Two dealers who were instrumental in helping to earn an exemption for towable RVs in the recently passed Financial Reform Bill were among honorees receiving Chairman’s Service Awards Oct. 7 during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
Presented by outgoing Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Chairman Debbie Brunoforte, the Chairman’s Service Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to RVDA and the industry and are proffered at the chairman’s discretion each year.
With RV dealers facing potentially damaging fallout from the Financial Reform Bill moving through Congress last summer, “it was imperative that RVDA take action to include towable RVs in the exemption language of that bill,” said Brunoforte. Two dealers — Bill Hawley of Hawley Brothers, Dodge City, Kan., and Harold Oehler of Lazydays, Seffner, Fla. — targeted key lawmakers from their states to make sure the bill was fair to RV retailers.
“On the Republican side of the aisle, Bill worked with Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who introduced exemption language that specifically included towable RVs,” Brunoforte said. “On the Democratic side, Harold worked with Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida to make sure the majority party would at least go along with the Brownback language and not strip it out in House-Senate conference committee.”
“Working with RVDA staff, NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), and our allies at the Marine Manufacturers Association, the Marine Retailers Association, and RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association), Bill and Harold made a real difference,” said Brunoforte as she presented the awards. “It was gratifying to see that large, medium, and small RV dealers across the country worked together on this important issue,” Brunoforte said. “Bill and Harold, you represent the success that’s possible when we all have a common goal.”
Brunoforte also presented Chairman’s Service Awards to two RV association executives.
Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer, received the distinction for his work as one of the architects of the industry’s Go RVing national advertising campaign. Brunoforte dubbed the highly popular and effective program “one of the greatest areas of cooperation between RVDA and RVIA over the past two decades.”
Brunoforte also presented an award to National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) President and CEO Linda Profaizer. Before joining ARVC in 2000, Profaizer had a long career at Woodall’s “where she encouraged professionalism and customer service at the nation’s private RV parks and campgrounds,” Brunoforte said.
Both LaBella and Profaizer have announced their retirements after decades of service, effective at the end of the year.