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RVIA's Gary Labella To Retire At End Of Year

Category: Staff
Source: RVIA
Publish Date: Monday, August 2, 2010
Summary: Gary LaBella, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, has announced that he will retire from RVIA after 32 years.

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CONTACT: Bill Baker    
RVIA Senior Director     
Communications & Publications
(703) 620-6003, ext. 331   
bbaker@rvia.org    

RVIA's GARY LABELLA TO RETIRE AT END OF YEAR

RESTON, Va.  – Gary LaBella, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, has announced that he will retire from RVIA after 32 years at the end of 2010.

LaBella made the announcement to the industry Monday evening, Aug. 2, while receiving an award from the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind.

"When I was planning the industry's 2010 Centennial Celebration, I realized I've been in the same chair for a third of this industry's history…and I was afraid I might end up here planning a Bicentennial," LaBella said.

"And so I am going down a different road, very proud of what we accomplished in three decades to improve and elevate this great industry's image and stature.  I've been surrounded by outstanding fellow staff members as well as outstanding agency account teams at Barton-Gilanelli and The Richards Group, at least eight of whom have been with me for 15 or 20 years or more, led by the very talented Chris Morrison, my colleague of 25 years.  And I've had the honor of having BJ Thompson as my PR Committee chairman for 25 years."

"Gary LaBella has contributed greatly to this industry's success over the past three decades," said RVIA President Richard Coon.  "The effort he has led in the marketing of RVs has helped unify this industry and transformed the way consumers think about RVs in this country. He is a very innovative and creative person and these talents will be missed."

LaBella has led an aggressive industry-wide marketing program that has earned high acclaim throughout the travel and recreation communities and in marketing circles.  Under his direction, RVIA and industry partners (RVDA and many others) launched the award-winning,  ground-breaking Go RVing national advertising campaign in the mid-’90s and the program has been funded in the $15-$20 million range annually ever since.   The program is frequently credited with attracting more new families to RVing and is often referred to as one of the most successful programs in the industry's history.

Under LaBella's spirited leadership, RVIA's award-winning "Top of Mind Awareness" public relations program has triggered a steadily growing level of RV exposure in national media.  By using many touring media spokespersons and personally knocking on the doors of many New York-based national editors, LaBella and his talented staff and Barton-Gilanelli account team members have produced an extraordinary amount of glowing publicity for the industry and have helped keep the industry's positive image intact even during periods of slumping sales.

Most recently, LaBella planned the RV Centennial Celebration of 2010 that was seen as a huge success by industry members.

LaBella graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1975 and joined RVIA in 1978. He was elected to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2005.  On Monday, he received the Hall of Fame's Spirit Award for his ideas and programs, such as the Go RVing Hall and Centennial Celebration, that have helped raise the Hall's awareness.

RVIA is the national association representing approximately 400 manufacturers and component suppliers producing 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

-bb-

P1011   8/3/10

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