A search committee has been assembled to find a successor for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon. The move coincides with Coon’s announced retirement on Oct. 1 during this week’s RVIA Annual Meeting at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Sarasota, Fla.
Chaired by RVIA Chairman Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Jayco Inc., the committee will include Dicor Corp. President Gregg Fore and Doug Gaeddert, a general manager for Forest River Inc. – both past RVIA chairmen – along with Gary Enyart of Cummins Inc., Matt Miller of Newmar Corp., Bob Parish of GE Capital, and Kevin Phillips of Thetford Corp.
The committee will meet next week, and they expect to announce a final candidate this summer, perhaps as early as RVIA Committee Week, May 31-June 4 in Washington, D.C.
“We will look both inside the industry and outside,” Bontrager said. “There are a lot of qualified candidates out there. We’re not necessarily looking for an RV industry expert. We’re more interested in somebody who’s a great leader. Some knowledge of the industry will be helpful, obviously, but we’re interested in a team builder who is able to adapt to what I believe are going to be some changes in the market and the industry with all the consolidation that’s going on and other challenges we’re facing.”
Bontrager said he anticipates the successor will have a few months of working alongside Coon prior to his retirement. “We think there needs to be some overlap, and the length of time will depend on who the candidate is, quite frankly, and their level of experience in the industry,” he said.
The overlap is similar to the six-month period in which Coon worked alongside his predecessor, David Humphreys. Coon thought that particular time period was excessive, but added “it all depends on the candidate.”
“Let’s say it’s someone within the organization, within RVIA – and there are candidates within RVIA – obviously that person is more up to speed than somebody coming from outside of the industry,” Coon said. “The sooner the better, obviously, that they identify somebody. Ideally, they might have an appointment by Committee Week, but that might be pretty quick. Having a three-month overlap probably would be about right.” Coon added that he’s willing to stay longer if more time is needed.
Fore said choosing Coon’s successor is going to be based on the “committee’s assumptions of what we see taking place over the next 10 years.”
“We don’t have any assumptions on candidates. I think we’ll find that we have several well-qualified candidates. The hard part will be selecting the person that best matches our thoughts on the future,” Fore said. “Certainly, during the next person’s tenure, there more than likely will be a downturn in the industry to some extent. All of us hope it’s not going to be very bad, but there will probably be one.
“We will continue to see retirement from our ranks in the association as the staff ages so we have to be prepared to manage that,” Fore continued. “We have to be prepared to manage the continued regulation and legislation issues. We have to continue to manage the likelihood of continued consolidation in the industry. So as we look at a candidate, we’ll be looking at those abilities and try to match the person with those abilities, and support that person staffwise to make sure that we’re well-rounded and well-grounded going into the future.”
Gaeddert said it’s too early in the process to discuss much about the search, but acknowledged there are “excellent candidates inside the association, but obviously also excellent candidates outside the association.”
“We’ll have to see what turns up, and we’ll go through a thorough process that Derald will lead us through,” Gaeddert said. “But there are no preconditions. I don’t have any preconceived notions personally. There’s a lot of talent out there. This is a fun industry and in a good place at a good time. Richard’s shoes will be tough to fill but we’ll fill them either internally or externally.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is unveiling a free comprehensive track of technical training seminars from some of the industry’s leading supplier companies during the National RV Trade Show and is providing a $200 payment to RV dealerships that have service personnel attend the sessions.
Targeting RV technicians as well as parts and service managers, the seven seminars will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 3-4. Participants will receive certificates and continuing education credits for each session attended. There is no charge to attend the seminars, and RVIA will offer RV dealers a $200 stipend to help offset some of the cost of bringing RV technical personnel to the show for the seminars. The seminar sessions include:
Wednesday, Dec. 3
8-10 a.m./Room C101 — “The Attitude of Troubleshooting presented by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor” — Often times there is very little difference between an outstanding RV service shop and a mediocre shop, but that little difference can make a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it’s positive or contrary. The same holds true for the individual service technician, especially in the approach taken when troubleshooting a seemingly complex technical problem. This session is geared for RV service managers to take and then present it to their technicians in their own service facility.
10-11 a.m./Room C104 — “Atwood Mobile Products – New Product Overview” — Atwood Mobile Products LLC will present an overview of the features and benefits of the new rapid heat furnaces, air command air conditioners, helium refrigerators, and on-demand water heaters in a session designed for parts and service managers.
11 a.m. to noon/Room C101 – “Lippert Components – New Product Overview” — Lippert Components will offer an overview of the features and benefits for service and parts managers of new aftermarket products including new advancements in waste management, towing products, steps, and sleep solutions for the motorized and towable RV markets.
1-2 p.m. /Room C104 — “Thetford/Norcold – New Product Overview” — Thetford and Norcold will provide an overview of the features and benefits of large gas absorption refrigerators, small refrigeration units, and sanitation evacuation systems for service and parts managers.
2-5 p.m./Room C104 — “Thetford/Norcold – New Product Technician Training” — This session from Thetford and Norcold will offer in-depth, hands-on technical training for RV technicians and service center employees on large gas absorption refrigerators, small refrigeration units, and sanitation evacuation systems.
Thursday, Dec. 4
8 a.m. to noon/Room C101 — “Lippert Components – New Product Technician Training” — Lippert Components will provide in-depth, hands-on technical training for RV technicians and service center employees on the following products:
• StrapTek — Simplifies weight distribution hitch system for trailers by employing a ratchet winch and heavy-duty polyester straps instead of traditional chains and snap-up brackets. Strap Tek allows users to safely adjust weight distribution spring bars on their trailer with a standard socket wrench. It also provides sway control and is compatible with most weight distribution hitch systems.
• Project 2000 Bedlift — Lippert Components is the exclusive distributer for the Italian-based Project 2000 Bedlift system. Quiet and sophisticated, it uses nylon straps instead of chains to quietly lift and lower the bed into place. Designed to lift or lower in a garage, dinette or driver’s seat. Powered by a sophisticated gear motor. Bedlift is controlled by a central unit with five programming levels. The lift completely fits under the bed frame, offering maximum fitting flexibility. It has a manual mode in case of emergency.
• Linc Pad — Utilizes a local area network hub, which broadcasts its own wireless signal. The Linc Pad communicates with the master control panel wirelessly, controlling slide rooms, awnings, lighting and landing gear, and monitoring water tanks and battery levels. Linc Pad communicates wirelessly to the controller, so switch panels and interfaces no longer need to be wired, saving time and labor. New versions of the Linc Pad will also include the myRV app, which OEM’s will upload all of their service and owner’s manuals, how-to videos, FAQ’s, and useful links to RV related sites. The Linc Pad with myRV will be the all-in-one control hub for your RV.
• Waste Master – The RV industry’s first all-in-one sewer hose and storage device. It provides a clean, quick and easy waste management solution. The sewer hose nozzle simply extends out of the front compartment door, while the other end permanently connects to the existing sewer outlet terminal end. Designed with helical wear barriers on the outside, leaving the inside smoother so sewage can flow freely from the RV. The unique nozzle design fits easily into any sewage inlet.
1-5 p.m./Room C104 — “Atwood Mobile Products – New Product Technician Training” — Atwood Mobile Products will provide in-depth, hands-on technical training for RV technicians and service center employees on the following products:
• Atwood Rapid Heat Furnaces — These are the next generation of RV furnaces engineered with an innovative tubular heat exchanger exclusive to Atwood. Smarter, lighter, and faster, Atwood furnaces maximize air distribution to reach desired temperature quicker. With vertical and horizontal mounting options and the most duct configurations in the industry, Atwood maximizes floor plan flexibility.
• Atwood Air Command Air Conditioners — These products are designed to withstand the rigors of the harshest elements while delivering the coolest air in its class. From an incredible air delivery of 360 cubic feet per minute to the standard digital thermostat with remote control, these units provide function and features unlike anything else on the market today at 16K and 18K Btu equivalent performance.
• Atwood Helium Refrigerators — These units are designed to perform where traditional RV refrigerators fail. When used in an out of level situation, traditional RV refrigerators with hydrogen gas in the cooling system can generate excessive heat and compromise system integrity. Atwood refrigerators utilize a helium based cooling system strategically engineering to minimize excessive heat while providing superior durability and performance.
• Atwood On-Demand Water Heaters — These products are designed specifically for use in RVs and provide a continuous, residential hot water experience. Available in 50,000 BTU models with thermal blast cold weather package (select models), the high output burners instantly heat and deliver class leading performance. Best of all, it works just like home by simply turning on the hot water and mixing in cold to reach your desired temperature.
Due to the hands-on nature of the training, space is limited and dealers are encouraged to register their parts, service and technician personnel. Click here to register. The National RV Trade Show will take place Dec. 2-4 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
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.