recovering perhaps faster than some other segments of the economy. We’ve got a decent backlog of orders to build right now, and we will continue to act on that during the next couple of months.”
According to Found, three-year-old Pacific Coachworks hit its nexus in the spring of 2008, when its then-192 employees were producing an average of 10 units daily. The recent upswing has allowed Pacific Coachworks to begin repopulating open manufacturing positions idled by layoffs, and the company’s current 100 employees are producing five units daily.
“Because we haven’t been running regular production for several months, our inventory was depleted greatly,” Found acknowledged. “Over the next few months we should be able to replenish dealer inventories.”
To maximize the company’s output, Found announced the addition of two new district sales managers. Ryan Scott, formerly with Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s travel trailer division, will be focusing on sales in the southern region, while Ray Brech, previously with Thor California and Komfort Corp., will oversee the northern region. “We’re pleased to have both of them on-board,” Found said.
The surge in manufacturing activity has also buoyed development on several projects. “We plan on introducing a couple of new models shortly,” said Found, “as well as a model in another product segment.” Plans call for the new additions also to be built at the Riverside plant.