Ben Brunner and Kyle Newcomer see an opportunity in Goshen, Ind.
The two longtime friends who attended Wawasee High School together have launched Synergy RV Transport, according to a report in the Goshen News. The company specializes in getting new recreational vehicles made in Goshen to dealerships across North America.
“We are intending to build good relationships with a couple of local companies that were vital to (us) getting started, that being Dutchman and Keystone,” Newcomer said. “They have been great to work with.”
Synergy drivers are hauling products from Synergy’s four-acre lot along East Kercher Road. The partners said they initially thought about purchasing an established transport company, but after talking to Steve Abel, an RV industry veteran formerly with Franklin Coach, they decided to build their own company.
Now Abel is the company’s recruiter and Sharon Coleman heads up the office. Her husband Russell is a driver for the company.
Both Newcomer and Brunner operate other businesses unrelated to recreational vehicles. Brunner is in orthopedic sales and Newcomer is in the construction business. Both know the RV industry struggled during the recession, but they are now willing to invest in that industry because they see better times ahead.
“It has come back strong and there is a great need for RV transport companies,” Newcomer said.
Some of the demand for transporters is due to the rebound, according to the partners, but also because a lot of people who made a living hauling RVs lost their vehicles during the recession. Now the industry is attempting to rebuild the base of contractors who own ¾-ton or one-ton pickups.
Newcomer, Brunner and Coleman believe they have a program to do that.
Newcomer said the company is offering incentives to drivers for consecutive miles driven without accidents, offering bonuses, communication with drivers, access to the owners and safety training.
“Drivers are one of the keys in this (RV) industry and we want to incentivize them,” Newcomer said.
“We want to hire as many drivers are we can right now,” Brunner said. But he added, “Right now the number one concern is to have quality drivers.”
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a long list of regulations for commercial drivers and Synergy believes that when drivers follow the rules, they, RV dealers and RV manufacturers all benefit.
“If they get stopped and pass the DOT inspection, we reward them,” Newcomer said of one of the company’s incentives.
Synergy RV Transport opened its doors for business Feb. 7. The short span of time to now doesn’t give the owners a lot of history in the RV industry to draw on. Instead, they are only looking ahead.
“We see a very strong industry right now and there is a very strong demand for products throughout the United States and Canada,” Newcomer said.
And so far, the partners said, they have learned a lot in their new industry, and establishing the company and working with the drivers and office staff have been rewarding.
“We have had a lot of fun. And we want that for our office staff here and our drivers,” Newcomer said.