Podcast 98: Fifth Wheel Street founder Dave Gray on towing safety

(June 30, 2016) — This week’s guest is Dave Gray, the founder of Fifth Wheel Street, a website he launched in 2011 in response to his inability to find credible information about fifth wheel towing when he was a full-time RVer. He’s a little frustrated that the industry doesn’t do enough to help consumers better understand how to safely use RVs. In fact, he notes that most manufacturers include little or no safety information in the owner’s packets. As a result, owners are often left to find information on their own when, in fact, they don’t even know what questions to ask dealers.

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Podcast 97: Camping World IPO and RVShare

(June 23, 2016) — Podcast 97 features Ravi Parikh, founder of RoverPass, who has a degree in finance and economics and was intrigued by the announcement that Camping World was preparing an initial public offering of stock. He sees the IPO as the first leg in a unique strategy to give Camping World nearly a billion to buy more dealerships and further consolidate the RV retail market. He also suggests that Camping World could divest itself from Good Sam Club. The second guest is Joel Clark, the founder of RVShare a company that allows RV owners to rent out their RVs when not in use. Clark explains how the program came about and why it is right for the RV industry. He describes how the process works and the protections built in to the system to protect RV owners and renters alike.

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Podcast 96: Winnebago CEO Mike Happe

(June 9, 2016) — Podcast 96 of RV Industry News begins with host Greg Gerber quelling speculation that the recently introduced RVs Move America economic report may have been embellished. This week’s guest is Mike Happe, the new president and CEO of Winnebago Industries. He offers his early impressions of the company, the RV industry and overall market. He also outlines some of his goals for Winnebago and addresses how working from a remote office in Minnesota won’t impact his ability to lead the company.

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Podcast 95: Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk

(June 2, 2016) — Recognizing June as Great Outdoors Month, this week’s podcast begins with a description of the size and scope of the outdoor industry. This week’s guest is Dan Wenk, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. Wenk describes his history with the park service and why he settled on the outdoor industry as a career. He also talks about Yellowstone in particular and what the National Park Service is doing to improve services for RV users. He even offers some advice for people who chose to visit national parks, especially Yellowstone.

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Podcast 94: Tents For Troops, Toutle River RV Resort

(May 26, 2016) — Podcast episode 94 features an interview with Charlie Curry, the founder of Tents for Troops and the manager of Toutle River RV Resort. The resort in Castle Rock, Wash., is located between Olympia, Wash., and Portland, Ore. It’s a sprawling campground with hundreds of sites and plenty of activities for families. Curry has also been working with park model manufacturers to develop and build units especially for handicapped people. Through Tents for Troops, he describes his mission to make two nights of free camping available to active duty military members through partnerships with campgrounds and RV parks nationwide. His passion is fueling his motivation to expand the service to include RV stays at member campgrounds.

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Podcast 93: Brazel’s RV Performance Center

(May 19, 2016) — This week’s podcast features an interview with Jon Brazel, the parts manager at Brazel’s RV Performance Center in Centralia, Wash. Brazel’s is an independent RV service center that specializes in motorhome chassis service. However, the company also developed some proprietary products under the Ultra RV Products brand that Brazel’s make available to RV dealers throughout North America to enhance the ride, safety and stability of motorhomes. Brazel describes those products and talks about why the company sees tremendous potential in RV service, especially to traveling RVers.

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Podcast 92: Randy Sobel with Sobel University

(May 13, 2016) — Randy Sobel, president of Sobel Associates in Tacoma, Wash, and founder of Sobel University, is a legendary sales trainer and speaker within the RV industry. He explains how a changing paradigm is already impacting RV dealers and why training is not a one-time-only event, but an ongoing process. He talks about how the Sobel University courses he developed can prepare anyone to become better at coaching customers through the buying process. Events that get sales people hyped up aren’t effective in maintaining sales success. That’s because they lack a solid, understandable process that works consistently.

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Podcast 91: Finance and insurance expert Jan Kelly

(May 6, 2016) — Kelly talks about some trends she is seeing in the F&I segment having to do with regulations and reserve requirements. She also talks about compliance issues and why dealers need to diversify into other products. She even provides tips on how F&I managers can convert cash customers into financing their purchases. Perhaps the best part of this interview is that Kelly takes RV dealers to task over their approach in hiring people to fill F&I positions.

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Podcast 90: David Robinson from Roadmaster

(April 29, 2016) — Podcast 90 starts with host Greg Gerber reading an email he received and a Facebook post he saw this week complaining about product quality of RVs. Then he interviews David Robinson, Roadmaster’s director of marketing, about the company and its commitment to product quality. They discuss a tour of the facility where products are designed and built in America, and what the company is doing to stay ahead of the constantly evolving RV and automotive industries. Robinson talks about what Roadmaster is doing to help dealers better serve people who want to tow vehicles and other equipment behind their RVs, and enjoy a better, more comfortable driving experience.

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Podcast 89: Ryan Douglas with CampReward.com

(April 21, 2016) — This week’s guest is Ryan Douglas, the co-founder of CampReward.com, a new website that rewards RV users just for camping. Those rewards include free nights, camping gear, or other lifestyle products. People also earn points by booking reservations online. Campgrounds pay nothing to be listed on the site, and pay only when a reservation is made. The RV parks can also set up their own special promotions.

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Podcast 88: Debbie Sipe, with CalARVC

(April 14, 2016) — CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe addresses some of the biggest challenges that campground owners face in California, and they are likely the same problems faced by campground owners in other parks. Sipe explains why rate increases have been imposed in recent years, and she addresses the need for an industry-wide effort to improve the amount of data available to RV-related businesses.

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Podcast 87 features Waste Master’s Doug Swarts

(March 31, 2016) — Doug Swarts is the founder of Drainmaster and the Waste Master Sewer Management System for RVs. He developed the system as a full-time RVer who grew frustrated with the hassle and mess of dumping RV holding tanks the traditional way. Swartz describes how his system works and how he developed it. He also explains why the RV industry needs to embrace this technology and the biggest reason is that consumers want it. The second is reason is to embrace a solution before it’s mandated upon the industry. He explains that if RV manufacturers don’t want to install it, then RV dealers have an opportunity to make good money installing the system in a few hours.

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Podcast 86 features Valterra Products leaders

(March 23, 2016) — Podcast episode 86 of RV Industry News opens with a discussion about an individual in Arizona who is targeting RV parks for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Then Valterra President George Grengs describes the strategy behind those acquisitions as well as a little history of the company. National Sales Manager Donna Warr talks about why the company finds two-step distribution to be so successful. Marketing Manager Tera Grengs explains her focus packaging products as well as what Valterra does to get input from RV owners about products they need.

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Podcast 85: RVIA futurist plus MyRVDestinations

Podcast episode 85 of RV Industry News opens with an overview of a presentation made during the RV Industry Association’s annual meeting in Tucson. Futurist Jack Uldrichspoke to industry leaders about what he sees happening in the future and the possible impact it could have on the RV industry. This week’s guest is Cory Heward, founder of MyRVDestinations.com, a new website that offers the ability to search for campgrounds, but also for RV-friendly places near them. Best of all, the site encourages local people to submit their recommendations for fun things to do in their areas.

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Podcast 84: Tom Derzypolski from BowStern

(Feb. 25, 2016) — Derzypolski says the industry has matured and, in doing so, is becoming more attractive to more people. He describes trends among RV buyers and users, and touches on how digital media is playing a tremendous role in trip planning and purchase decisions. He also offers some advice as to how RV-related businesses could best put this data to use in making strategic changes to what they offer and how they reach RV consumers.

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Podcast 82: Utility Supply Group’s Wade Elliott

(Feb. 4, 2016) — Wade Elliott, the president of Utility Supply Group, talks about a trend in which campgrounds are installing meters and then billing RVers for the electricity they use, and why it will impact daily and weekend campers within a few years. He also addresses some of the problems people complain about regarding campground electricity, and closes by talking about Care Camps, a group he’s involved in that sends sick kids to camp each summer.

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PODCAST 81: BAL’s John Hawkins

(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.

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PODCAST 80: David Gorin

(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.

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PODCAST: ARC’s Derrick Crandall plus Ken Rishel

(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.

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