Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) has named Joe B. McAdams as its new president, effective Jan. 1.
As part of the move, McAdams will step down as owner, chairman, president and CEO of Privileged Access LP, a Frisco, Texas-based RV and vacation membership business that currently leases approximately 24,100 sites at 81 ELS Properties, including the Thousand Trails network.
ELS said that McAdams will remain on the Privileged Access board and retain 100% ownership of the company.
McAdams was on the ELS board from January 2004 to October 2005 before forming Privileged Access. Previously, he was president and CEO of Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc.
“We are pleased to have Joe join the company as a member of our executive team,” said ELS CEO Thomas Heneghan. “Joe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company.”
ELS said it considered acquiring Privileged Access, but determined that “the best strategic option available” was to bring McAdams into ELS management.
In its statement, ELS said: “The company recognizes that Mr. McAdams may have a conflict of interest with respect to his ownership of Privileged Access and his role in the company. To mitigate this potential conflict, Mr. McAdams will not be involved in the monitoring of the current contracts, or negotiation of future contracts, with Privileged Access on behalf of the company.”
ELS also said it is evaluating whether to consolidate Privileged Access.
ELS is a real estate investment trust which owns or has an interest in 311 properties in 28 states and British Columbia consisting of 112,724 sites.
Meanwhile, David McCrum, a long-time Thousand Trails manager, was named chief administrative officer at Thousand Trails. He joined Thousand Trails in 1987 as a vice president and was promoted to treasurer in 1992. He is a CPA.
“We have benefited tremendously from Joe’s leadership,” said McCrum. “We have a clearly branded business and a loyal membership, supported by a tenured management team with a strong bench. This company is poised for continued growth as the leader in private membership camping and outdoor recreation destination travel.”
As president and CEO of Privileged Access, McAdams took the camping-club concept to a new level by building a high-quality network of parks with sufficient financial backing to meet or exceed member expectations on an ongoing basis, according to a news release.
McAdams’ network relied on resorts owned by ELS, one of the nation’s largest owners of upscale RV resorts, as well as his own strategic Privileged Access campground acquisitions, including two brand names in the membership business: Thousand Trails L.P. and Outdoor World Corp.
He scouted the country looking for campground chains with parks and RV resorts in attractive vacation destinations. He then bought the camping clubs or worked out an agreement with ELS through which ELS buys the land while McAdams purchased the actual camping-club businesses and member rosters and leased the land from ELS.
He launched this concept with his acquisition of Thousand Trails in April 2006. Privileged Access bought the camping club’s operations, while ELS owned Thousand Trails’ real-estate holdings, which included 59 campgrounds with 18,535 sites plus about 3,000 acres of vacant land. ELS, in turn, leased back the Thousand Trails campgrounds to Privileged Access.
It was an arrangement that benefited McAdams as well as ELS, which continues to acquire RV parks and campground real estate in some of the most desirable locations in the country.