Russ Patton of Byerly RV Center in Eureka, Mo., has donated an additional $10,000 to the RV Learning Center, bringing the dealership’s total contribution to $36,000. Byerly RV Center is celebrating its 65th year of serving customers this year.
“Russ Patton is a long-time supporter of the RV Learning Center and its continuing education programs for RV dealership personnel,” said RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio, in a press release. “We appreciate his generous contribution which will help advance education opportunities for RV retail employees and improve customer satisfaction in the industry.”
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 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 “Away” campaign makes its debut on TV, in print magazines and online in February and includes an entirely new version of GoRVing.com. According to a report on RV Executive Today Online, the website relaunches with new technology that will give visitors a more sophisticated level of information and interaction.
RV dealers can access leads generated through Go RVing by signing up for the optional Leads-Plus program. For more information, click here.
“The goal is to make the site our workhorse, delivering relevant information and engaging content to prospects and helping them move along the purchase process,” says Stan Richards, founder of The Richards Group, which developed the “Away” campaign.
The storytelling aspect of the new ads serves an important purpose. “The audience sees people just like them, spending time with loved ones in picturesque locations,” says Richards. “These locations are off the beaten path, yet completely accessible, and viewers see the RV as the hero that allowed the families to get there.”
All of the ads, whether print or electronic, “feature a strong call to action, encouraging viewers to visit the website to find a dealer and the RV that’s right for them.”
Dealers should review their advertising immediately to ensure it includes all federally-mandated credit terms and disclosures. According to a news release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Assocation (RVDA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated it plans to more vigorously prosecute deceptive dealership advertising this year while it reviews what, if any, additional regulations are needed.
Greater FTC scrutiny of dealership marketing and F&I practices was the trade-off for exempting dealers from oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and its implementing regulation, called Regulation Z, require that certain information be disclosed to consumers so they can compare credit offerings and shop for the best terms. Previously, advertisers could distort the true cost of the credit by publicizing only the most attractive credit or lease terms in order to get customers into the dealership.
For example, an RV advertisement might have read, “1968 fifth wheel–only $75 per month.” But the consumer couldn’t determine whether it was a good deal without knowing the down payment, number of payments, annual percentage rate and whether the transaction was a credit sale or a lease. TILA requires that advertisements tell the whole story.
If an advertisement contains certain trigger terms, it must also include certain additional information. Regulation Z trigger terms are:
• The amount or percentage of a down payment (i.e., “10% down,” “ $1,000 down,” “90% financing,” “trade-in with $1,000 appraised value required”).
• The amount or percentage of any payment (i.e., “monthly payments less than $250 on all our loan plans,” “pay $23.44 per $1,000 amount borrowed,” “$210.95 per month”).
• The number of payments.
• The period of repayment (i.e., “up to four years to pay,” “48 months to pay”).
• The amount of any finance charge (i.e., “financing costs less than $300 per year,” “less than $1,200 interest”).
If any of those trigger terms are used in an RV sales ad, then all of the following disclosures must appear clearly and conspicuously near the trigger term:
• The amount or percentage of the down payment.
• The terms of repayment (i.e., the number amount and timing of payments).
• The annual percentage rate, which may be abbreviated as “APR” (Dealers also must disclose if an APR can be increased after the credit transaction is complete).
The type of transaction you advertise — closed-end credit, open-end credit, or a consumer lease — determines whether a term is a triggering term and, if so, what disclosures are required. There are similar requirements for advertising an RV lease under Regulation M; however, RVs are infrequently leased to consumers.
For more information, contact Brett Richardson at Info@RVDA.org.
The industry’s quest for a more logical, efficient and timely approach to national trade shows could well lead to the consolidation of all three key current industry events as soon as 2013, RVBUSINESS.com has learned.
Much of the buzz among trade groups and key manufacturers like Thor Industries Inc., based in Jackson Center, Ohio, and Forest River Inc., headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., centers around a relatively early fall date in a centrally located city like Indianapolis.
Could it actually come to pass?
Well, it’s all talk at this point, we’re told, but it’s reportedly more than a casual conversation, as representatives of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), sponsor of the annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville; the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), host of the annual RVDA Con/Expo in Las Vegas; and manufacturers supporting Elkhart County’s Annual RV Open House Week have formed a joint committee to look into the matter.
And there seems to be an atmosphere of compromise in the air.
“The way I look at it is that it’s a lot of peoples’ votes here, you know, and I’m open to whatever’s good for the dealer,” said Forest River President & CEO Pete Liegl, who spearheaded the first Open House Week four years ago. “Obviously, the dealer comes to the Open House. He goes to Louisville. He goes to RVDA. He’s got other functions, 20 groups and all that, and he or she is probably traveling a little more than they want.
“So, whatever we do, I want it to be good for Forest River. I also want it to be good for the dealer and I also want it to be good for the industry.”
Both associations apparently are taking an active role in these preliminary discussions. And while neither is saying much at this point, both agreed to issue written statements in response to RVBUSINESS.com’s inquiries that tended to confirm the perception that both trade groups are keeping an open mind with regard to a topic that only months ago would have been widely viewed as a hot potato.
“Clearly, the role of the trade show is evolving in our industry and in many others as well,” says RVIA President Richard A. Coon. “It is incumbent upon RVIA as an association to play a leadership role in shaping and protecting the RV industry’s future, and one such area is the national show.
“Findings from our research indicate that the industry feels strongly that a national show is a benefit to the industry,” he added. “That said, we realize that some changes are needed to ensure we are best serving our members and the industry as a whole. Therefore, RVIA is having conversations with executives from across the industry to examine the potential size, scope, timing and location of an all-industry event that would better serve the industry’s needs.”
RVDA President Mike Molino sent a similar signal in his prepared statement.
“RVDA is a dealer-driven organization,” said Molino. “The volunteer leaders and staff are truly committed to doing what is best for RV dealers and the industry. More and more dealers are telling us they want us to be as efficient as we possibly can with their time and money. We are listening. We believe we would be negligent to our obligations if we did not look for better ways to schedule shows and make our RV Learning Center programs accessible to more dealers. We look forward to exploring opportunities with our industry partners at RVIA.”
Bob Martin, president of Keystone RV Co., Thor’s largest division, says he’s “definitely open” to considering alternative approaches after comparing notes with a wide variety of industry factions – keeping in mind that, due to current facilities commitments, the soonest a real change could take place would probably be 2013.
“You know, it actually came up at RVDA in our Partners in Progress meeting,” said Martin. “The dealers are throwing out many different ideas of whether you combine one or two of the venues or change the time of year. So, for us, we’re going to do what’s best for the dealers, and if there’s a way to combine, we’d definitely be open to it because it (the current situation) is a huge drain on us financially, a drain on our time – having Louisville, Open House and RVDA. And, you know, I was gone all of this past fall (at shows), and it just makes it very tough on your family life as well.”
The RV Assistance Corp. (RVAC) has donated an additional $3,000 to the RV Learning Center, bringing its total contribution to $26,000. RVAC is the for-profit subsidiary of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) that develops member benefits for the association.
“Dealers using RVDA-endorsed business products and services enable RVAC to continue to support an array of employee educational resources available through the RV Learning Center,” said RVAC Chairman Tom Stinnett of Tom Stinnett Derby City RV in Clarksville, Ind., and co-chair of the Go RVing Coalition. “Providing financial support for continuing education programs is another way that RVAC programs benefit RVDA members and the entire industry.”
“We are thankful for RVAC’s support during a challenging time for the RV Learning Center and all non-profits that depend on charitable contributions,” said RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio. “As we near the end of the year, it is an ideal time to think about giving back to an industry that has been very good to many of us by making a tax-deductible contribution to the RV Learning Center.”
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through educational resources such as publications, workshops, online products, training, and certification programs.
For more information on the 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.
Travel trailers and fifth-wheels will continue to star in 2012, bunk bed models will be hot but diesel coaches will not, and no one is looking forward to the possible side effects that the presidential election season may have on the marketplace. That’s the consensus of RV dealers who were interviewed recently for the December issue of RV Executive Today.
After several lean years, many dealers say they will add full-time positions in the next 12 months, particularly in the service and sales departments. Some retailers believe consumer confidence will improve markedly and have already seen signs of pent-up demand giving way in their showrooms.
A few are starting to ramp up for what they believe will be a gangbusters recovery, while others aren’t expecting confidence levels to rise significantly in 2012.
For more, read “What does the future hold for 2012?” in the upcoming issue of RV Executive Today.
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent fact-finding roundtable on dealer lending practices signals that the commission may try to further regulate dealership financing.
According to a press release, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and other dealer groups, including NADA, firmly “believe that consumers already have adequate protections and that more regulatory barriers to vehicle financing would hurt the RV industry and the overall economy.”
RVDA said that the FTC is under intense pressure from consumer groups to more tightly regulate dealership financing. A major area of concern for RV dealers is the commission’s investigation into how dealership F&I departments generate revenue by marking up lender wholesale rates.
Rate markups are likely to be a priority for the newly created Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). RVDA and its allies are deeply concerned that the bureau will indirectly regulate dealership compensation by pushing to establish a flat rate reimbursement policy on the banks it oversees. These banks in turn may be limited to compensating dealers with a flat rate for the transaction, rather than a percentage of the loan.
RVDA will keep dealers updated on this important issue through email alerts and RV Executive Today. For more information click here.
According to an article in the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) RV Executive Today, all RV dealers must display a controversial new poster from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that informs employees of their right to form or join a labor union.
Starting Jan. 31, most private sector employers will be required to place the poster on their break room walls. Employers can download the poster for free at the NLRB website, http://www.nlrb.gov/poster.
Employers who fail to post the notice risk being charged with an unfair labor practice by violating employees’ rights to engage in collective or organizing activity. The NLRB also may toll the six-month statute of limitations on separate charges filed by an employee.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several other pro-business groups claim this new requirement exceeds the NLRB’s authority and have sued to block its implementation and enforcement. RVDA will keep members informed of any new developments.
The following is a letter issued by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) urging members to take action toward preserving the second home mortgage interest deduction.
A proposal from the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Congressional Super Committee) includes the elimination of the second home mortgage interest deduction, which includes most types of RVs.
Since negotiations are confidential, there is no way to know whether this provision will be in the final deficit reduction plan until after the plan is finalized. The Super Committee is meeting now, so it is time to act to prevent the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction.
Please contact your U.S. senators and representatives via e-mail today. A suggested message is below, followed by links to reach your senators and representatives.
Suggested e-mail message to preserve tax deductilbilty of RV loans:
As a small business person and RV dealer I am very concerned about the possibility of the Congressional Super Committee targeting second home mortgage interest deductibility as a means to reduce the deficit.
The ability to deduct interest on a motorhome or travel trailer is a major consideration that my customers take into account when purchasing an RV. RV buyers are predominantly middle class and very price conscious. The ability to deduct the interest on their RV loan helps hundreds of thousands of American consumers to fulfill their dream of buying an RV. Right now, our business is in slow recovery, and any change in the tax status of RV loans will hurt our industry and cost American jobs.
As a small business owner, I am very much in favor of getting America’s finances in order. But balancing the budget by raising taxes on middle class RV owners is wrong.
I strongly urge you to do everything possible to retain the second home mortgage interest deduction as it relates to RVs.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) launched its first Trouble Shooter Clinic featuring a new “Career Ladder” format this week (Nov. 7-10) at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind. The revamped “hands-on” training classes are structured for both experienced RV technicians and new mechanics requiring a basic overview of RV operating systems.
“We’ve been providing RV technicians with Trouble Shooter clinics since the late 1980’s, and every time we staged one technicians would ask for more ‘hands-on’ and diagnostic training,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president, standards and education. “So, we started splitting technicians based upon their years of training — a guy with 20 years of RV repair wasn’t getting the full benefit of the clinic when the instructor was having to spend class time educating a new guy or girl on the basics.”
According to Hopkins, the new Career Ladder format also reflects the changing environment at RV repair centers where technicians are increasingly specializing in just one or two areas.
“In the past, if technicians did well in our testing program, they would be certified — and if they did exceedingly well and had at least five years’ experience, they would become master-certified. But, again, feedback from the technicians indicated that some shops were so specialized they didn’t need overall certification but specialized training in specific repairs. Our Career Ladder training accomplishes this. At the same time, we added a ‘Foundation’ class for new technicians to learn the basics.”
The Trouble Shooter Clinic in South Bend, offered to technicians already holding RVDA/RVIA RV Service Technician certification, included tracks on chassis, power sources and appliances. In addition, a Foundation track open to all technicians covered basic knowledge of RV plumbing systems, propane, pre-delivery inspection (PDI), preventative maintenance, basis electricity, fire and safety and customer care.
Each track also is further segmented for ease of understanding. The Chassis track, for example, is broken down into towing and hitches, axles and frames, and hydraulics, while technicians taking the Power Sources track were schooled on the latest developments and repairs to 30- and 50-amp power systems, batteries, generators, converters, inverters and transfer switches.
Additionally, each segment within the specific track offered instruction by experts within those specific fields. Within the chassis track, personnel from the Cequent Group provided training for the towing and hitches portion, while advisors from Lippert Components led training on hydraulics and a crew from Dexter Axle mentored techs on axles and frames.
Other tracks featured training by personnel from Harris Battery, Magnum Energy, Precision circuits, Generac, Onan, Parallax Power Supply, Norcold, Dometic, Suburban, Atwood Mobile Products and others.
“The new tracks offer more for the experienced technician,” said Sharonne Lee, RVIA director of technical information. “Another benefit is the tracks make it possible for technicians to be away from the shop for a shorter period of time and provide continuing education credits for recertification.”
The next Trouble Shooter Clinic is scheduled for March, also at the Century Center. More information and an application can be found on the RVIA website, www.rvia.org, or by calling Nancy Jo Bell-London at (703) 620-6003, ext. 355.
Marty Shea of Madison RV Supercenter in Madison, Ala., has been appointed chairman of the RV Service Technician Certification Governing Board, a joint function of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
He replaces Mark Bretz of Bretz RV & Marine in Missoula, Mont., who served in the post for five years and on the governing board for six years. Shea was appointed to chair the governing board by RVDA Chairman Andy Heck, according to a news release.
Shea is a past chairman of the RVDA board of directors and serves as co-chairman of the Go RVing Committee on Excellence.
Shea and Debbie Brunoforte of Little Dealer, Little Prices in Mesa, Ariz., were elected to the governing board by the RVDA board at a meeting on Oct. 3.
“Marty Shea has a strong commitment to improving the service experience for RV owners,” said Heck. “His experience will be extremely valuable as the governing board implements the new RV technician career ladder in the coming months.”
The RVDA-RVIA RV Service Technician Certification Governing Board oversees certification standards developed by RV industry technical experts under the supervision of educational testing professionals from the National Occupational Competence Testing Institute (NOCTI).
RV dealers nationwide have once again ranked Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. in an elite class for design, reliability, quality, value and competitive pricing, the Red Bay, Ala., company reminded North America’s RV industry in a Monday (Oct. 17) press release.
“For the eighth consecutive year,” the release states, “the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) has honored Tiffin with the prestigious Quality Circle Award. Dealers singled out only five U.S. Class A RV manufacturers for the 2011 award, based on a formal dealer survey.”
The award was Tiffin’s 13th overall. Based on RVDA’s 18th annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey, it was presented along with other manufacturers’ Quality Circle Awards at a gala Oct. 5 dinner during RVDA’s RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
To qualify for the Quality Circle Award, brands/manufacturers must receive at least 15 dealer responses and score at least 80 percent in overall dealer satisfaction. On a five-point scale, with five being “outstanding,” Tiffin’s average score was 4.73, the company reported. The overall motorized industry average was 4.15.
Tiffin, founded in 1972 in Red Bay, Ala., is a leading Class A motorhome builder with brands that include the Allegro, Allegro RED, Allegro Breeze, Phaeton, Allegro Bus and Zephyr. Tiffin’s Phaeton diesel pusher has been the best-selling Class A coach for the past three years, followed closely by Tiffin’s upscale Allegro Bus, the company reports.
“We are humbled by the high marks we continue to receive from dealers, but the Quality Circle Award represents close communication, mutual respect and strong partnerships between Tiffin Motorhomes and dealers,” said General Manager Tim Tiffin. “We use the dealer satisfaction survey results to learn how we and our dealers can better serve our customers.”
A total of 484 U.S. and Canadian dealers responded to this year’s confidential survey with more than 2,500 ratings.
When all is said and done, people will remember this year’s RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 3-7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, for how upbeat it was in spite of the rampant negativity of today’s newspaper headlines, says Mike Molino, president of the Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
Fact is, looking back at everything that transpired at the Con/Expo, from the pulse of the whole event – from the workshops to the trade exhibits, the Partners in Progress Brand Committee meetings and the all-industry gala at which RVDA presented its Quality Circle Awards for the first time — Molino suspects that the industry may well rebound from the nation’s current economic lull much quicker than a lot of people think.
RVBUSINESS.com touched bases with Molino this week regarding the Con/Expo, an event that was co-sponsored with RVDA of Canada and drew almost the exact same attendance as 2010 — a total of 1,078 registrants, half of them dealers. Here are the highlights of that conversation:
RVBUSINESS.com: So, Mike, now that you’re back in D.C. and have had a chance to reflect, how did the Con/Expo go in your estimation?
I was surprisingly pleased. It was much better than I expected as far as attendance. I knew we were going to have a good program. I knew we were going to have good speakers. I knew the change in the format and delivery was going to be very strong and make it a much better event. But I was pleased that we had almost as many people there this year with all the diversions. And, actually, from a business perspective, things were better than last year. And that pleased me very much.
RVBUSINESS.com: We particularly heard good things about the “Partners in Progress” brand meetings, a series of sessions involving manufacturers and their respective dealers that has become an RVDA industry exclusive – and one that seems to be gaining favor among industry players.
Yeah, they went well. They were better staged, better organized because of the efforts of the brand committee chairmen and my own staff people. The brand committee chairmen have much more experience now. I also think there’s a much better understanding between dealers and manufacturers on issues. The give and take that we had hoped for at many of the brand committees has started to take place and is moving along very well. You know, I don’t think it’s universal and that everyone unanimously feels the same way about the brand meetings, but I know it’s better in almost all of them – much less adversarial.
RVBUSINESS.com: The new Wednesday night dinner gala certainly brings a new twist to the Con/Expo, keying as it does on manufacturers’ Circle of Excellence awards.
It went well. You know, we had the same sort of growing pains that any new venture has as far as the presentations and how we staged it and that sort of stuff. But all in all, I think it was a good event. I was impressed by the number of people who paid extra to come to it. That was almost a surprise to us because with the cost of food in Vegas, it gets very expensive to include the dinner into the registration fee. So, we made it a separately ticketed event. We didn’t charge the full amount of the dinner if you were registered (for the convention), but we charged part of the amount for the dinner, and we were pretty well sold out. We couldn’t have done that without the support of the convention sponsors. They actually sponsored the dinner as well.
All in all, I think it went well. I think it showed a lot more respect for the manufacturers who won those awards (versus the way RVDA used to present the awards at the Louisville Show). And having that many recipients is really a testimony to the improvement that’s gone on.
We should point out that we didn’t raise the bar (for qualifying Circle of Excellence Award winners). We kept the bar at 80%. The first time we did the awards, we only had one manufacturer get over 80 (percent). And now, having 32 brand award winners based on at least 15 dealer reports each at 80% — and having the dramatic increase in participation this year — that shows me that the DSI (Dealer Satisfaction Index) program, the Quality Circle program, is very valuable.
Dealers consider them very important, and I know manufacturers are really beginning to consider them important, too. It’s helping to improve those things that the dealers deem important in a relationship, from the quality of the vehicle, vehicle design and also in the after sale service that the dealer has to be involved with. When we do it (the event) again, I would change some of the ways that we do it. But I think that the idea of making a presentation at a dinner at the dealers’ convention is a good idea that we intend to continue.
RVBUSINESS.com: What’s your sense of the industry’s general outlook right now with regard to 2012 and beyond?
Hey, let’s face it: No economist has ever predicted a boom in the RV industry, even though they’re pretty good at predicting downturns before they begin. And they’re not predicting one now. I mean, you’re not going to get that, although most would tell you after the fact that if you’d read between the lines you’d see that they had in fact predicted an upswing.
You know, we brought in (to the Con/Expo) two of the brightest young economists that GE Capital has, and the outlook reflected in their presentations at the convention was pretty dismal on the short term. On the long term, though, it was very, very optimistic.
Well those long term optimistic indicators may kick in earlier than people think and, before you know it, we’ll have manufacturers not able to keep up with the pipeline, not having product on their lots when the customer’s in there demanding it.
So, I see that could start happening tomorrow. It could start happening in the spring, and it certainly will happen by 2013. When it’s going to start, nobody’s going to predict that. You know, conventional wisdom – and I said as much recently in my presentation at the FRVTA convention in Florida – is not to expect anything next year because it’s an election year. And, right now, everybody’s expecting next year to be pretty bad or maybe pretty steady and normal. And I still think that this thing’s going to turn around a lot quicker than anybody’s predicting right now.
Tim O’Brien, 2010-2011 Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) chairman, presented Chairman’s Service Awards to four dealers and three associate members during RVDA’s annual meeting at the 2011 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
According to a press release, all four of the honored dealers have extensive records of service on RVDA boards and committees, and O’Brien thanked them for their unflagging support and commitment. “At a time when resources are stretched, it’s important to have dealers like these four in your corner,” he said.
Receiving awards were: Peter Albano of American RV, Olive Branch, Miss.; Randy Biles of Pikes Peak Traveland, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Debbie Brunoforte of Little Dealer, Little Prices, Mesa, Ariz.; and Dan Pearson of PleasureLand RV Center, St. Cloud, Minn.
Albano currently serves as co-chairman of the Government Relations Committee and as chairman of the Convention/Expo Committee. He is also an at-large member of the Board of Delegates.
Biles, a past chairman of the board, currently is co-chairman of the Industry Relations Committee while also serving on the RV Learning Center and RV Assistance Corp. boards, and on the RVDA-RVIA Technician Certification Governing Board.
Brunoforte, the association’s immediate past chairman, is an RVDA representative on the Go RVing Coalition, co-chairs the Industry Relations Committee, and chairs a special past chairman’s task force that works on special association projects. She also chaired the task force that worked on this year’s “Celebrate Excellence Gala.”
Pearson is a past RVDA president (chief volunteer leader) and a champion of efforts that led to the formation of Go RVing. Currently, he serves as vice chairman of the RV Learning Center and chairman of the Winnebago Brand Committee. He is also a member of the RV Assistance Corp. board.
O’Brien also presented service awards to: Associate Member Mark Beecher, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Consumer Finance Group of Bank of the West; Bill Koster, vice president of RV & specialty products, Protective; and Bob Parish, vice president, national account manager, GE Capital.
O’Brien praised Beecher, who currently co-chairs the RVDA Dealer Financial Services Committee, for being “an invaluable resource to dealers and RVDA staff as we all navigate the ‘new normal’ of RV financing.”
Koster, who serves as treasurer on the RV Learning Center board, was honored for his efforts to grow and market Protective’s XtraRide service agreement, which has earned RVDA endorsement since 1992. “Through convention sponsorship and marketing communications efforts in RVDA media, he has worked closely with our association to grow the program into a market leader and important revenue source for RVDA,” said O’Brien.
Parish was honored for his sponsorship of the convention and for organizing an educational session on the future of the RV industry. “Through Bob, dealers and association leaders have also been able to get information about the state of floor plan financing directly from GE leaders,” said O’Brien. “We appreciate his efforts to keep the line of communication open and GE’s support of RV dealers and RVDA throughout the year.”
Bert Alanko of MBA Insurance in Scottsdale, Ariz,, received the James B. Summers (JBS) Award during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo on Oct. 5.
According to a press release, Alanko was honored for his long-time commitment and wide-ranging involvement in the RV Dealers Association (RVDA) the RV Rental Association (RVRA).
Alanko has served on the RVDA board as RVRA chairman since 1991, making him the longest serving board member in the association’s history. He currently co-chairs the RVDA Membership Committee and has served on the Convention/Expo Committee. His company also supports the association through contributions to the RV Learning Center, advertising in RV Executive Today magazine and as a convention/expo exhibitor and sponsor.
“Not only has Bert attended nearly every convention in the last 25 years, he has actively supported them in every way possible,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “He is an active membership recruiter for the association and a valuable member of the RVDA board.”
The JBS Award, created in 1986, is named in honor of RVDA’s second chief staff officer James B. Summers, who passed away in 2010. It is the highest award a member can receive for consistent and outstanding service to the association. The board of directors selects the winner each year by secret ballot from among nominations submitted by association members.