(Jan. 29, 2016) — John Hawkins, with BAL Norco, describes his impression with what’s happening in the industry right now. He reminds listeners that the consolidations that rocked the industry in 2015 are reminiscent of similar activity in the 1990s. But, Hawkins also raises a warning flag concerning the slowdown of dealer orders of RVs going into the spring buying season.
(Jan. 21, 2016) — Gorin talks about the business side of camping, and says there are lots of opportunities for campground owners and even RV park developers. Owning a campground can be a very viable business and he touches on some of the reasons why during the interview. He also describes some of the barriers to entry for prospective campground owners and what current owners can do to prepare an exit strategy.
(Jan. 14, 2016) — With the National Park Service celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, he talks about some of the pros and cons of the national parks, as they relate to RV use. A strong advocate for outdoor recreation, he explains what the Blueprint for Recreation is about and how it is ensuring official and financial support among federal and state elected leaders as the groups create a long-term policy. Ken Rishel, with Rishel Consulting, is the second guest. With the dawn of several new regulations impacting the RV industry, he has received more calls from RV dealers and campground owners asking for advice. Rishel developed a new compliance system that he says will keep dealerships and campgrounds abreast of the multitude of requirements with which they must comply to avoid hefty fines and other penalties.
(Dec. 18, 2015) — The first guest is Tom Ryan, the vice president of sales and marketing for WFCO, a company that considers itself to be the “heartbeat of today’s RV.” Ryan talks about two new products introduced at this year’s National RV Trade Show, and about how the company’s Power Pros tech support team helps installers and technicians by cross referencing various products. He also describes WFCO’s vertical integration and how it aids in inventory and product development. The second guest is Elise Caputo, vice president of Bradford Industries, which is marketing an innovative Cooking Fire Suppression Cover. The cover, which installs in a cabinet, can be utilized like a blanket to put out kitchen fires without bothering with a messy, hard-to-use fire extinguisher. Caputo also describes several different markets within the RV industry where she feels selling the covers would be profitable for RV dealers and campground owners.
(Dec. 11, 2015) — Podcast episode 77 features a series of short interviews conducted with key Dicor staff members during the national RV Trade Show regarding the company and the new innovative products the firm introduced in Louisville, Ky. Guests include President Gregg Fore; Dave Majewski talking about Signature Extended Life RV Roof Coating for EPDM roofs; Tom Grubaught describing DiFlex II Polar White TPO roof membrane; Greg Kelly elaborating on improvements made to Corner Seal; Gorden Frost describing new fiber-reinforced plastics used to build RV walls; and Gregg Eash introducing new roller shades.
(Nov. 19, 2015) — The first guest is Toby O’Rourke, KOA’s senior vice president of marketing. Widely credited for the successful performance of the franchise over the past four years, she talks about why demand for camping and outdoor experiences is on the rise. O’Rourke is the mastermind behind KOA’s What’s Behind the Yellow Sign campaign, and she talks about why it is so successful, and what’s being done to improve that campaign in 2016. The second guests are relative newcomers to the RV industry. Eric and Tami Johnson acquired TechnoRV earlier this year, and they travel the country speaking at RV rallies, shows and other events to teach RV owners about technology that can improve their experience. They explain the secret of their success is not just selling the products, but actually showing RV owners how to use them — a lesson that could benefit RV dealers.
(Nov. 12, 2015) — Education and training remain at the top of the RVDA’s major initiatives for 2016, but there are several legislative issues deserving of dealers’ attention in the year ahead, Ingrassia explained. The association is also partnering with CareerCo to help dealers recruit employees, train them and develop job descriptions. One of the biggest misconceptions in the industry is that this type of distance learning is expensive and that it’s designed for larger dealers. However, as Wilson explains, the opposite is really true. He describes some of the courses available through the distance learning program, and the efforts of suppliers to provide additional training.
(Oct. 29, 2015) — Episode 74 of RV Industry News starts with an interview with Mike Braun, CEO of Meyer Distributing, and Nick Gramelspacher, the vice president of sales and marketing. The company is making its first appearance at the RVDA Expo next week in Las Vegas. They asked to come on the show to introduce the company, talk about its history dating back to 1934, and what happened in 2007 to catapult the company to a new level. The second interview features Lee Thaxton, the CEO of RV Armor, which will also be attending the RVDA expo to roll out a new dealer partnership program. He comes on the show to talk about what RV Armor is, how it works, and how dealers can create a new profit center in their service departments by installing the product for their customers.
(Oct. 22, 2015) — Bob Zagami comes on the show to talk about critical issues impacting the RV industry, most importantly, the need for better training of staff and technicians, and the need to do a better job recruiting techs into the career field. He also describes some outside-the-box marketing ideas being employed by NERVDA as well as the future of RV industry trade shows. The second guest is Chase Healy, the director of specialty vehicle sales for Furrion, an Elkhart-based company that specializes in electrical equipment and appliances for the RV lifestyle. Furrion is near completion of an innovation center in Elkhart, and Healy talks about what that involves and how it will impact the future of the RV market.
(Oct. 20, 2015) — Podcast 72 of RV Industry News starts with an interview with Mike Regan, the CEO of Crestview RV in Buda, Texas, and the chairman of the Priority RV Network. The network has grown considerably in recent years, and Regan talks about what is being done to better brand the network at the dealer level. Then Regan, who runs a Top 50 dealership, talks about the industry as a whole from the dealer’s perspective. The second guest is Garrett Finney, the CEO of Cricket Trailers, which has developed a NASA-inspired trailer that crams a lot of living into a limited space. The company is marketing products to people who love to camp and love adventure, but are tired of sleeping on the ground.
(Oct. 16, 2015) — Hardee McAlhaney is the guest for this special episode of RV Industry News. He is the former president of the Holiday RV Superstore chain, the industry’s first-ever publicly traded RV dealership group. McAlhaney’s expertise is in financial management and human resources strategies, such as developing pay and compensation plans. Today, he serves as an advisor to the Priority RV Network of dealerships, but also consults with other dealers regarding key management issues. McAlhaney comes on the show to talk about some of the common mistakes business owners seem prone to repeat.
(Oct. 15, 2015) — The first guest on Podcast 70 is Wade Weiss, the president and chief formulator at Duratain, a company that produces protective coatings engineered specifically for the RV lifestyle. Weiss describes how the company started and shows how offering the products can create a profit center for dealerships, and help RV owners better protect their investments. The second guest is Sherman Goldenberg, the publisher of RV Business, who describes how he came up with the idea for the Top 50 Dealer Awards program and how finalists are nominated and selected.
(Oct. 9, 2015) — The first interview this week is with Don Clark, the president and CEO of Grand Design Recreation Vehicles. The company just retailed its 10,000th RV and announced an expansion into a 67,000-square-foot facility in Middlebury, Ind., just to support pre-delivery inspections for dealers. After the firm rolled out a new lightweight travel trailer line in July, Grand Design will also launch another 40-acre expansion in 2016 devoted exclusively to production. Clark offers an update regarding the fast pace of activity at Grand Design. The second guest is Amir Harpaz, the CEO of Harp Development, which is based in Fort Myers, Fla. He was involved in the development of Cypress Woods RV Resort, and when it sold out, he developed Cypress Trail RV Resort. Harpaz talks about the changing demographics of RVers and why the luxury resorts are filling a need among the “glamping” oriented vacationers and full-time RVers.
(Oct. 1, 2015) — The first guests this week are Frank Hugelmeyer, the incoming president of the RV Industry Association, and James Ashurst, the vice president of advertising and public relations for RVIA. Hugelmeyer has been on a listening tour by traveling around the country talking to manufacturers and suppliers. The former president of the Outdoor Industry Association, he describes the similarities between both organizations and how his experience will help him in the RV industry. Ashurst talks about the success of the Go RVing campaign and it’s new approach to experiential marketing. The next guest is Jay Taylor, the general manager of Torklift International. The company has a growing international footprint in the RV and caravan markets. He offers some history about the company, but also describes some of Torklift’s best selling products, and how dealers and manufacturers can benefit by selling and using them.
(Sept. 24, 2015) — Podcast 67 was broadcast during the Elkhart RV Open House, so host Greg Gerber offers his assessment on the attendance of the show and some changes he has noticed at the event this year. The first guest is one of the sponsors of the show, Bob Martin, who is the president and CEO of Thor Industries. He offers his opinion on this year’s show and what it means for the industry. He also addresses Thor Industries’ four quarter financial statement, which was released on opening day of the show. The second guest is Phillip Billups, the vice president of product development for RV Trader. During the Pennsylvania RV Show, he talked about the surge in interest in online shopping and what’s driving the 40 percent increase in visitors to RVTrader.com, as well as changing demographics.
(Sept. 17, 2015) — The first guest is David Neuenschwander, vice president of agency development for National Automotive Experts. NAE is launching a rebranding campaign to join forces with the National Warranty Administration Network. He talks about the differences between the two companies and how it will impact the RV industry. He also describes what the lifetime warranty involves and addresses several misconceptions about the program before talking about the importance of offering and buying extended warranty plans. The second guest is Frank Kolasinski, with Advanced RV in WIlloughby, Ohio, a manufacturer of Class B motorhomes built directly for consumers. He describes the all-electric vehicles produced by Advanced RV and who the customers are that tend to buy them.
(Sept. 10, 2015) — The first guest is RV dealer Jeff Pastore, the president of Hartville RV in Hartville, Ohio. A former chairman of the RV Dealers Association, he describes how his parents got involved in the RV industry and how he manages to compete in a niche where there are two giant dealerships in the same market. The second guest is John Walsh, the vice president of sales and marketing for Cequent Performance Products. He discusses the merger between Cequent Performance Products and Cequent Consumer Products, and what that means for the company and the RV industry.
(Sept. 3, 2015) — The first guest this week is Gregg Beaudette, the national sales manager for Jumping Jack Tent Trailers. The company has been around for a while selling the unique RVs in outdoor stores, but the firm is seeking to make the product available at RV dealerships. The second guest is Al Hesselbart, who served as the industry’s unofficial historian for years until his retirement earlier this year from the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
(Aug. 28, 2015) — The first guest this week is Jim Hammill, president and CEO of Roadtrek, which is located in Kitchener, Ontario. Roadtrek is one of the pioneer builders of Class B motorhomes, which have seen a lot of interest in recent years as baby boomers downsize from Class As and fifth wheels and want to continue enjoying the RV lifestyle. The second guests are the owners of Balfour RV Resorts up in beautiful British Columbia. Balfour is unique in that it’s an established RV park that decided to sell its sites to private buyers. Some newer RV parks get construction money by doing that, but it is unusual to see an existing park migrating to the private owner business model.