‘Major Issues’ At Play in RV Transport Shortage

April 21, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

There are numerous reasons for the driver shortage that is affecting the RV industry.

The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune reported that officials from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) estimate that an additional 2,000 drivers are needed to deliver the 25,000 to 30,000 recreational vehicles that are sitting on lots in southern Michigan and northern Indiana, mostly in Elkhart County.

The problem could cost the industry as much as $500 million in lost sales in 2014, according to one industry official.

And Doug DeMeyer, a former driver who is now an owner of a transportation company that lines up drivers to transport RVs across the United States and Canada, believes the shortage won’t be solved quickly.

DeMeyer is happy that transportation company leaders gathered for a seminar led by the RVIA last week at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

He believes ideas to help recruit drivers and improve laws to lessen the number of deliveries that require a commercial driver’s license are all good steps.

But he also believes there are other major issues that need to be worked on.

“It’s multilayered,” DeMeyer, president and owner of MDZ Trucking in Shipshewana, said. “There’s got to be a lot of fixing and a lot of things to happen to not have a shortage in drivers.”

He believes increasing pay for drivers and better cooperation from dealerships would help gain and retain drivers.

For the full story click here.

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Missing RV Transport Driver Discovered Dead

July 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A Thunder Bay, Ontario, man and his dog, who have been the subject of a search between the city and Indiana, were found dead on Thursday (July 7) in Illinois.

According to the Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay Police said that while details remain sketchy, foul play is not suspected in the death of Ed Spakowski, 69. Police said Illinois State Police located Spakowski and his dog and that crime unit officers there were on the scene late Thursday conducting their investigation.

Spakowski was last seen June 30 hauling a new RV unit away from an RV factory in Elkhart in the northern part of Indiana.

Spakowski, a retired millwright, was an occasional driver for Thunder Bay’s Smith’s RV Centre who for the last two months hauled new units from Elkhart back to the city.

Spakowski’s family members said he was feeling ill before he set out last week for his latest haul.

He was driving a 2007, grey Chevy Silverado pickup, which he was authorized to use by Smith’s RV Centre.

When Spakowski pulled out from Elkhart on June 30, he was towing a brand-new 30-foot Heartland North Country trailer valued at about $25,000.

Spakowski, who is single, always traveled with his little black-and-white dog.

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Canadian Transport Driver Reported Missing

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Whenever he’s on the road hauling a brand-new RV back to Thunder Bay, Ontario, from the United States Ed Spakowski’s routine is like clockwork.

“He eats at the same places, gets gas at the same gas stations — everything right to a T,” Spakowski’s sister Darlene Stankevicius told the Chronicle Journal Wednesday (July 6).

So when the reliable 69-year-old Spakowski didn’t show up on the weekend from his latest 15-hour haul from an RV factory in Elkhart, Ind., his sister and his employer were worried.

“He was feeling ill before he left, complaining about heartburn and some numbness,” Stankevicius said. “Now I’m afraid that it was more than just heartburn.”

Police in Thunder Bay and Indiana do know that Spakowski made it to the Elkhart RV factory at 7 a.m. on June 30 to pick up a 30-foot Heartland North Country trailer valued at about $25,000.

Accompanied by his little black-and-white dog, the single retired millwright was driving a 2007, grey Chevy Silverado pickup, the same truck he’s authorized to use by his employer, Thunder Bay’s Smith’s RV Centre.

“We know he arrived to pick up the unit, but he never returned to the first (Indiana) toll road,” said Smith’s RV manager Jason Johnstone. “So we feel something has gone wrong.”

The Silverado truck is equipped with a transponder that automatically registers when the truck goes through a toll gate, said Johnstone. Drivers are permitted to sleep in the RV units on the trip back to Thunder Bay.

Police say there’s no indication Spakowski has come back into Canada.

Johnstone said that in his 10 years on the job, a driver sent to the U.S. has never not returned with an RV unit.

Spakowski had only been driving for two months, but had already proved to be reliable.

“He’s a very consistent person,” Johnstone said. “Always uses the same gas stations.”

Spakowski is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a medium build. He has grey hair and is partially bald.

The Silverado’s Ontario license plate is 9863NT. Anyone with information is asked to call Thunder Bay Police at 807-684-1200.

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