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RVIA Honors Several at Annual Meeting


Derald Bontrager, left, and Frank Hugelmeyer, right, pose with RVIA award recipients Tuesday in Tucson. Recipients from left: Jeff Sims, Jeff Johnston, Doug Gaeddert, Terry Elias

TUCSON – RV Industry Association President Frank Hugelmeyer and RVIA Chairman Derald Bontrager bestowed a number of awards Tuesday (March 1) during the Annual Meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. Those honored included:

  • Doug Gaeddert, a top executive with Forest River won the Distinguished Service to the RV Industry, which is RVIA’s highest honor. Gaeddert was recognized for his long and respected career at Forest River as well as his service to RVIA, which included serving as chaiman of the RVIA Board of Directors  from 2013-2014.
  • Terry Elias with Triple E RV/ Leisure Travel Vans won the RVIA Special Award, bestowed on those who made extraordinary contributions to the industry’s success. As chairman of RVIA’s Canadian Coalition, Elias was recognized for his work with other RVIA members on harmonizing U.S.-Canadian RV standards. 
  • Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, won the National Legislative Award. Sims received the award for his key role in working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revise the agency’s RV definition to clearly define the line between RVs and manufactured housing. 
  • Jeff Johnston, a contributor for RV consumer publications, won the Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award, which is presented to journalist for exemplary coverage of the RV industry or RV travel. Johnston is a longtime RV enthusiast and writer.

Three other honorees of other awards will be presented with their awards later this year. Those honorees are:

  • Becky Lennington, executive director with the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association, who will receive the David J. Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award. The award, named for a former RVIA president, is given to individuals who continuously strive to encourage the multiple constituencies of the RV industry to work collectively for the growth and betterment of the industry.
  • U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who will receive the National Legislative Award. She is a member of the RV Caucus and has advocated in Congress on behalf of issues important to the RV industry.
  • Tom Philpot with Progressive Dynamics, who will receive the Distinguished Achievement in RV Standards Award.

More coverage from the RVIA Membership Meeting: Click here to read about the $500,000 overhaul to the National Trade Show. To read about Derald Bontrager's remarks on the future of the industry, click here

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