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RVIA Honors Industry Leaders at Annual Meeting

During the Annual Membership Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain on March 1, in Tucson, AZ, RVIA honored industry leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the association and the RV industry last year.

“RVIA’s Awards program recognizes individuals in a variety of areas who work selflessly and diligently for the betterment of the RV industry,” said RVIA Chairman of the Board Derald Bontrager.  “It is an honor to acknowledge those achievements.”

Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award – Recognized as the industry’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals within the RV industry who set themselves apart through outstanding service. This year’s recipient was Doug Gaeddert of Forest River, Inc.

Gaeddert was honored for his career at Forest River, one of the industry’s most respected RV manufacturers, and for his long-time service and contributions as a member of RVIA’s Board of Directors, including service as Chairman of the Board, First Vice Chairman, Second Vice Chairman, and Treasurer, as well as participation on several association committees,

“As an RV industry executive with decades of immersion, experience and success in the day-to-day operations of RV manufacturing, Doug has provided valuable insight and expertise to RVIA in shaping association policy and programs,” said Bontrager. “With his keen intellect, no-nonsense point of view, and pragmatic approach to finding common-sense solutions, his influence of the association and the RV industry has been positive and far-reaching.”

RVIA Special Award – RVIA’s Special Award is presented to those within the RV industry who have made extraordinary contributions to its overall success. Terry Elias of Leisure Travel Vans and Triple E RV was honored for his exemplary service as chairman of RVIA’s Canadian Coalition Committee in leading the group’s efforts to build a North American RV industry and harmonize RV standards and marketing efforts.

National Legislative Award – Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) was given the National Legislative Award for his key role in working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revise the agency’s RV definition and draw a bright, clear line between RVs and manufactured housing. The National Legislative Award honors those who distinguish themselves in legislative matters pertaining to the RV industry.

Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award – The Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award is presented to journalists for exemplary coverage of the RV industry or RV travel.  Jeff Johnston was recognized for his work in reporting on how RVs work and how people can enjoy them best over a 30-year career as an RV journalist at enthusiast magazines, including Trailer Life and Motorhome, and most recently as a producer and contributor for Rollin on TV web site

RVIA also announced the honorees of several other awards that will be presented to recipients later in the year:

  • David J. Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award – Becky Lenington, PRVCA
  • National Legislative Award – Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) was also named as a recipient of this honor.
  • Distinguished Achievement in RV Standards – Tom Phlipot, Progressive Dynamics

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