In the past 90 days more than 4,500 visitors to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum toured the modern manufactured home exhibit located on east side of the Hall of Fame complex in Elkhart, Ind.
“Almost 100% of those who pay admission to the museum not only visit the historic RV and mobile home collections inside the museum and the ‘Wheel People’ exhibit that tells the story of Americans who choose to live in mobile homes, now called manufactured homes, in deference to site built housing, but also they step outside to visit a modern example of today’s manufactured home,” said Hall President Darryl Searer
The manufactured home is on loan from Fairmont Homes Inc., Nappanee, Ind. The company completed the erection of the home late last fall. Earlier this month the staff at the museum added landscaping and a lawn to the exhibit to better illustrate how the home appears in a natural setting.
Searer added, “The Hall of Fame and Museum was recently awarded a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ and named one of the top two attractions in northern Indiana by TripAdvisor.com. and admissions indicate the attractions at the Hall are growing in popularity. From April 16 to July 16, paid admissions grew by 15% over the same period last year.
“We encourage everyone to visit the Hall of Fame and Museum to see the latest additions to facility, but especially, those coming in for the Class of 2014 RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Aug. 4. Come early so you can enjoy these new additions to your RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum.”
Reservations for the induction dinner honoring the The RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 are running significantly ahead of last year’s reservations.
“As of June 19, more than 175 friends and families of the inductees have registered which is more than double the number of registrations for the Class of 2013 induction ceremony by the same date,” Induction Dinner Committee Chairman Mark Wasson of BlueLinx Corp. reported in a press release.
This year’s RV/MH Hall of Fame’s annual Induction Dinner will be held on Aug. 4 at the Hall’s Event Center in Elkhart, Ind. The program begins with a private cocktail party in Champion Hall from 4-5:30 p.m honoring all the past inductees, board members and the Class of 2014 inductees and their families. The event is being hosted by the RV/MH Heritage Foundation board.
Those being inducted in the Class of 2014 include:
• Debbie Brunoforte, president-owner and CEO, Little Dealer, Little Prices (RV Dealer), Arizona.
• Bob Livingston, senior vice president, Group Publisher, Good Sam, California.
• Peter B Orthwein, chairman, Thor Industries (RV Manufacturer), Ohio.
• John D Roba, founder and president of Roba and Associates. (Manufacturer’s representative for the RV and MH industries) and JR Products (supplier), New York.
James F Shields (deceased), president of Pan Pacific RV Centers, Inc., (RV dealer), California.
• Barry Cole, president of Manufactured Housing Insurance Services and Cole Housing Corp. (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries and MH communities) California.
• Ed Evans, managing partner of EPM (MH community owner and developer) California.
• Thomas “Tom” L. Kern, CEO, Style Crest Enterprises (RV/MH supplier), Ohio.
• Richard “Dick” King, founder and CEO of King Insurance (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries), Nebraska.
• Gary McDaniel, CEO, YES! Communities, (MH communities), Colorado.
Following the Hall’s cocktail party for members, a cocktail reception for everyone attending the Induction Dinner ceremonies begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a gala dinner and induction ceremony at 7 p.m.
The Induction Dinner Committee is also seeking sponsors for the event. Wasson noted, “One Hospitality Sponsor has signed up so far, along with several “Friend of the Hall of Fame” sponsors. These sponsorships help the Hall offset the cost of the night’s events and provide additional services.”
The types of sponsorships available and costs include:
• Major Sponsor – $10,000
• Hospitality Sponsor – $4,000
• Hors d’oeuvres Sponsor – $2,500
• Momento Gift Sponsor – $1,000
• Gold Sponsor-$500
• Silver sponsor- $250
• Friend of the Hall of Fame Sponsor – $100
* All events may be co-sponsored
Annual Golf Classic Fundraiser
In addition to the induction ceremony on Aug. 4, the 2014 Golf Classic fundraiser will start at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast followed by a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. followed by an awards presentation. This year the golf classic will again be hosted by The Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart.
Hall president Darryl Searer, “If you love golf and also want to support the Hall, you’ll not want to miss this exciting annual event.” He added the Hall is seeking sponsors for the golf tournament.
Searer will deliver his short annual State of the Hall address and promises attendees will be pleased with the Hall’s successes over the past year.
To sign up online for the Induction Dinner and Golf Tournament, or to become a sponsor, visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind., is now home to a new Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel. The Goshen, Ind.-based company reported in a news release that Cougar joins the ranks of other classic, collectible, and modern RVs on display at the Hall as part of the industry’s ongoing RV lifestyle promotion.
The Keystone Cougar was named the No. 1 selling fifth-wheel for the second consecutive year in 2013, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We are pleased to welcome the Keystone Cougar into the GoRVing Hall of the Museum,” stated RV/MH Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer. “When you compare the comforts and luxuries of the Cougar to campers from the past, you realize just how far we have come as an industry.”
The Cougar features three slideouts, an island kitchen, LED lighting and LCD TVs, as well as remote controls to operate many of the components. “By comparison, the 1937 Covered Wagon travel trailer showcased in the museum featured a canvas roof, leatherette sidewall and horsehair bed,” noted Searer. “It really is striking to see where we have been and where we are going.”
Cougar product manager Jeff Kloska added, “With over 100,000 visitors expected to the RV/MH Hall and Museum this year, this is an opportunity for Keystone, Cougar and the entire industry to sell the benefits of the modern RV lifestyle and encourage more families to Go RVing.”
During the past nine months, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation continued to post strong financial accomplishments, according to Darryl Searer, Hall president.
“From August 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014, the Foundation has made significant improvements in its financial obligations and has made some major changes in its display area, gift shop and exhibitor booth area,” Searer said in a press release.
Referring to the foundation’s debt, Searer reported that “We are up to date on interest payments on the $600,000 loan to pay off the Woodworth’s for the purchase of their antique RV collection, and we are a year ahead on the principle payment of $50,000. The balance has been reduced to $550,000.”
In addition the Hall has met its obligations on the Ingram Family loan “since we began paying the loan three years ahead of schedule,” noted Searer.
Since last Aug. 1 the Hall has:
• Paid a total of $135,000 in 9 months ($15,000 per month).
• Paid $74,480.90 in interest; paid $60,519.10 on the principle.
• Paid $60,519.10 on the principle; paid $60,519.10 on the principle.
• Received a $30,259.55 match from the Ingram Trust. (50% of the principle).
“We have thus reduced the overall principle by $90,778.65 in 9 months,” said Searer. “The HOF has no other loans and all accounts payable are current at this time.”
Northern Indiana Event Center
Northern Indiana Event Center continued to be a bright spot for the foundation. Over the past nine months income has risen from $76,000 to $163,500 – more than double.
“The caterer donation program we initiated two years ago is doing well,” noted Searer. “Revenue rose by 65% from the previous period. This will continue to rise as the Event Center grows.
The gift shop, rebranded as the Fireside Gift Shop, has taken on a new look as well with the addition of three big screen TV’s, new display racks, more exposure for GoRving and a host of new items that are top quality. Even with the severe winter and reduced admissions and attendance, sales increased.
The foundation has added some interesting units in the RV/MH Museum designed to enhance visitor appreciation. Units added include a great original mini-motor home, John Crean’s original Bounder prototype from Fleetwood, two of the first Fleetwood travel trailers ever built and the first Pace Arrow ever built by Fleetwood. The Fleetwood units were donated by the John Crean Foundation.
Searer said, “The Pace Arrow is currently being refurbished by Fleetwood in Decatur, Indiana, and will be presented back to the museum in the near future. We have also added the history story boards and pictures of the history of the mobile home Industry. The addition of the Fairmont Home, an example of a modern manufactured home, has also strengthened our manufactured home collection.”
Despite the bad winter, museum admissions are about the same, down slightly from $63,941 during the last period to $62,466 this period.
Supplier Exhibit Area
Income from the supplier exhibitor area grew as well. New booth revenue added during this period included displays for Onan, Lippert Components and an additional booth for Blue Ox. There are still three more booths available for suppliers who would like to have their products and message visible to the thousands of visitors to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum.
“In summary,” Searer said, “we have made great strides, not only the past nine months, but the past two years, thanks to hundreds of industry folks stepping up and giving a helping hand to the ‘shining star’ that projects and provides an image second to none in the RV and MH Industries.
“Our future looks bright and secure, and I believe that there are many more industry people and companies that will step up so the Foundation can become debt free. The foundation’s very existence relies on donations.”
He added, “We still need help in reducing our debt to the Ingram family. And since the Ingrams have offered to match all donations by 50%, it means that if you donate $100, your contribution reduces the principal by $150.”
Since the RV/MH Heritage Foundation is a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation, all donations are tax deductible. Donors can use our federal ID#: 35-1610362.to verify that we are a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation in good standing with the IRS.
“Gifts may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through the Hall’s website at www.rvmhhalloffame.org
Mail donations to:
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Elkhart Indiana 46514
Dozens of RVs are back at the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum and it’s all for the 2nd Annual Spring Hall of Fame RV show in Elkhart, Ind.
Seven of the area’s top dealers brought over more than 200 RVs for the weekend-long show, television station WNDU reported. This show kicks off the dealers’ summer selling season.
Show director Matt Rose — RV director for the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council — said there are more RVs this year and each one is bigger and better than before. He said the economy is great, RV businesses are doing well and people are buying.
The show kicked off today (April 24) at 10 a.m. and will run through the weekend. “It’s a great event to bring the family because it’s affordable,” said Rose.
For the original story and video, click here.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame’s annual Induction Dinner honoring the Class of 2014 will be Aug. 4 at the Hall of Fame’s Event Center in Elkhart, Ind.
“Our 2014 Induction Dinner committee chairman, Mark Wasson (Bluelinx Corp.), has some exciting new ideas for this year’s program and I encourage all the friends of this year’s inductees and industry members to make their reservations early,” , said Darryl Searer, president, RV/MH Hall of Fame, in a press release.
This year’s program begins with a private cocktail party in Champion Hall from 4-5:30 p.m honoring all the past inductees, board members and the Class of 2014 inductees and their families. This event is being hosted by the RV/MH Heritage Foundation board.
Those being inducted in the Class of 2014 include: Debbie Brunoforte, president-owner and CEO, Little Dealer, Little Prices (RV dealer), Arizona; Bob Livingston, senior vice president, group publisher, Good Sam Enterprises LLC, California; Peter B. Orthwein, chairman, Thor Industries (RV manufacturer), Ohio; John D Roba, founder and president of Roba and Associates (manufacturer’s representative for the RV and MH industries) and JR Products (supplier), New York; James F Shields (deceased), president of Pan Pacific RV Centers Inc., (RV dealer), California; Barry Cole, president of the Manufactured Housing Insurance Services and Cole Housing Corp. (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries and MH communities), California; Ed Evans, managing partner of EPM (MH community owner and developer), California; Thomas “Tom” L. Kern, CEO, Style Crest Enterprises (RV/MH supplier), Ohio; Richard “Dick” King, founder and CEO of King Insurance (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries), Nebraska; Gary McDanial, CEO, YES! Communities, (MH communities), Colorado.
Following the cocktail party for Hall of Fame members, a cocktail reception for everyone attending the Induction Dinner ceremonies begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a gala dinner and induction ceremony at 7 p.m. All day Monday the attendees will be able to tour the Hall’s many attractions including the antique unit collection in the museum, library and the GoRVing Hall.
In addition to the induction ceremony, the 2014 Golf Classic fundraiser will start at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast followed by a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. followed by an awards presentation. This year, the golf classic will again be hosted by The Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart.
Searer said, “We expect this year’s events to be the best ever. You’ll not want to miss this exciting annual event.” He added the Hall is seeking sponsors for the various Induction Dinner events as well as the golf tournament.
Searer will deliver his short annual State of the Hall address detailing the Hall’s successes over the past year.
To sign up online for either or both the Induction Dinner and Golf Tournament visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame Selection Committee has issued a call for nominations for the Class of 2015.
“The Hall welcomes nominations from all RV and manufactured housing sectors — manufacturers, dealers, campgrounds, housing communities, suppliers, user groups, trade media and associations, etc — for the class of 2015 and beyond,” said Darryl Searer, Hall president, in a press release.
To access the nomination guidelines and forms click here.
According to the guidelines, anyone can nominate a person to the Hall of Fame that meets the eligibility requirements. The only people who may not be considered are those who currently serve on the Hall’s Selection Committee.
To be eligible the nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle, campground or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years.
Also, the nomination form must be filled out in its entirety and must be accompanied by three supporting letters (no more, no less) that meet the Hall’s guidelines for these letters. Incomplete nominations cannot be considered. If the nominee is not selected within three years, he or she remains eligible only if the nomination is resubmitted and refreshed with additional information.
When evaluating a potential nominee, the selection committee will consider the nominee’s overall contributions to the good of the industry, to include both his or her positions, accomplishments and innovations on the job as well as volunteer work both inside and outside the industry, with special emphasis on volunteer work done on behalf of state and national associations and owner groups, the Hall of Fame itself and other industry-related organizations and causes.
If a completed nomination form and three properly-prepared seconding letters are received by Oct. 31 of any year, the nominee will be in the pool of candidates considered for the following year’s class and for two years beyond that if not selected that year.
The Hall’s Selection Committee will announce its selections in January and those chosen will be inducted at the Hall’s annual Induction dinner in August. The Hall’s bylaws allow for up to 10 inductees per year.
Searer said, “The Selection Committee is made up of an equal number of members of the RV and manufactured housing industries, and members will only vote on nominees from their respective industries.”
Once the nomination form and supporting letters have been completed, the nominations may be submitted by mail, in person at the Hall, or by fax at (574) 293-3466.
In early 2012, nearly five years after opening, the RV/MH Hall of Fame was struggling financially and facing possible closure. But today, after two years under the leadership of volunteer president and treasurer Darryl Searer, the hall’s financial health is “excellent,” Searer said.
As reported by the Elkhart Truth, the nonprofit’s debt has been reduced from $5.5 million to about $2.5 million, and the hall made its May 2014 loan payment in November, six months ahead of schedule. Searer attributed the turnaround to a series of belt-tightening measures, reorganization and rebranding of the facility’s event center, renegotiation of financial obligations with major creditors and some innovative fundraisers.
“We have exceeded the goals and expectations of all of the creditors of the Hall of Fame,” Searer said.
Searer, who in March 2012 agreed to lead the hall for two years, has decided to stay on another two years as he tries to make the hall debt-free by 2020, if not sooner.
To achieve that goal, he pointed to two outstanding obligations: paying off a $550,000 bank loan used to complete the purchase of the David Woodworth Antique RV Collection, and a $3 million loan by the “Boots” Ingram family.
For the full story click here.
RV/MH Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer has agreed to continue leading the Hall for an additional two years, according to Chairman Barry Cole. In August 2014, Searer will take on the additional responsibilities as chairman when Cole’s term expires. Searer currently serves as president and treasurer.
“This came about when Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, who was elected vice chairman of the board in August 2011 and scheduled to become chairman this fall, was forced to resign because of family matters–leaving the vice chairmanship open,” Cole said in a press release. “I asked Darryl if he would consider taking on the additional role of vice chairman. After lengthy deliberation, Darryl accepted. That means in August Searer will be chairman, president and treasurer.”
Despite suffering a heart attack in 2013 and undergoing quadruple bypass heart surgery, Searer said he is up to the challenge.
“Based upon Darryl’s commitment to lead the Hall for another two years, I challenge members of the RV and MH communities to honor his dedication and leadership by stepping up with major contributions to the Hall this year,” said Cole.
Searer volunteered on a noncompensation basis for two years in March of 2012 to help restructure the Hall financially to insure its future success.
Through a series of belt-tightening measures, reorganization and rebranding of the Event Center, renegotiations of financial obligations with major creditors and some innovative fundraisers, the RV/MH Hall of Fame, under Searer’s creative leadership, has managed to lower its debt from over $5.5 million to approximately $2.5 million putting the Hall of a strong financial position.
Searer brought over 50 years of experience to the Hall. He started his career in the RV industry at the age of 16, working in his father’s business, Elkhart Rivet and Register. He has also been vice president of marketing and sales for the Dometic Corp.; president and owner, MHS Supply; and chairman of Ultra-Fab Products Inc.
Searer said, “I am pleased for the opportunity to continue for two more years, as challenging as it will be. My goal during the past two years was to get the Hall where it was financially viable — we’ve done that. But our new challenge of making the Hall debt-free is incomplete. During the next two years, we hope to move as close as possible to making that a reality.”
To achieve this goal, Searer points to two outstanding obligations: paying off the $550,000 bank loan used to complete the purchase of the David Woodworth Antique RV Collection and a $3 million loan by the “Boots” Ingram family.
The Hall started making payments on the Ingram loan in August 2013. “Under the amortization schedule the Ingram loan will be paid off by 2033–but I believe we can beat that, in part, because of the continuing Ingram family’s generosity,” Searer said. “As long as we meet our monthly obligations, the Ingram’s will continue to match the principle payment by 50 percent which means the $3 million loan will pay off with $2 million.
As far as retiring the $550,000 bank loan for the Woodworth Collection, Searer is soliciting companies, foundations or individuals who will step forward with a contribution. “We are offering naming rights for the collection to any company or person that offers to pay off this debt,” he said. “What better way to honor an industry icon than have their name forever associated with this outstanding collection at the RV/MH Museum.”
Searer’s goal is for the Hall to be completely debt free by 2020, if not before.
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation is a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation and all donations are tax deductible. Donors can use our federal ID: 35-1610362.to verify that the Hall is a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation in good standing with the IRS.
Gifts may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through the Hall’s secure web site: www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation board announced the list of inductees who represent the RV/MH Hall of Fame Class of 2014. According to a press release, the induction ceremonies will be held at the Hall facility in Elkhart, Ind., during the annual induction dinner on Aug. 4.
“Congratulations to the 10 new honorees. All of them have had or are having outstanding careers and are richly deserving of this special moment,” Foundation President Darryl Searer. “I join their friends, family and colleagues in welcoming these new inductees who will join the honored rolls of industry leaders, pioneers and innovators who have made significant contributions the to RV and manufactured housing industries.”
Inductees from the RV Industry include:
• Debbie Brunoforte, president-owner and CEO, Little Dealer, Little Prices (RV Dealer).
• Bob Livingston, senior vice president, group publisher, Good Sam Club.
• Peter B Orthwein, chairman, Thor Industries Inc., (RV Manufacturer).
• John D Roba, founder and president of Roba and Associates. (Manufacturer’s representative for the RV and MH industries) and JR Products (supplier).
• James F Shields, president of Pan Pacific RV Centers Inc., (RV dealer).
Inductees from the Manufactured Housing Industry:
• Barry Cole, president of Manufactured Housing Insurance Services and Cole Housing Corp. (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries and MH communities).
• Ed Evans, managing partner of EPM (MH community owner and developer).
• Thomas “Tom” L. Kern, CEO, Style Crest Enterprises (RV/MH supplier).
• Richard “Dick” King, founder and CEO of King Insurance (insurance supplier to RV/MH industries).
• Gary McDanial, CEO, YES! Communities, (MH communities).
“The nine-person selection committee also deserves to be congratulated for the professional job they did in choosing this talented class of 2014,” Searer said. “We had a record number of new nominees on both the RV side and MH side and the selection committee was tasked with identifying no more than five from each camp to be honored.
He added, “The committee spent many hours over several days studying nomination forms and letters of support that were lengthy, detailed and packed with passionate advocacy for the candidates. The committee wants all candidates and their nominators to know that they read every word of every nomination and gave thoughtful consideration to everything that was written. The fact that we had so many deserving nominees this year is a wonderful testament to the renewed relevancy of and excitement for our Hall of Fame.”
To nominate future candidates for the Hall of Fame visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org to view the nomination guidelines and to download the necessary nomination forms.