Sue Bray, a long-time executive for the Good Sam Club, is escalating her independent consulting business, Sue Bray Consulting, according to a press release. As a consultant, the California-based Bray will be utilizing her experience in marketing and developing association membership benefits and producing events.
Bray’s involvement with the Good Sam Club began when she was hired as chapter activities director more than 30 years ago. Shortly thereafter, she was named vice president and executive director of the club. During her tenure, the organization grew from less than 200,000 members to more than 1 million member families.
She spent most of her career with Good Sam developing partnerships and benefits for members, including the popular trip routing service, an RV financing program, a member credit card, and was deeply involved in the design and launch of the club’s highly regarded emergency road service.
Bray was also instrumental in designing and developing many of the Good Sam member benefits and activities, including the Standby Sams volunteer network and discount partnerships for the club’s Smile & Save program.
She managed club members’ participation in several major charity initiatives, including Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Dogs for the Deaf and Hole in the Wall Camps. She also represented RV consumers at federal, state and local levels, dealing with major RV legislative issues.
In 2009, Sue was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. – one of the youngest members and only the ninth woman selected for the RV industry’s most prestigious honor.
Sue Bray Consulting was formed in 2010, and companies utilizing Bray’s services include Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc., RVing Women, the Venice Beach House and the Good Sam Club. Most recently, Bray was charged with expanding the Good Sam Club’s Rally program from one annual event to three successful rallies held in 2012, hosting more than 20,000 Good Sam members.
For more information, visit www.suebray.com or call (805) 981-2951.
Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) and the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest recreational vehicle owners’ organization, announce that Executive Director Sue Bray is leaving to form her own consulting business, Sue Bray Consulting, (www.suebray.com). Bray’s new business will focus on and utilize her expertise in marketing, managing and operating membership clubs and events.
Affinity CEO and President Mike Schneider made the announcement stating, “Sue has dedicated her 33-year career to enhancing our members’ experience through excellent membership benefits development and service. Much of Good Sam’s phenomenal growth over the years can be attributed to Sue. We wish her the very best of luck in her future endeavors, and I’m proud to announce that the Good Sam Club will be one of her first clients. She now has the opportunity to expand her outreach, public relations and development functions for the club as well as providing her expertise to other organizations. We are fortunate Sue will remain available to the members for the foreseeable future.”
Bray joined the Good Sam Club, a division of AGI, in 1976 as chapter activities director. In 1979 she was named executive director of the club, and became an Affinity vice president in 1980. During her tenure with the Good Sam Club, the organization grew from less than 200,000 members to nearly 1 million families today.
Bray spent most of her career with the Good Sam Club developing partnerships and benefits for members, including the popular trip routing service, an RV financing program, a member credit card, and was deeply involved in the design of the club’s popular emergency road service. She marketed and managed club events, including Affinity’s annual event, The Rally, which attracts upward of 8,000 guests each year and provided editorial direction for Highways, the club’s monthly magazine.
Bray managed the Good Sam Club’s participation in several major charity initiatives, including the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Dogs for the Deaf and Hole in the Wall Camps. She also managed its legislative and lobbying efforts, which she’ll continue to do on behalf of the club and its members.
In 2009, Bray was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.— one of the youngest members and only the ninth woman selected for the RV industry’s most prestigious honor.
Also included among Bray’s initial clients is the Venice Beach House (www.venicebeachhouse.com), an upscale inn located beachside in Venice Beach, Calif., and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Editor’s Note: The following column by Sue Bray, executive director of the Good Sam Club, discusses the RV centennial, which will be celebrated this year. Her column appears in the February issue of Highways magazine. Affinity Group Inc. is the parent company of the Good Sam Club and www.RVBUSINESS.com.
It was a much simpler world 100 years ago. But with so many technological advances just around the corner, 1910 must have been an exciting time to be alive. Like today’s world, in which the latest computer technologies open up new possibilities, the world of 1910 was opening up to motorized travel. Innovative horseless vehicles were embarking on new highways and byways across the continent.
The lure of the open road had enticed tourists prior to 1910. People traveled to camping spots by horse and wagon, but those trips were restricted by time and distance. A few wealthy excursionists had tent trailers custom-built so they could enjoy the outdoors in relative comfort. But in 1910, the adventure of travel on North America’s developing roads began to change as three manufacturers, led by Pierce Arrow, started building motorized campers. In 1914 towable tent trailers were introduced, and in 1917 the first fifth-wheel appeared on the horizon.
Fortunately, a handful of historians have preserved this past. David Woodworth, for one, has chronicled RV history for decades. In 1986, David arrived at the headquarters of the Good Sam Club driving a Model A and towing a Ziegelmeyer tent trailer. We began working together, and for years David toured the country on behalf of Good Sam, meeting with club chapters and other groups and displaying his ever-growing collection of vintage vehicles. He’s taken his amazing assortment of RVs and RV gear on media tours representing the RV industry. Today, much of his collection is on display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, Ind.
David has a wealth of information on RVing’s early days. He even has a collection of collapsible coat hangers! He tells how auto pioneers Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, both avid campers, made plans for RV manufacturing while on a train ride in 1915.
David’s also researched the evolution of campgrounds. In the 1800s, he relates, many towns built wagon yards where visitors could release their horses and store their wagons when they were passing through. By 1914, the now-obsolete wagon yards were converted into free municipal campgrounds. “After World War I,” says David, “cities started charging 25 cents a night to camp in their campgrounds, basically in an effort to weed out the undesirables.”
In 2010, the RV industry will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Events recognizing the milestone will be held at the Elkhart museum and various RV dealerships, shows and campgrounds around the country.
The Good Sam Club is sponsoring a special RV History Caraventure en route to the Louisville Rally, which runs July 22 through 25. Up to 100 RVs, both old and new, will meet at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, travel to Dearborn, Mich., to visit the Ford Museum, then drive on to the 2010 Rally in Louisville. Seminars held along the way will offer insights into today’s RVing experience and RV travel’s fascinating past. (Caraventure contact information is available at (800) 829-5140.)
At the Rally, we’ll have a special area for vintage RVs to park and display life as it was in the early days of RV travel.
For David Woodworth, RVing is here to stay: “It’s gone through World War I, the Depression, World War II, high gas prices and high interest rates and it’s still such a popular activity.”
We RVers know it’ll keep on going and we look forward to the next 100 years.
RVers from across North America are converging on Albuquerque, N.M., this week for the 10th annual “The Rally,” the nation’s largest gathering of RVs.
At last count, there were 2,759 rigs registered for the event, according to Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) and in charge of commercial sales for the event. The four-day event officially begins Friday morning.
Thompson has spoken with manufacturers and dealers displaying new products at “The Rally” and said the event has created “a good buzz around town.”
Clear skies and temperatures in the 70s created perfect conditions for set-up today, he noted. Slightly cooler but dry conditions are forecast for Friday’s opening.
For thousands of RVers, “The Rally” is the event and vacation destination of the year. RV newbies and veterans alike will gather to share the popular recreation lifestyle through seminars, exhibits, entertainment, games and meetings with industry experts from around the world.
New to this year’s event, attendees will be able to tune into “Reality RV” to watch and learn as Brian Brawdy, a well-known spokesman for eco-awareness, and his co-pilot live in his biodiesel-powered Lance Model 1181 camper on The Rally grounds. A former New York police investigator, Brawdy now travels North America full time inspiring individuals to take a proactive role in their lives and the environment. He will be challenged to show how traveling by RV conserves many resources. Cameras installed in his rig will frequently monitor and broadcast Brawdy’s quest on a large outdoor screen.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to “take home the green” as “The Rally” hosts the first Going Green ideas contest, which invites participants to submit green inventions or concepts to make RVs more environmentally friendly.
“RVers spend vast amounts of time in the great outdoors, so it’s only natural that they want to help preserve and improve the environment they enjoy so much,” said Sue Bray, AGI vice president and executive director of the Good Sam Club. “These two initiatives give participants the opportunity to make a real difference for generations of RVers to come.”
The event is hosted by the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ group with more than 1.5 million member families nationwide, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with Affinity, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.
RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are also owned by Affinity.
RVBusiness.com will provide frequent video direct from the event.
“RV Buddies,” an adventure lifestyle show distributed as an Internet Television production on its own website, on Apple iTunes and other distribution channels will be doing extensive filming at “The Rally.”
“RV Buddies is thrilled to be at ‘The Rally’ this year,” said Mark Summers, executive producer and host of the show adding, “This is more than an RV exhibit; this one brings together all aspects of the RV community in one place.”
‘RV Buddies’ plans an extensive tour of the latest in RV accessories a look at some of the new coaches on display.
Slated for inclusion are the annual dog show (this year they’re calling it “Show Your Tricks… on Route 66”), a variety of youth segments for younger RVers (including balloon art, face painting and oreo-eating contests), The Red Hat Ladies Tea group (which boasts a membership of over one million), Brian Brawdy’s Eco-RV and the “Hole in the Wall” camps. Hole in the Wall was founded in 1988 by the late actor Paul Newman and is the official charity of Affinity.
“RVers spend vast amounts of time in the great outdoors, so it’s only natural that they want to help preserve and improve the environment they enjoy so much,” said Sue Bray, vice president and executive director of the Good Sam Club. “These two initiatives give participants the opportunity to make a real difference for generations of RVers to come.”
More than 9 million people in the U.S. now own RVs. For thousands of RVers, The Rally is the event and vacation destination of the year. RV newbies and veterans alike will gather to share the wildly popular recreation lifestyle through seminars, exhibits, entertainment, games and meetings with industry experts from around the world.
The Rally is an annual event hosted by the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ group with more than 1.5 million member families nationwide, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHomemagazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with Affinity, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.
RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are also owned by Affinity.
Going Green contest participants are asked to submit an initial outline of their projects by April 10 to Bob Difley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to “Going Green” ideas contest 2009, 2575 Vista del Mar Drive, Ventura, CA 93001.
Daily admission is $10 for adults, and a second day’s free pass can be obtained at The Rally site; children 12 and under are free. Admission is also free for Albuquerque area Boy Scouts and their immediate families on Sunday, April 19, provided they wear their Boy Scout uniforms. RV sites start at $169 for two people. Additional information and registration can also be found online at www.therally.com.
For more information, visit www.therally.com. To learn more about Brawdy’s adventure, log onto www.brianbrawdy.com or www.wonderexplorebelieve.net.