Frank Hugelmeyer
RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer addressing the luncheon sponsored by Thetford.

RVIA Execs Tout Initiatives at Leadership Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The past two years have been particularly fruitful ones for the RV Industry Association, the group’s leadership told members Monday during the Annual Leadership Meeting Luncheon.

In his remarks, departing RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer pointed to several successful initiatives RVIA embarked upon, including the successful launch of the RV Technical Institute to train more technicians and to reduce the repair event cycle time.

Hugelmeyer also highlighted the merger with the RV Aftermarket Association, which representatives for the two associations have previously said strengthens the aftermarket’s voice within the RV industry and creates a stronger, unified organization; the launch of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations; the launch of the RVX trade show; and a dramatic revamping of RVIA’s website and digital platforms.

Additionally, Hugelmeyer noted that RVIA successfully lobbied the federal government on a number of RV-friendly initiatives, including getting the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to report on the economic contribution of the outdoor industry. (The first-ever report, released in September, found that the outdoor industry accounted for 2.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2016.)

To amplify its voice with federal lawmakers moving forward, Hugelmeyer announced to members at the luncheon that RVIA is launching a political action committee.

In his remarks to luncheon attendees, RVIA Chairman Garry Enyart touted the findings of the just-released RVs Move America Economic Impact Study, which finds that the RV industry had an overall economic impact to the U.S. economy of $114 billion. Citing that study, he called the RV industry “economic powerhouse”. 

Enyart also took the opportunity to thank Hugelmeyer for his four years helming RVIA, and he assured members that RVIA has a succession in place. Hugelmeyer, who is departing to take the job as the president and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will be replaced on an interim basis by Craig Kirby, a 25-year veteran of the Association who has served as the organization’s senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel. 

In his brief remarks to attendees, Kirby said his top priorities will be to ensure a smooth transition; to travel across the country to visit with and listen to RVIA members’ concerns; and to move forward with RVIA’s three-year strategic plan.

Also during the luncheon, sponsored by Thetford, RVIA Treasurer Jeff Rutherford said the Association’s finances are in good shape, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Karen Redfern said the Go RVing campaign continues to make good inroads with consumers, and RVTI Executive Director Curt Hemmeler said RVTI has secured an 18,000-square-foot campus for the RV Technical Institute that will open in the fall of 2019. He invited industry members to attend an open house for the facility from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, which will coincide with the start of Elkhart Open House Week. 

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