Inspiration And Innovation: Coley Brady On Co-Founding Alliance RV

Aug 23, 2022

Coley BradyBorn and raised in Elkhart IN, the “RV Capital of the World,” it’s no surprise that Coley Brady has had a lifelong interest in RVs.

“I’ve been around the RV industry my whole life,” said Coley, who co-founded Alliance RV with his brother, Ryan, in 2019. “My father worked in the RV industry, so I was around it and I watched his career progress. His work always interested me from a very young age.”

Along with finding career inspirations from his father’s success in the industry, RVs also provided opportunities for family time. “When I was in grade school my father worked at Damon RV, a motorhome manufacturer,” he recalled. “We would take one of their RVs on a summer trip to an amusement park. There was also an RV lot at the Notre Dame stadium where we tailgated most home football games on Saturdays.”

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame and working in public accounting, Coley eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and began making a career in the RV industry. He started in 2004 at the newly established Heartland RV, where his father had become president, and worked in the sales, marketing, and product development divisions. Ryan also became employed at Heartland several years later. “I was able to work alongside the group at Heartland for 15 years,” Coley said. “During that time there was a lot of company growth, and we became part of THOR Industries, so I was part of the THOR team within the Heartland division for eight years. I had a great career there.”

In 2019, Coley and Ryan left the company and set out to start their own business venture, Alliance RV. “There had been so much consolidation in the industry in the previous ten years, and Ryan and I thought this was a good opportunity that we could take advantage of as an independent manufacturer,” Coley explained. “We wanted to be close to the end consumer.”

He adds that, during the process of founding Alliance, they placed a heavy focus on assembling the right group of people. “We were intentional about putting together a team of industry veterans who were passionate about the business,” he said. “Our focus was making sure we had the right team to make this a long-term, successful business, and I’m really happy with the team we pulled together.”

Although establishing a new company was a difficult process, it was enjoyable, too. “Coming together as a team to develop a new business was a lot of fun,” he said. “It wasn’t all that long ago, but I look back on those moments fondly.

Having such a strong, passionate team quickly proved to be one of Alliance’s biggest advantages, especially when it was faced with unexpected challenges brought on by the pandemic.

RV Rally“We knew early on that the product was resonating,” Coley said. “We attended many of the major RV shows, and our product was selling. The retail consumer liked what we were doing with some of our product’s key features, and we were really excited and optimistic about where things were going.”

Unfortunately, after only two and a half months in production, Alliance temporarily shut down due to a lack of material caused by pandemic-related supply chain issues. However, the team was able to navigate such a major challenge, encouraged by the abundance of positive feedback they had received so far. In the ten weeks prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Alliance team had attended 19 RV shows, including larger ones such as the 2020 Florida RV SuperShow, and experienced tremendous interest from consumers.

Such an enthusiastic response meant that Alliance was able to bounce back quickly when it resumed operations after the five-week shutdown. “I felt on the right path before the pandemic, and we came out of it ready to go,” Coley stated. “We were able to get back into production quickly, and we’ve been growing ever since!”

Now, well into 2022, Alliance has experienced continued success. Within the team, Coley’s work often varies depending on the upcoming priorities. “Ryan and I flock to the area of need each day,” Coley explained. “Some days I’m traveling to meet dealers and other days I’m at vendor meetings talking about new product ideas. I tend to naturally gravitate towards sales and marketing, because that’s my background, but as the founders we focus on finance, manufacturing, and service as well.”

Along with his responsibilities at Alliance RV, Coley is in his first year on the board of the RV Industry Association. “I’ve really enjoyed it!” he said. “Serving on the board showed me everything the RV Industry Association does to promote the industry, ranging from Go RVing to the RV Technical Institute to standards and self-regulation. It’s awesome to see. The RV Industry Association really supports Alliance RV and all members day in and day out to make a positive impact for our businesses.”

Going into its fourth year, Alliance RV is planning on releasing new products, such as laminated travel trailers, and completing a new manufacturing plant that’s scheduled for completion next June. “Alliance is still very young, but we’re looking at our company long-term and we have a team who’s built to be here for a long time,” Coley said. “We have a lot of opportunity in front of us and we’re looking forward to the growth.”