Bruce Hopkins’ contributions to the RV Industry Association and the RV industry span an incredible 40 years and cannot be understated. Serving in his capacity as Vice President of Standards, he has impacted virtually every manufacturer, supplier and dealer as he educates members on the importance of safety standards in the RV industry and works with them to help promote technical training so that there are trained technicians to adequately service them.
We reached out to Bruce to speak with him about his esteemed career and his most recent accomplishment of being inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame:
What does your induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame mean to you?
It’s really quite an honor. It feels great to have all of the work I’ve done for the industry recognized and acknowledged. It’s been an amazing journey.
Was your induction a surprise?
I never expected to be nominated. But when I was, I knew it was a possibility.
How did your career in the industry begin?
I started working at a dealership in 1965, when I was 15 years old. As I went through college, I continued to work there to pay my way through school. When I graduated at the end of ‘72, I wanted to stay with what I knew, which was RVs. Because I worked for a dealer, I was able to attend the Louisville show, and I decided to network and interview for a sales job. Lloyd Bontrager said he had no sales jobs but told me there was a brand new field coming called “codes and standards.” I scooped it up, and the rest is history!
Tell us about some of your career highlights.
I’m most proud of the Standards Handbook, because it was that document that enabled us to have manufacturers build one product for all markets. Prior to that, there were 16 states that had regulatory programs, and each one operated independently. So, the introduction of the Handbook allowed us to promote consistency. And because of that consistency, it led to the elimination of all but 3 of the states.
What do you like best about your job?
I like the variety of the issues that surface and the ability to work with so many different people.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would like my legacy to be the fact that we have been able to maintain industry self-regulation. In the final analysis, the standards promote consistency and safety without a patchwork of government regulations that couldn’t provide the same technical knowledge that the industry provides. We certainly remain more flexible, as we can adapt quickly as the needs of the industry change. We allow the OEMs the greatest degree of flexibility, as long as safety is not jeopardized. I’m very proud of this.
Congratulations Bruce and to all the other 2019 RV/MH Hall of Fame honorees!