I’d like to thank the RV Industry Association’s Board of Directors for selecting me as chairman. My mission is to diligently build on the accomplishments of the past few years that have moved this association forward, as well as ensure that our future programming is consistent with the overarching strategic initiatives that we have developed together as an industry.
I want to recognize Bob Parish for his leadership the last two years as chairman of the association. Bob’s ability to build consensus, along with his selfless service to the industry for more than two and a half decades, deserves our grateful appreciation. Likewise, I have learned a lot from the other past chairmen whom I’ve had the opportunity to observe and work alongside during my time on the board. They include, Bruce Hertzke, Carl Pfalzgraf, Jim Sheldon, Doug Gaeddert and Derald Bontrager. Each had their own style, left their own long-standing improvements and notable dedication to the industry and to the RV Industry Association.
It is an exciting time to be involved in this great industry. Whenever a new executive at Cummins asks me to provide an overview of the RV industry, I tell them three things:
- This is the most dynamic and innovative industry that you will ever be engaged with
- RV industry employees typically stay in this industry for their entire careers
- This is the “fun business” as the industry provides products at a variety of price points that allow individuals and families to enjoy the great outdoors
With business at record levels, we need to ensure that we create a healthy business environment for our member companies, create demand and take care of our customers. The work that we are focusing on will ensure that we continue to keep this industry moving forward. Four areas of focus come to mind:
- Go RVing - We will continue to build on the great success of the Go RVing campaign. James Ashurst, Karen Redfern and their teams have a plan to ensure that our products and the RV lifestyle are “front of mind” with our target audience and we will continue to reach out to other diverse groups to assure continued growth opportunities for the entire industry. After 20 years of driving business to dealers, you can look forward to even more from the team.
- Standards and Self-Regulation - We will continue to focus on self-regulation. A recent survey from our standards compliance group found that there was unanimous consensus among the respondents regarding the value that the standards team provides. We will continue to work on expanding the program’s value and provide succession planning that allows us to capture the rich knowledge and expertise of our standards veterans and cultivate a qualified and prepared team of RV standards experts.
- RVX - I am excited about the new event format led by our Trade Shows and Events Committee Chairman, Troy James, RV Industry Association Vice President of Trade Shows and Events, Liz Crawford and the other association team members. RVX, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah in March 2019 and will feature innovative new products from OEMs and suppliers. In addition, RVX will focus on the other aspects of the business that ensure that our customers have a great experience using our products. The event will provide education to prepare us for the demands of the future consumer, will offer technician training for new and established RV Techs, will host a model campground of the future to display a vision of the ideal RV camping infrastructure and plenty more. We’re also looking forward to seeing our dealer partners there. It’s fitting that our inaugural RVX event will take place in a state that has shown value to the outdoor recreation economy. Utah Governor Gary Hubert and his team have rolled out the red carpet for our industry. Make no mistake, this will be a selling show!
- RV Technical Institute - As most of you know, one of the things that I am extremely passionate about is taking care of our industry customers. The decision to launch the RV Technical Institute has the potential to be a game changer. For many years, our board members and myself, along with other industry leaders have been wrestling with how we improve in this area. This, along with the industry’s focus on repair event cycle time (RECT), will have an ongoing, long-lasting impact. As Tim Wegge, chairman of RVDA recently stated to me, “RECT will be indelibly stamped in the minds of everyone in this industry for decades to come.” I appreciate everyone’s commitment to improvement in this area.
Finally, I look forward to working with all industry stakeholders with a drive to expand the RV industry. I'm sure we'll face obstacles and challenges along the way, but my hope is for us to work diligently together. In doing so, we'll come out strong and on top.