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RVTI’s Anglemeyer Travels Far and Wide Seeking Recruits

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As the RV Technical Institute’s director of recruitment, it’s doubtful that Tracy Anglemeyer ever really puts her luggage away. She is racking up the frequent flyer miles in her new position.

Brought on board in December to fill the newly created role at RVTI, Anglemeyer wasted no time after the holidays in jumping on planes and mining for recruits to become RVTI-certified technicians wherever she could find them.

Tracy Anglemeyer

“In January, I spent quite a bit of time out working with various areas of the industry. I was at Tampa for the (SuperShow) … Then it was straight on to the NTP–STAG Show (where we) had a breakout university session to a full room, including a lot of dealerships but a few industry people also,” she said. “Phil Ingrassia was in attendance from the RVDA. … We signed up a lot of dealerships at that show, which was good, and it’s a great partnership there that (NTP-STAG) let us do that.”

Anglemeyer’s hiring came at a time when RVTI was finally able to go full-bore into recruiting and training technicians. The relatively-new Institute was only able to graduate one class of students – who achieved Level I certification – before COVID hit, which shut down all onsite classes at its headquarters in Elkhart, Ind., and forced the staff to re-work its business plan.

Whether it’s dealerships, community colleges or even state criminal justice systems, it’s now Anglemeyer’s job to forge relationships and bring more students into RVTI’s certification programs. The institute has the ambitious target of recruiting and training at least 1,000 new RV techs into the field from outside of the RV industry, and that’s not even counting those who are already in the industry that RVTI is trying to bring in to earn their certification.

“(This week) I fly out for two events – Washington state and Nevada, working with high school counselors to basically get Vo-Tech back into high school,” Anglemeyer said. “Trying to work with the different high schools, also working with local technical colleges that work with those high schools to train those students before they graduate. They actually come out of high school with an RV tech certification and can go right into the job force.”

She said that one of the trends she’s noticing is that more school districts around the country are recognizing that “vocational-technical” education – training students to become skilled tradesmen – belongs in the curriculum, because not every high schooler is qualified for college or wants to be.

“We’ve lost a generation of hands-on (workers),” Anglemeyer said. “And that’s not just the RV industry – that’s every industry – everything hands-on out there. I think people are starting to recognize that and take a turn a turn back (the other way).

“We need more of that skilled labor again in the United States. The baby boomers are starting to retire – we need those next generations coming in. A lot of these jobs in industry, coming out of high school if you’re certified you can make the money you would coming out of college without that debt.”

School guidance counselors are a rich potential resource for new RV techs, she said, which is why RVTI has a presence at their conventions.

“There’s roughly 27,000 school counselors in the United States; we will touch about half of them this year,” Anglemeyer said.

RVTI uses a “hub-and-spoke” model to serve aspiring technicians. Developed by RVTI Executive Director Curt Hemmeler, along with his board of directors and staff, RVTI hosts training at its Elkhart facility, but it also offers online training only, although those students, too, must prove their ability to make the inspections and do the repairs in a hands-on setting in order to achieve certification. Then there are hybrid combinations of those learning methods.

Anglemeyer came to RVTI with three decades of experience in the RV industry, most of that time with OEMs, where she often worked as a sales rep or a product manager. That means she got to know many dealers and other industry types, and those contacts help her, she said, when it comes to her locating more “Authorized Learning Partners,” as RVTI refers to its remote partners that offer certification courses.

The key, she said, is “opening up those different avenues that weren’t open before and being able to capitalize on those.”

One less-obvious example: campgrounds, which she calls “a vital part of our industry.”

“I love a challenge and I love the aspect of being able to work with every different area of the industry,” Anglemeyer said.

She added that RVTI will have a presence at 56 conferences, rallies or shows this year in pursuit of meeting that goal of 1,000 new techs.

“We’re trying not to leave any stone unturned,” Anglemeyer said.

Tony Kindelspire

Tony Kindelspire is the digital content editor of RV PRO magazine.

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