Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80agreement. O’Leary later took note of rising consumer interest in RVs, particularly as other developers started building RV parks in theTucson area. In fact, when developers Doug Mercier and Tilton Newell ran into construction delays as they were build- ing Far Horizons Tucson Village RV Resort in 1972, they asked O’Leary if he couldprovidespacesforabout20guests with towable RVs for a few weeks until Tucson Village was ready to accommodate them. O’Leary not only agreed, but he did the math and realized he could make more money with RV sites than mobile home sites because RVs were smaller than mobile homes. “TheincomefromRVswasmuchbet- ter than it was from mobile homes,” O’Leary said. “The density for mobile homes was about six to eight per acre. That’s what was allowable by the local codes. But you could have up to 20 RVs onthesameamountofspace.Wesettled on 15.” Mathematically, he said, it was feasi- bleinthelate1970stogenerate$975per acrewithRVs,whilemobilehomescould produceonlyabout$600usingthesame amount of space. O’Leary sold Rincon Country Mobile HomeParkin1978andtransitionedinto theRVparkbusiness.Hestartedbuilding RinconCountryEastin1979andRincon CountryWestin1983.Hehasfocusedhis attention on making improvements to bothparkseversince—andhisbusiness has continued to grow. But while O’Leary has clearly devel- oped successful RV parks, he has also learned several lessons through his nearlyfivedecadesofRVparkownership that are useful for dealing with park guests as well as contractors he hires to make park improvements. His advice to park operators: • Stand up for yourself. “You have to be courteous and nice to everybody. But it’s essential you that you learn how to samekindsofopportunitiesforgueststo get to know each other.“It’s the relation- ships snowbirds build with each other throughalloftheclubsandactivitiesthat bring them back each year,” said O Leary, adding that 80% to 90% of Rin- conCountry’sbusinessisrepeatbusiness. Snowbirds also enjoy Rincon Coun- try’s onsite amenities and facilities, which are constantly being improved. Fouryearsago,theO’Learysinvested more than $1 million improving the roadsatthetwoRinconCountryresorts. They also added four more pickleball courts at the West Resort, doubling the number of courts for pickleball enthusi- asts, and resurfaced two tennis courts at thesamepark.Theyalsostartedworkon a two-story building that will eventually house a larger gym. Meanwhile, at Rincon Country East, SandraO’Learyexpandedandimproved the park’s pet play area and provided more seating for dog owners. The East Parkalsotripledthesizeofitsparkmodel rental pool to 20-plus units. The O’Learys’ in-house carpenters are also constantlyupgradingtheirfleetofrental accommodations, adding Arizona Rooms and decks for additional living space. The improvements didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, the East Park installed an observatory with an 11-inch Cele- stron reflector telescope, which is used by the resort’s Astronomy Club. Park guests can now view the planets and constellationseveryThursdaynightwith the help of Astronomy Club members. As one might expect, the O’Learys have won considerable recognition for their efforts over the years, the latest being the 2016 Park of the Year Awards from the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds for the both East andWest Parks. But while it may seem as if George O’Leary had always intended to develop RVparks,hisinitialplanwastomerelyto buildamobilehomeparkinTucsonand return to St. Paul, Minn., where he had established himself in the construction business after immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. O’Leary started building the 550- space Rincon Country Mobile Home parkinTucsonin1970.“Itwasjustacon- structionjob,”herecalled,addingthathe hadabusinesspartnerwhowasgoingto run the mobile home park. O’Leary soon took an interest in the business, however, and eventually took over his partner’s interest by mutual The two resorts offer plenty of indoor space to get together. Lush grass and a fountain distract from the desert climate. Campground Overviews Name: Rincon CountryWest RV Resort Address: 4555 S. Mission Road,Tuc- son, AZ 85746 Number of sites: 1,100 Season: Open year-round Website: Contact: 520-294-5608 Name: Rincon Country East RV Resort Address: 8989 E. Escalante Road, Tucson, AZ Number of sites: 460 Season: Open year-round Website: Contact: 520-886-8431 Physical description: Both parks have heated swimming pools, spas, exer- cise rooms, tennis and pickleball courts and banquet facilities as well as rooms for club meetings. Specialty clubs have a woodworking shop, a pottery room, a lapidary room and a sewing room, which are shared by guests at both parks.The East Park has an observatory with an 11-inch telescope, while theWest Park has a garden railroad. Rates: Standard RV sites range from $49 per night or $270 per week plus tax at the East Park to $53 per night or $280 per week plus tax at theWest Park. Monthly rates are $725; $2,055 for three months; $3,275 for five months; and $5,145 annually at both parks. Park model rentals range from $450 off-season per week to $630 per week from January through March. Monthly rates range from $900 to $1,400 per month off-season to $1,950 to $2,500 per month from January through March. WCM January 2017 - 29 separate the wheat from the chaff. You havetostandupforyourselfandstickto your guns,” O’Leary said.This applies to everything — ensuring guests abide by park rules, that employees meet job requirements and that contractors fulfill the terms of their contracts. • Make sure you have a handbook of rules and regulations for your employ- ees. •Getgoodlegaladviceandmakesure you are aware of everything you need to do to comply with the law. •Getacompletiondatefromcontrac- tors or vendors involved in your con- struction or other park improvement projects. Make sure that penalties are specifiedinthecontractforeachdaythat a project remains unfinished. O’Leary said he has learned this lesson the hard way with contractors and construction people who haven’t completed their projects on time. •Whenworkingonamajorconstruc- tion project, hire an independent contractor or architect to certify the percentageoftheworkthathasbeen completed. Don’t rely on your contractor to certify the percentage of work they have completed because they may overstate the amount of work that has actually been completed. • Avoid hiring a contractor who does double-duty as an architect. O’Leary said he has learned through experiencethatthiscreatesaninher- ent conflict of interest because it enables the architect to inspect his ownworkandcertifyitforpayment.This invariably leads to problems. • Hire the best people you can find andcompensatethemwell.O’Learysaid this advice reflects a certain level of maturity and life experience on his part, but he feels it is good advice. More than 30 of O’Leary’s staff members have been working with him for more than a decade and several of them have been workingwithhimformorethan20or30 years. Doreen Fuller, who served as O’Leary’s office manager for both parks, recently retired after serving 35 years. Other longtime employees who con- tinue to work at his two parks include Annette Weinell, the front office man- ager for the West Park, who has worked with him for 30 years, while CFO Wendy Bykofskyhasbeenwithhimfor24years. Other longtime employees include Bob Smith,O’Leary’s“concreteguy,”whohas worked with him for 31 years, while many other staff members, including maintenance staff, housekeeping and mailroom clerks, have worked with him for a decade or more. Although O’Leary continues to be in good health and has no plans to retire anytime soon, he said he feels very muchateaseknowingthathehasawell trained and loyal staff who are commit- tedtoensuringthecontinuedsuccessof the two Rincon Country RV Resorts. — Jeff Crider WCM Railroad enthusiasts get a chance to work on the train system at Rincon West.