Nearly 20 years ago, Greg Wischmeyer was contacted by a friend, now colleague, about a position with the RV Industry Association’s inspection program. Greg takes us down memory lane and shares his journey to a longstanding career with the association, his experience in the field and where things are headed. Here’s his story:
I found out about an inspector role through Mick Sass. Mick was already an inspector with the RV Industry Association and was also a close friend of mine. For a couple years, we talked about work and how, potentially, I would be a great addition to the team. When the position that gave me my start at the association opened, he gave me a call.
At that time, I was constantly in the middle of projects with my previous job and the timing wasn’t right when positions had become available. Back then, I was working in construction. While working on a project in Texas, Mick called me one last time to tell me that one of the current inspectors was leaving and asked if joining him on the team was something of interest. There was a lot of buy outs, mergers and downsizing during that period, so the timing seemed right and I felt that this was a good time to make that next move in my career.
Coming into the job, I knew travel would be an extension of the responsibilities and it was something I was already acquainted with from my trade school days and I rather enjoyed it. I’m also a very structured person and knowing I’d have a set schedule was very appealing.
The first three weeks of inspector training and site visits reinforced the fact that I had made the right decision. The position involved a nice balance of hands-on experience, in-person engagement, education, training and travel among other things. A great opportunity for those who don’t like to be parked behind a desk all-day every day.
I had been involved with different trade associations over the years, including the Association of Commercial Diving and nuclear power trade shows. There was a distinct difference about the RV Industry Association that stood out - the codes and standards department. This team was actively involved with their members and it was a lot more than banquets, bulletins and sporting events. The RV Industry Association really had an educational role with teeth.
The team has had two inspector seminars per year since I started. One in Reston, Va., and the other was held in Louisville, Ky., at the National RV Trade Show. Now, we look forward to hosting these seminars in Elkhart, Ind., and annually at the new RVX event. First up – Salt Lake City, UT. These seminars are great team building opportunities for all of our codes and standards staff to get together. We review the year, cover the following year and bring our individual inspection issues to the table for a group discussion. This has always been a great time to hear about the origins of the codes from Bruce Hopkins, John Proteau and Curt Richardson.
This industry, like many others, has seen changes, has had its ups and downs, but we know this to be true: folks love the RV lifestyle. Since I joined the association in 2000, I’ve seen a lot of change and evolvement in this industry. Park models and tiny homes have added quite a new twist to what we do, too.
However, there is a steadiness that remains. The inspections and the codes are the same. The variety of the builders, the geographic locations of the builders, and their styles of builds have kept our inspections quite interesting. There has also been the introduction of the ice house RV’s which added several manufactures in the upper Midwest region. No more sitting on a bucket with a hole in the ice. Now it’s a big screen TV, a fireplace, bunk beds, kitchen and a bathroom.
I am always glad when a builder joins the RV Industry Association. It’s an opportunity I look forward to where the team can make new relationships in the industry as well as work closely with them on the educational aspects related to codes and standards.