At a summer meeting of the board of directors of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Thetford’s Mary Pouliot became vice chairman of the Certification Governing Board, according to an announcement from Thetford.
Pouliot, who has served as Thetford’s director of customer service since 2006, was a member of the committee before being named vice chairman.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me personally,” Pouliot said. “Thetford is committed to leading the RV industry, and I am happy to represent our company and our industry.” Pouliot is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and has an MBA from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration.
“We are thrilled to see Mary taking on this leadership role,” said Kevin Philips, president, North America. “She is the perfect choice to help RVIA advance our industry.”
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thetford is the world’s leading supplier of sanitation and refrigeration products for the RV, marine and heavy-duty truck industries. It is a privately-held company with seven manufacturing facilities in four nations.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 2013 Industry Profile, which provides a statistical portrait of RV production and sales from last year, has been published and is now available to the industry.
The publication offers a detailed look at RV production and shipment statistics, including historical comparisons of shipment figures and dollar volume as well as production breakdowns by product type and shipment destination.
Key findings from the 2013 Industry Profile include:
• Wholesale RV shipments reached their highest annual level since 2007 at 321,100 units, a 12.4% increase over the previous year.
• The total retail value of those shipments neared $13 billion ($12.9 billion), a nearly 20% increase over the $10.8 billion total in 2012.
• Indiana continues to lead the country in RV production, manufacturing 79.5% off all RVs in the U.S.
• Texas is the top destination for RV shipments, receiving 8.6% of total shipments. California (6.36%), Michigan (4.65%), Florida (4.03%) and Ohio (3.69%) round out the top five.
An analysis of the production highlights and a demographic profile of the RV consumer are also included in the publication.
A copy of the 2013 Industry Profile was sent to all RVIA members. Additional copies for members as well as industry contacts are available through the publications store at rvia.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported that it has put RVs in the media spotlight with a spate of high-profile stories and interviews in major news outlets. According to the RVIA Today Express newsletter, recent highlights include:
- On June 23, long-time RVIA spokespersons Brad and Amy Herzog appeared on FOX Business’s “The Willis Report” to offer RV travel tips against the backdrop of a Winnebago Tribute motorhome. While in New York, the Herzogs also taped a segment for the “Better Show,” a nationally-syndicated TV program. That interview will air in the next few weeks.
- On June 27, Thor CEO Bob Martin was interviewed on CNBC about the industry’s resurgence and the continued growth of the RV market. Martin told viewers that RVing is growing in popularity not just among baby boomers nearing retirement, but also among younger demographics.
- From June 27-30, editors for Jalopnik.com, a major automotive website, took a Fleetwood Storm motorhome provided by RVIA to the NASCAR race in Watkins Glen, NY. Preliminary coverage that includes the RV went up on the site during the weekend, and more is expected in the coming days.
- A June 9 story on AmericanProfile.com published a story focused on the history of RVing. The article included an overview of today’s RV market, as well amenities currently available in RVs.
For a complete list of RV media coverage, visit the News Room at RVIA.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will officially open its new regional office in Elkhart, Ind., on May 1 and host an open house for members and guests from 1-5 p.m. on the afternoon of May 8 following the RVBusiness RV Industry Power Breakfast program that morning.
After announcing plans to establish the office at RVIA’s Annual Meeting in March, association staff have been working the last two months on the administrative and logistical details to open the facility, which is located in an office complex in eastern Elkhart at 663 CR 17.
RVIA’s regional office will be staffed by Sharonne Lee, RVIA’s director of education, who is moving to the Elkhart area from the association’s Reston, Va., headquarters, and Scott Graham, the newly hired national show director, who is relocating from his previous job with the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colo. There will also be offices for RVIA’s team of inspectors to work from as needed when in the area, RVIA said today (April 24) in a written announcement.
“In looking at how to structure the office we felt that having elements of the show, RV standards inspection and industry technical training functions staffed there offered the best approach as these areas typically have the most regular interaction between RVIA’s members and staff,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “Sharonne and Scott are eager to get started at the new office, and I know that both will do a fantastic job in representing RVIA in the Elkhart area.”
There will also be office space for other RVIA vice presidents and senior staff to use when traveling to Elkhart on association business. “In addition to the personnel who will be based there permanently, we are making it a priority to have other RVIA staff in Elkhart to meet with members at their facilities or to host them at the regional office so we can develop a keener understanding of the issues impacting their businesses and they can learn more about all that RVIA does on their behalf,” Coon said.
“With the consolidation of the RV industry, now more than ever a great majority of our members are located in northern Indiana,” he added. “As an association we felt it was important to establish this regional office to provide easier access to RVIA for our members, to enhance the lines of communication that we have with them, and to have the association become a part of the community.”
Following up on a March board decision, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has begun setting up a regional office in a sedate, one-level office complex near the intersection of County Road 17 and Middlebury Street on the east side of the RV-building center of Elkhart, Ind.
In fact, RVIA staff members are on site today (April 16) at 663 C.R. 17, a contemporary, one-level complex just south of Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant that’s easily accessible from both U.S. 20 to the south and the Indiana Toll Road to the north.
“I think the board recognized that having a visible presence in Elkhart, especially with the industry consolidating largely in that area, is good for RVIA from a member relations standpoint,” reported James Ashurst, vice president of communications and marketing for the Reston, Va.-based trade group representing a majority of the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers.
Although RVIA hasn’t released details yet about staffing or a formal opening of the new offices, it’s expected to do so in the near future and, perhaps, in RVIA President Richard Coon’s remarks at the upcoming RV Industry Power Breakfast May 8 at Elkhart’s Northern Indiana Event Center and RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“All things considered, it’s a good visible location for us and, you know, I think that in addition to the staff that will be there permanently, you’re going to see more of RVIA’s leadership there on a weekly and monthly basis,” Ashurst told RVBUSINESS.com. “In addition, it gives the RVIA staff a place to work out of when in town, and I think you’ll see more RVIA staff in Elkhart on a regular basis, you know, working out of that office as well as visiting members all across the Elkhart region.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) unveiled its newest efforts today (April 15) in trying to address the transportation backlogs that are troubling the RV industry as it continues to grow.
Roughly 30 representatives of 16 RV transport companies gathered with RVIA representatives at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., to hear about RVIA’s new partnership with The Employment Network to try to attract more drivers to the industry, as well as the industry association’s efforts to relax some federal transport guidelines.
It was an unprecedented gathering for a fragmented sector of the industry as only five transport companies are part of RVIA.
“A big portion of the transporting industry’s is here – high-quality transporters,” said RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert, looking around the room. In his role as a general manager at Forest River Inc., Gaeddert works with many of the transport companies and knows the difficulties facing the industry.
Dave Miller, head of Elkhart-based CWRV Transport and formerly of Horizon Transport, said CWRV needs drivers like the rest of the industry. “We’re like everyone else. We’re about half the size we need to be.”
Diane Farrell, vice president of government affairs for RVIA, noted, “We have an issue that is disrupting the flow of business in our industry and we need to get something done about it. We have a big problem. We have a shortage of drivers, it’s delaying delivery and it’s costing all of us a lot of money — manufacturers, transporters and dealers.”
She added, “How big is the problem? According to some of our members, right now it’s taking them five to six weeks to get their RVs delivered to the dealers, and they’re saying that they have about 25,000 to 30,000 units this month sitting on lots, built and waiting to be delivered to dealers. Members are telling us they think there’s a driver shortage of at least 2,000 drivers.”
Farrell told RVBUSINESS.com that she asked around, checking with other trade associations, and learned about The Employment Network through automotive trade groups.
Farrell reported that through its findtherightjob.com site, The Employment Network will work with RV transport companies to find out exactly what they need. The Employment Network will find applicants, screen them, and then pass the screened, qualified applicants on to the transport companies. The transport companies will pay on a per-qualified-applicant basis, but can set whatever limits they desire to limit costs.
“We think of this as a true partnership. Let us know what you’re looking us for and let us know what’s historically working for you,” said Kristy Fallon, COO of The Employment Network.
The company can get a listing online in under an hour, she said, and the listings can be as targeted as the company wants. For instance, if companies are looking for drivers in the Phoenix area, they won’t see applicants from New Brunswick.
The RVIA will promote the findtherightjob.com channel “every chance we get,” Gaeddert said.
In addition to the new tool to find qualified drivers, RVIA’s Jay Landers, senior director of government affairs, said RVIA is working with federal regulators and Congress to lighten weight standards for transporting RVs. Instead of basing the threshold for requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) on gross vehicle weight, for transport the threshold would be based on the actual weight of the empty units.
“Drivers would still need a CDL to transport anything heavier than 26,000 pounds, but the weight would be figured by the actual weight of the vehicle,” Landers said “That change is in process and could take effect in about six months, he said.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is continuing to accept registrations for a special webinar the association is hosting to review the upcoming 2014 editions of several RV standards on April 17 from 10 a.m. to noon EDST.
According to a report in RVIA Today Express, RVIA’s Senior Director of Standards Kent Perkins and Chief Inspector/Standards Administrator John Proteau will host the session that will examine the NFPA 1192 Standard on Recreational Vehicles, ANSI LV, and National Electrical code 551. Other topics will include the new NFPA code making process, the RVIA handbook process and other technical issues.
RV manufacturers, suppliers and industry members with standards responsibilities are encouraged to take part in the webinar to learn how changes to the various standards will impact their specific company and the industry.
“We are hosting this webinar instead of an on-site seminar this cycle in order to reduce costs, and hopefully allow more interested parties the opportunity to learn firsthand about the 2014 code changes and respective RV handbook enforcement positions,” said Perkins.
The cost for attending is $175 per terminal/connection. The number of connections available will be limited so early registration is encouraged. To access the registration form, click here and submit to Gatie Gore at email@example.com or fax to (703) 620-5071. Forms must be returned by April 7. For additional information, call (703) 620-6003, ext. 348.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week 2014 is set for June 1-5 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C.
During the five-day event, the association’s standing committees, Executive Committee and board meet to plan the organization’s agenda for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also convene at this event on June 2.
In addition to the full schedule of committee meetings, other key events planned for Committee Week include:
• The 2015 RV Market Outlook: Economist Richard Curtin, director of consumer research at the University of Michigan, will provide his first forecast for the RV market in 2015 and discuss the current economic climate.
• RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day – RVIA members will visit Capitol Hill on June 4 to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss key legislative and regulatory issues critical to the RV industry.
• Networking Events – Several joint-committee luncheons and receptions will give Committee Week participants the opportunity to establish, renew and build upon the relationships critical to business success.
The Mayflower Renaissance Washington is a luxury hotel and historic landmark. Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington, DC’s “Second Best Address” after the White House, the hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a Historic Hotel of America. Located just blocks from the White House, metro stops and dining and cultural hot spots, the 4-diamond property offers a splendid center for exploring the city.
For more information about Committee Week, RVIA members should contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RV wholesale shipments to retailers zoomed higher in February, climbing 18% to 30,826 units, the largest February total in eight years. Improvements were greatest for motorhomes which grew 31.7% over February last year to 3,737 units while towable RVs expanded 16.4% to 27,089 units. In spite of continued horrid weather across most of the country, February’s wholesale deliveries to retailers brought year to date totals to 56,293 units, an 11.5% gain over the first two months last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, February shipments were at an annual rate of more than 380,000 units.
Speaking to members at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Annual Membership Meeting, RVIA President Richard Coon discussed a number of issues on the association’s agenda that have implications for the RV industry. According to a press release, the meeting took place at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif., on March 6.
Coon told attendees that the RV market is expected to continue its recent growth trend through 2014 based on the latest RV wholesale projections from economist Richard Curtin in the Spring 2013 issue of RV Roadsigns. “RVIA is projecting that nearly 340,000 units will be shipped this year, which would be about a 6% increase over the 2013 year-end total of 321,100 units,” he said.
He also discussed key objectives and initiatives that the association has been focusing on in recent months. These include:
• Working on the plan to open a regional office in Elkhart, Ind., in the near future.
• Establishing and strengthening relationships with influential public and private campground operators.
• Updating the NFPA 1195 standards for park model RVs.
• Implementing a new pilot program at locations in Texas, Louisiana, Oregon and Washington to “put boots on the ground” to promote industry technician training and certification programs.
• Continuing work to harmonize U.S. and Canadian RV standards by 2017.
• Lobbying to change the regulations for transport drivers needing CDL licenses to help improve the RV transport issue in the future and to exclude motorhomes from EPA and NHTSA’s Phase 2 medium and heavy duty greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards.
• Continuing to work with industry members to capitalize on business opportunities found in Asia’s developing RV markets.
Coon stressed that in addition to these issues RVIA continues to also focus on representing members’ interests across a broad range of areas. “The association is working diligently everyday to help our member companies grow and succeed.”