Rick Horsey of Parkview RV Center in Smyrna, Del., was honored for more than 10 years of service as chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Education Foundation’s RV Learning Center at a special RVDA members reception in Louisville, Ky., on Monday (Nov. 29).
Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio, was elected as chairman of the RVDA Education Foundation at the board meeting, also on Monday. Both Pastore and Horsey are past RVDA chairmen of the board. Horsey will remain on the RV Learning Center board of directors.
According to a news release, under Horsey’s tenure, the RV Learning Center developed curricula for five dealership positions with industry experts and The Ohio State University, forged partnerships to train technicians with RVIA and the Florida RV Trade Association, and launched the RV Training Calendar, a recommendation of the Go RVing Committee on Excellence.
“Rick is a master of consensus-building, industry teamwork, and implementing partnerships,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “He is truly an RV industry ‘Hall of Famer’ with dedication and involvement second to none.”
The RV Learning Center provides dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, workshops, online products, training, and certification programs for RV dealership personnel. Participation in RV industry certification programs was a key recommendation of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence Task Force reports, which studied consumer satisfaction.
For more information on the Foundation’s RV Learning Center and to contribute, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.
The RVDA Education Foundation’s RV Learning Center is a tax exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.
The net effect of the decision of the RVDA Education Foundation’s board of directors to terminate the faculty program component of its RV Learning Center will be minimal, reports Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for the Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
RVDA Education Foundation Chairman Rick Horsey, a Delaware dealer, informed the independent “faculty” trainers aligned with the RV Learning Center by letter in mid-April that the Learning Center had “indefinitely suspended” the program, which was a way for RVDA to identify qualified trainers for its membership. “It had run its course, and we continue to work with all those training providers,” Ingrassia told RVBUSINESS.com. “Nobody did anything wrong. We still have many (trainers) involved in workshops at the convention (the Con/Expo in early October).”
Among the trainers involved in the Learning Center’s “faculty” component were Kelly Enterprises, Marzahn & King Consulting Inc., Motley Consulting and Teaching, Sobel & Associates, Spader Business Management and Life Lessons–Bob Ash.
“Regretfully,” Horsey wrote in the mid-April letter to faculty members, “the program did not meet my original expectations. Most evident was my lack of foresight in not recognizing the competitive atmosphere and proprietary aspects of the training industry. With these obstacles, we are unable to jointly develop curriculum for the RV Learning Center.
“We are also unable to meet the expectations of faculty for providing direct training or referral business,” he continued. “The decision to suspend the program is not a reflection on the value the board feels faculty members provide the RV industry, or their relationship with RVDA. The board hopes that without the constraints of the foundation faculty program, the RV Learning Center will be in a better position to work on an individual basis with training providers.”
Through the certification programs provided by the RV Learning Center, which is “supported by dealers, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and other RV industry members committed to dealership education and the high levels of customer service that is provided by educated employees,” dealership employees hone skills in specific areas, including service manager, service writer/advisor, warranty administrator, parts manager, and parts specialist.
Among the Learning Center’s training and professional development options:
- Educational opportunities via the Internet, audio, DVD/CD-ROM, and print publications, e.g., manuals.
- Learning Guides (available both in print and on CD-ROM) as preparation for the RV Learning Center’s five certification tests.
- Live classroom training and custom dealership consultation.
- RV Technician magazine – published online, six times a year.
Ingrassia, again, emphasized that the faculty decision will impact neither programming nor educational offerings. “There’s nothing that’s changed for the core learning center programs,” he said. “The faculty program was designed to work with trainers for mutually beneficial training opportunities for dealers. And as Rick pointed out in his letter, what we didn’t’ take into account was the competitive nature of the training. You know some of this stuff is proprietary. The level of cooperation was good, but it didn’t come out the way we expected. So the board just decided to suspend the program.”
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Education Foundation board of directors elected Dan Pearson of PleasureLand RV Centers Inc. in St. Cloud, Minn., as vice chairman at their meeting on Nov. 30 in Louisville, Ky., according to a news release.
Pearson has a long record of service to RV dealers. He is a participating past chairman of RVDA, serves on the RV Assistance Corp. board of directors and is active in the Minnesota RV Dealers Association. He is also a major financial contributor to the Foundation’s RV Learning Center. Pearson succeeds Jim Sheldon of Monaco RV LLC, who will remain on the board.
“Since the formation of the RVDA Education Foundation in the early 1990s, Dan Pearson has been instrumental in the development of continuing education programs for dealership personnel,” said RVDA Education Foundation Chairman Rick Horsey of Parkview RV Center in Smyrna, Del. “Dan is one of the best minds in RV retailing today, and we are fortunate to have him serve as vice chairman while the foundation develops programs that meet the challenges the RV industry faces today and in the future.”
The board also re-elected Horsey as chairman and Bill Koster of Protective, as secretary/treasurer.
The RVDA board elected Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center, in Hartville, Ohio, as a director at its meeting in Louisville on Nov. 30.
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training, and certification programs for RV dealership personnel. For more information on the RVDA Education Foundation’s RV Learning Center, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.
The RVDA Education Foundation is a tax exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.
Editor’s Note: This column on the RVDA-RVIA Technician Certification Program from Rick Horsey, chairman of the RVDA Education Foundation board of directors and owner of Parkview RV Center, Smyrna, Del., is slated for publication in the November issue of RVDA’s RV Executive Today magazine and the fall issue of the RV Learning Center’s RV Technician magazine. The 16-year-old program, overseen by the RVDA-RVIA Technician Certification Governing Board, has currently certified 3,339 technicians in the U.S. and Canada.
Why would a technician want to go through the hassle and expense of certifying in their profession? First, let me explain what certification is, how to become certified and then share a personal story with you about why you may want to consider it.
What Is Certification?
First, certification is a way of assessing a body of knowledge that a worker needs to successfully complete their job. It must be based on a curriculum that identifies and validates “real world” duties and tasks performed by workers. The best way to validate a worker’s knowledge and skills is to assess. RVDA and RVIA developed a technician certification program in the early 1990s. It has helped thousands of technicians validate their level of knowledge and improve customer service.
How to Become Certified
There is only one way to become certified, and that is by taking the RV Service Technician Certification Test and receiving a passing score. There are a number of ways to prepare for the test and assure that you are successful. You can register for the RV Technician Certification Online Prep course or the FRVTA distance learning course. A complete set of textbooks that cover all of the subjects along with a study guide is available through RVIA for self-study. You could also attend an RVIA Trouble Shooter Clinic, which is not specifically designed for certification prep, but does provides hands-on training and much of the core knowledge evaluated by the test. The clinics are very useful when used in conjunction with other preparation programs. The least effective way would be to just sign up for the test without any preparation.
Certification has Other Benefits
You may also want to consider certification, because of what happened many years ago to our company and a technician, Ben. We were called to testify in a trial involving a gentleman, who I’ll call Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith had been seriously injured when his travel trailer exploded and was totally destroyed. Mr. Smith purchased the travel trailer from us new several years before the accident, but had never returned for any work.
After months of investigation by the Fire Marshall it was determined that the explosion was caused by an LP gas leak at the furnace. The vehicle manufacturer, furnace supplier, our company, and the technician were all named in the suit. I don’t know how many of you have been involved in a liability case like this, but the plaintiff ’s attorneys are looking for that special someone to take the blame and collect their check.We were very sad that someone was injured, and wanted to make sure that our company and Ben had performed our job correctly.
During the deposition, the attorneys asked Ben and us many questions. They asked Ben how long he had been an RV technician, what credentials and training he had, and the process he used in inspecting and preparing Mr. Smith’s RV. The opposing attorneys were trying to prove that Ben, and our company, were not credible. It was also during the deposition that we discovered Mr. Smith was a handyman who performed a lot of repairs on the RV himself, and that was why he had never returned for service. After hours of depositions the trial date was set.
During the trial, the first goal of our attorney was to establish Ben’s credibility with the jury. Our attorney had to prove that Ben was an honest person of integrity. Secondly, he had to prove Ben’s credentials were excellent, that he had the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to perform. And thirdly, that he had an excellent track record of performance.
Ben explained that he had worked as a technician for our company for 15 years and had never had been accused of being negligent and had a proven track record of quality work as a technician. He explained the process he used in preparing the RV for use and how he demonstrated the operation and use of the systems. Ben brought his RVDA-RVIA Certification certificate and explained that he had kept up his continuing education credits. It was difficult for the plaintiff ’s attorney to convince the jury that Ben was not competent, for that reason, and Ben was dismissed from the case after his testimony. The lawsuit was eventually dropped. It is our opinion that the RVDA-RVIA Certification was a major factor in establishing credibility with the jury and judge.
Whether you are employed by a service center or are an independent technician, certification is an insurance policy and demonstrates your expertise and competence in the field. Certification makes you a valuable employee, in the knowledge you possess, the efficiency you gain, and the credentials you carry. Certification brings a great sense of personal pride and assures your employer and customers that they are working with a knowledgeable and capable professional.
For more information about RV technician training and certification, visit www.rvtechnician.com or www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the dealer services hotline.