Goshen, Ind.-based supplier Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that its founder, Larry Lippert, will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., on Aug. 5 at the annual Heritage Foundation Induction Dinner.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Lippert returned home with little money and no formal education. After two years at Redman Industries, Larry founded Lippert Components in 1956 in a small facility in Alma, Mich., first supplying to the manufactured housing industry with aluminum and steel roofing.
In 1959, he began LCI’s chassis and chassis parts business. The company enjoyed steady growth until Lippert’s retirement in 1977 when he handed the reins to his son, L. Douglas Lippert. Today, as part of Drew Industries Inc., LCI is one of the largest suppliers to the mobile home and recreational vehicle industries, employing more than 5,100 people in 11 states.
Lippert’s grandson, Jason, currently serves as CEO of LCI and could not be more proud of his grandfather and the legacy he left behind.
“I am very thankful to the Hall of Fame for selecting my grandfather – he is great man and so very worthy of this honor,” said Jason Lippert. “It means a lot not only to me and my family and those inside and outside the industry who know my grandpa, but also to the employees of our company that its founder is being recognized for the mark he left on this industry. I have always looked up to my grandfather and father as mentors and on behalf of the entire team here at Lippert, I can say that we are truly proud to be serving out the legacy 57 years after he founded this company.”
Lippert, 87, still lives with his wife of 66 years, Dorothy, in Alma. At the RV/MH Hall of Fame induction ceremony, his extraordinary family will surround him, including his two sons, six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Commenting on the upcoming event, Larry Lippert said, “While I certainly appreciate this recognition, it is the employees who make up the company. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved with LCI from the very beginning and helped me to make it a success. Without these folks, none of this would be possible.”
At a recent board meeting, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation approved a major change in its bylaws that streamlines the procedure and criteria for nominations to the Hall of Fame.
“The Hall’s Selection Committee worked tirelessly for more than six months reviewing the previous bylaws and procedures and then crafting these important new bylaws and guidelines,” said Hall President Darryl Searer in a press release.
Guidelines for Nominations
• Who can nominate a person to the Hall of Fame?
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.
• Who is eligible?
1. The nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years. The Hall’s board does have the power to choose a nominee who has earned selection while falling short of the 25-year threshold, but will exercise that power only in special circumstances.
2. 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.
• What is the Selection Committee looking for?
Consideration will be given to 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. Favorable responses to these two basic questions are good starting points for Hall consideration:
1. Is the nominee a respected, accomplished, honorable person who has done right by his business partners?
2. Has the nominee contributed to the good of the industry beyond doing his job well?
• How does the process work?
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.”
Those who are interested in nominating a candidate to the RV/MH Hall of Fame may request the necessary nomination forms from the Hall’s office or download the forms from the Hall’s website at www.rvmhhalloffame.org/pages/nominations.cfm.
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.
Bob Martin, president and COO of Thor Industries Inc., recently made a personal contribution of $5,000 toward the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s “Burn the Bank Note” campaign.
According to a press release, Martin presented his check in December following Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ visit to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum when he presented his 2004 campaign motorhome to the museum which is on loan from the Indiana State Museum.
Thor sponsored the presentation of the event.
“The RV museum is a wonderful testament to the innovators and product innovations that have made the RV industry successful and resilient for over 100 years,” Martin said. “We are proud to support this beautiful display of vintage and historically significant RVs.”
Hall President Darryl Searer noted, “Bob’s personal donation is evidence that his commitment to the Hall’s success goes beyond Thor Industries’ continuing support. In addition to this contribution Bob was a driving force in Thor’s decision earlier this year to contribute $25,000 and another $25,000 from the Thompson Family Foundation Inc., a charitable foundation created by Wade F.B. Thompson, Thor co-founder.”
The “Burn the Bank Note” campaign’s goal is to raise $150,000 in voluntary contributions by April 30. If that goal is reached the Robert “Boots” Ingram family has offered a $50,000 challenge grant, and that would pay off the Hall’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
Searer said that the bank loan to 1st Source Bank has gone from $840,000 in early 2012 to only about $200,000 now.
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation is a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation and all donations are tax deductible. Gifts may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through the Hall’s web site at www.rvmhhalloffame.org.”
An Elkhart, Ind., city councilman said he has asked a state agency to review an agreement between Elkhart and the RV Hall of Fame.
According to a report by the Associated Press, David Henke told the Elkhart Truth that he has sent a copy of the pact to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for review. He contends that the agreement should have been approved by the city council rather than the city’s board of public works.
RV Hall of Fame officials had stopped paying the city its compact fee for utility service several years ago, claiming it should be exempt due to its nonprofit status, the newspaper reported. Over the years, the hall accumulated a $115,000 debt with the city.
Under the deal negotiated by Mayor Dick Moore, the city forgave the debt and gave the hall a discounted rate on the compact fee in return for the hall’s agreement to resume making regular payments. Under the new deal, the hall will pay about half what it was billed before.
“In my opinion, this was our only option,” Moore told the Truth. “It was (either) do something to get them paying again or disconnect the service, close them down and get nothing.”
The hall didn’t return a call from the Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday.
The city’s board of works approved the deal on Nov. 20, one day after the council voted against the mayor’s proposal to give similar discounts to other nonprofit groups. Some council members were critical of the deal while it was being negotiated a few months ago, but they didn’t take any formal action to stop it.
Henke said he thinks the city council should have had a final say on the deal because the fee revenues go into a fund that it controls. The newspaper said the deal came to the board of works because it was a utility issue, but the council set the fee rates by ordinance.
The fees are currently based on assessed value of property, and Henke said they should instead be based on usage. Moore said the fee policy is under review.
Henke claimed Moore doesn’t work closely enough with the council and acts unilaterally instead.
“This is not in the best interest of our community nor does it represent the process as depicted by Indiana Constitution,” Henke said in a statement.
Henke predicted the Indiana attorney general’s office might be asked to review the agreement.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels yesterday (Dec. 19) delivered his iconic 2004 campaign motorhome — dubbed “RV-1” — to the Heritage Foundation Inc.’s RV/MH Hall of Fame where the road-weary Damon DayBreak Class A will be on display for the foreseeable future while on loan from the Indiana State Museum.
Daniels, who will step away at the first of the year from his elected position to assume the presidency of Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., drove north from Indianapolis with a handful of aides while TV cameras chased him in his 2003 Class A with its troubled shocks and white exterior covered with thousands of signatures of Hoosier constituents who helped the moderate Republican win election in 2004 and again in 2008.
The drive from Indianapolis up north to Elkhart was for Daniels, he confided in his brief remarks at the Hall of Fame, somewhat of a nostalgic one as he prepares to leave office.
“We’ve just completed a very sentimental journey,” Daniels, considered a likely GOP presidential candidate early on in the recent primaries, told the assembled media. “With me on board during the last drive of RV-1 were the two still-young men who were out there with me for 16 months on the first campaign as well as the second, and Bill Oesterle, who originally came up with the idea of letting people sign it – a stroke of genius.
“So, we had a lot of laughs all the way up,” added Daniels, who’s well known for his penchant for riding motorcycles around the state. “There’s a memory and story behind almost every signature on there and every place it’s been.”
Daniels was welcomed to the Elkhart facility by Bob Martin, president and COO of Thor Industries Inc., which originally built the eight-year-old coach and sponsored a small reception at the Hall on Wednesday, and BJ Thompson, a Heritage Foundation board member who emceed the event.
On the business front, Daniels then singled out the RV industry for its leadership in helping turn around the Indiana economy, and he praised the old Damon motorhome with 58,000 miles on the odometer for the accessibility it offered him in reaching the citizenry of Indiana.
“We went into this recession with a high percentage – maybe 60-some percent – of all the RVs in the country made in Indiana,” said Daniels. “Coming out of the recession, I’m told, that total is more than 80%. What does that say? It says that we had a superior business climate and when companies were put to the test in a tough market — and forced to choose between what (plants) they were going to keep or close — almost without exception they chose Indiana. We’re so proud that this industry is centered even more here in our state than it was a few years ago.
“And if Thor ever needs a personal testimonial for the quality of their products, I’m their man,” said Daniels, adding that people constantly ask him about RV-1 more than they ask him about himself. “We took old Bessie here on trips it was never really designed for. We took it on dirt roads, gravel roads, one-lane covered bridges. There were no leisure cruises for RV-1, but it stood up. We were marveling on the way up, although the shocks are pretty much gone, how well she was still running. It’s a high quality product. That’s the way I know you build them up here.”
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) honored RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Darryl Searer, president, and Tom McNulty, vice president, with its “Citizen of the Year” award. The ceremonies took place at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel during the IMHA-RVIC Annual Christmas Party and Awards Banquet on Dec. 7.
According to a press release, the awards were based on Searer’s and McNulty’s successful efforts to bring the RV/MH Hall of Fame back from the brink of financial disaster to the doorway of a bright future and opportunity.
McNulty accepted the awards on behalf of himself and Searer, who was unable to attend the awards presentation.
McNulty said, “Both Darryl and I thank you for this award and this great recognition. One of the wonderful things about an award like this is that it was totally unexpected, and I believe that makes it even more meaningful.”
McNulty was quick to point out to the audience that much of the Hall’s success has been through the concerted effort of the board and a dedicated, professional team.
He said, “Initially, the team consisted of Al Hesselbart, Charlene McNulty, Susan Weaver, me and a great group of volunteers. We were joined in April by our new captain and president, Darryl Searer, whom you honor tonight, and our newest team member, Stacey Walworth.”
Earlier this year, the Hall faced a financial crisis that threatened to cause the board of directors to make the difficult decision that would have resulted in closing the Hall facility and selling off its assets, including the building. During this period, McNulty worked unceasingly to keep the Hall’s doors open.
But that all changed in April when Searer, semi-retired chairman of Ultra-Fab Products Inc., volunteered with no compensation to accept the position of president and COO.
“I know of no one other than Darryl who had the ability through his business experience, knowledge of the players involved and his love of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum that could have made the team function so smoothly,” noted McNulty. “It was through his leadership and business sense that we have substantially lowered our debt and now hold our destiny in our own hands. It’s a marvelous feeling being able to sleep better with the knowledge that the future of the Hall, the gem of our industry, is finally secure.”
Thor Industries Inc. and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will be hosting a media event Dec, 19 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame as Daniels donates the Damon Class A motorhome used during his 2004 campaign.
Dubbed RV-1, the coach bears the signatures of residents from all of Indiana’s 92 counties. The motorhome will become part of the Hall’s permanent display.
The proceedings get under way with a meet-and-greet with Gov. Daniels at 2:30 p.m. The presentation of the motorhome is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. followed by a light reception and tours of RV-1.
Greg Boyd, president of NTP Distribution Inc., presented a check on behalf of the company for $1,250 to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s fund raiser during a ceremony at the NTP booth at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
After previously donating $2,500, NTP came up with an innovative idea to benefit the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s even further, according to a press release.
The idea was to purchase a $250 brick on the Hall’s walk of fame on behalf of RV dealers that obtained a minimum buying level of products. To sweeten the deal, Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, offered to upgrade the dealer’s brick to the larger $500 brick for dealers who made a minimum purchasing level through NTP of Blue Ox products.
The Hall previously announced that the proceeds from the Brick Program would count toward the Hall’s fund raisers.
The resulting promotion by NTP resulted in raising an additional $2,250 to the Hall’s fund raiser.
Below is a summary of donations:
Hall President Darryl Searer while accepting the contribution noted, “It continues to amaze me how companies come up with innovative ideas to help the Hall reduce its debt. Besides individual contributions, the Boots Ingram Family’s Challenge grants, our Peer Challenge Program and now NTP’s Brick Promotion idea, has had a very positive impact on the Hall’s effort to pay off its bank loan.
“It’s no secret that the Hall was in jeopardy of closing its doors a year ago, but through the generosity of many individuals and companies, the Hall has been able to survive and is on a path to recovery.”
Searer pointed out that the bank loan to 1st Source Bank has gone from $840,000 in early 2012 to only about $200,000 now.
The current fundraiser is the “Burn the Bank Note” campaign with a goal of raising $150,000 in voluntary contributions by April 30, 2013, to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has offered a $50,000 challenge grant, and that $200,000 would pay off the Hall’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
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 they 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 web site: www.rvmhhalloffame.org.”
Mike McKay, vice president of RV and trailer, CURT Manufacturing LLC, presented a check for $5,000 to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s “Burn the Bank Note” fundraiser campaign during a ceremony at the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s booth at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. “We are delighted with CURT Manufacturing’s decision to accept the Peer Challenge from Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox,” said Hall President Darryl Searer. “With CURT’s contribution, it means that Blue Ox’s donation has doubled, and furthermore, CURT Mfg. can now challenge other peers to match their donation.”
Hesse, who also serves on the Hall’s executive committee as vice chairman, proposed the Peer Challenge program after making his donation. “I want to personally thank Mike and CURT Manufacturing for accepting the Blue Ox challenge,” he said. “I always believed that there are a lot of companies and individuals in the RV and manufactured housing industries that would support the Hall if asked, and CURT Manufacturing’s donation reinforces that belief.”
Searer added, “When that request to help support the Hall comes from a friend or colleague in these industries, especially ones that believed in the Hall enough to contribute themselves, I think it adds integrity and substance to the request.”
McKay noted, “Those of us at CURT Mfg. believe it is important to give back to the industries we serve. Personally, I can think of few worthier causes than the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, an organization that not only celebrates and preserves our heritage and honors those individuals who helped make our industries successful, but also, the Hall itself presents a very positive image to the general public about our products and services.
“When we received Jay’s challenge, it wasn’t a difficult decision for our CEO Greg Hooks to make. He was pleased to help in what he believes is a worthy cause and an opportunity to give something back.”
The goal of the Burn the Bank Note campaign is to raise $150,000 in voluntary contributions by April 30, 2013, to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has offered a $50,000 challenge grant. The $200,000 would pay off the Hall’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
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 web site at www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, has donated $5,000 to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, Inc.’s current “Burn the Bank Note” campaign for its Elkhart, Ind.-based RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum.
According to a press release, Hesse, who also serves on the Hall’s executive committee as vice chairman, proposed to Hall President Darryl Searer an idea designed to reach the “Burn the Bank Note” challenge even sooner. Hesse’s idea is what he describes as a “Peer Challenge.”
The “Peer Challenge program” works like this: Once a company or individual makes a contribution of $1,000 or more, they could challenge up to three other companies. The challenger would go to the Hall’s website and enter a few lines of information about the company or individual they intend to challenge. The web program then generates and sends a personalized, detailed e-mail informing them that they have been challenged to match the donation.
Hesse believes a company should challenge others in their own industry and market segment. In other words, an RV supplier would challenge another RV supplier, a manufacturer another manufacturer, a distributor a distributor or an individual would challenge another individual.
Hesse said, “The challenged company or individual basically has three choices. First, and ideally, to match the challenger’s donation; second, contribute a different amount either greater than or less than the original challenger’s donation and start a new challenge; or finally, ignore the challenge, which we hope they will not do. If they match the challenge or start a new challenge then they would challenge others. This bicycling effect could result in more donations and be a huge benefit to the Hall.”
Searer said, “This is a great idea. Jay’s Peer Challenge program should help us achieve our goal much quicker. I’ve learned since becoming president of the Hall that people in both the RV and manufactured housing industries are generous and would be happy to make a contribution if asked. And the ‘Peer Challenge’ makes it easy to ask.”
The goal is to raise $150,000 in voluntary contributions by April 30, 2013, to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has offered a $50,000 challenge grant, and that $200,000 would pay off the Hall’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
Tax-deductible gifts, adds Searer, may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through the Hall’s web site at www.rvmhhalloffame.org.