The board of directors of the Ekhart, Ind.-based RV/MH Heritage Foundation (Foundation) has announced the names of those who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) as members of the Class of 2021.
Foundation President Darryl Searer said, “Congratulations to the ten new honorees. All of them have had or are having outstanding careers and are richly deserving of this high honor.”
The Class of 2021 includes:
Eleonore Hamm, CRVDA , Canada B.C.
Eleonore Hamm is a leader who has strengthened and unified the RV industry, not only in Canada but in the U.S. as well. Hamm’s passionate promotion of technical education, her development of deep bonds with the campground segment and her successful government lobbying has raised the stature and professional level of the industry. The RVDA of Canada under Eleonore’s lead has partnered with the CRVA as well as the RVDA, RVIA and others to unite the industry to overcome common obstacles. She worked closely with dealers and industry stakeholders to provide RVs to first responders during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic outside of the RV and camping industry. Hamm was frequently seen volunteering in her community at youth hockey fundraising events as well as charity drives supporting homelessness.
Jeffery M. Hirsh, Campers Inn RV, Florida
Few people can match Jeff Hirsh’s achievements in business and volunteer work in the RV industry and the local communities he serves. Over his career, he built a network of 28 RV dealerships in multiple states, while also serving in many capacities for the RVDA. Jeff looks for ways to give back and pay forward. On the local level, he often lends RVs for charitable events. He bought uniforms for the little league baseball team, a new radar gun for the police department and special equipment for the East Kingston Elementary School to set up a virtual television and have a remote classroom. His volunteer activities include: Make a Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, Heart Association and many others. Hirsh served in several capacities on the RVDA board of directors. He also received RVDA’s highest honor – the JB Summer’s Award, and the Chairman’s Service Award, among several others.
Robert “Bob” Parish, Wells Fargo CDF, Florida
Bob Parish’s knowledge gained as a significantly involved volunteer to the industry helped Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) – as a critical component of the RV industry – navigate the uncertainty of 2008-2009. CDF was the only wholesale finance lender to continuously fund the RV dealer base. CDF remained true to the industry by fairly communicating a strategy necessary to remain a partner in one of the darkest periods in the RV industry, which benefitted the viability of the industry as a whole. In addition to being successful in his career, Parish has consistently provided support to issues impacting the growth of the RV industry through willing and dedicated service at the board and committee levels of RVlA, using calm rationale and a data-driven approach, yet with diplomacy. He has also been a champion for RVDA’s Con/Expo as a Wells Fargo CDF Gold Sponsor for many years and a charter sponsor of the Top 50 RV Dealer Awards. His key guidance in the formation of the RV Technical Institute is noteworthy as it will have a positive industry impact for many years to come.
Jim Sheldon, Fleetwood Enterprises – Monaco Coach, California
The RV industry has achieved the success it has because of people like Jim Sheldon a leader who puts the good of the industry above all else. His ability to keep competitors and industry partners moving in the same direction to take the industry to new heights is what sets him apart. Sheldon’s actions, as evidenced by his awards, were viewed by his industry peers as continuously striving to encourage the multiple constituencies of the RV industry to work collectively for the growth and betterment of the industry, distinguished service and extraordinary contributions to the industry’s overall success. He was the original chairman of the committee on excellence, with a focus on improving customer service. Sheldon also has been a dedicated industry statesman during his entire career. From improving customer service, leading the Committee on Excellence, to being a founding member of the GoRVing Coalition, to testifying against unreasonable regulations, to unifying the industry through his leadership, Sheldon has left an indelible mark on the industry.
Bob Tiedge, Lippert Components, Indiana
Bob Tiedge has been instrumental in the success of not only Lippert Components, but as a true visionary for the RV industry in the field of hydraulics, product design and innovation. He has been a leader in every sense of the word and has always been focused on continuous improvement, servicing customers and making the experience of RVing the very best it could be for the retail consumers. A brilliant mind and servant leader capable of developing patentable products, he was willing to drive thousands of miles at a minute’s notice to keep RV families on the road. For over ten years, Tiedge developed hydraulics for Fleetwood, when Lippert asked if he’d leave his former company and work on Lippert’s slide out. He moved immediately to Syracuse, Ind., and started work on the slide out project for Lippert Components. He parked his motorhome at the plant and stayed day and night working on new prototypes that are now main stream on all hydraulic slide-out units in the industry today. He started hydraulic landing gear for RVs that were more powerful, robust and faster than electric counterparts. Tiedge took the landing gear a step further and started LCl’s leveling program and was responsible for why leveling is on every single high profile fifth wheel that is built today. Leveling a towable frame was quite an accomplishment. Bob Tiedge is a very valuable teammate and invaluable asset to LCI and the RV industry. He’s helped make LCI what it is today. He has been a wonderful mentor and champion of our industry.
Manufactured Housing Inductees
Ken Anderson, MHIA, Arizona
Ken Anderson’s dedication to the manufactured housing industry and the Manufactured Housing Industry of Arizona (MHIA) is beyond measure. He gave up his own retail sales operation of 30 years to help save the association and the industry in Arizona by becoming the president of the association and helping it to stay afloat and even prosper during trying times. He served on the board and Executive Committee for more than a decade. He helped create the Arizona Image Committee, served on the Government Relations & Zoning Committee, ran several annual home shows and chaired many annual conventions. He has also served tirelessly on the national front, serving as a delegate to MHI for many years, as well as serving on the MHI Board of Directors and National Retailers Council. Anderson has also participated in many of the MHI Legislative Meetings, even helping to secure Democrat support for the Dodd-Frank reform bills, including the lead Democrat cosponsor, Kyrsten Sinema, as well as six additional congressmen, giving Arizona representation by seven out of nine of its U.S. Representatives. Anderson has been the recipient of many awards during his time in the industry
Keith I. Casenhiser, Owner/Director, MH parks, California
Keith Casenhiser has contributed much to the manufactured industry. As a senior at the University of Calif., Riverside, Keith started in the manufactured housing industry as an intern at Fleetwood. Partnering with Dick Bessire, the pair now own 10 MH parks and manage 80. Most park owners only participate with the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA), but Keith personally joined other associations and became chairman of the board of the Manufactured Housing Educational Trust (MHET), advisory director for the California Mobilehome Parkowners Alliance (CMPA) past President of the board of directors of WMA. For the past 15 years, he has dedicated his allegiance to the California Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) as past chairman of the board and served as treasurer on the executive committee. Casenhiser speaks and participates at round tables, panels, committees and industry functions for all California MH associations and some in Idaho and Colorado. He received top awards from WMA, CMPA, MHET as well as the Presidents’ Award and Jack E. Wells Award from CMHI. He contributes to many charity fundraisers, is knowledgeable about industry issues and has dedicated his life to his family and his industry.
Charles E. Lott, Fleetwood Homes Inc., Georgia
For five decades, Charles Lott has played a pivotal role in leading affordable housing in America. He has stayed consistent over the years with a strategy that was rooted in designing and building quality homes with a focus on affordability for all Americans. Every stakeholder in the MH industry is better from the impact Charley has made on the evolution of manufactured homes. Most importantly, homeowners continue today to reap the benefit of current trends, needs and wants because of his relentless goal to improve both the homes and the people he has trained over his lengthy career.
Debra J. Pizer, Zeman Properties, Illinois
Dee Pizer’s support of the manufactured housing industry has been significant. This includes guest speaking at MHI national meetings, mentoring women in the industry to reach their potential and continuing to volunteer her time whenever asked to assist other community owners/ developers throughout the country. The time she gives new community owners and operators at these meetings has been a tremendous help to new operators in the Industry. Her reputation and success make her a great source of information and she always makes herself available. She helped change the perception of this being an “exclusively male dominated” industry. She has not only been essential to the growth and success at Zeman Homes, but the overall growth and continuing success of the community industry as a whole.
Alan H. Spencer, Dakotaland Homes, South Dakota
Alan H. Spencer has 35-plus years of accomplishments in the MH industry, including MH community involvement, pioneering direct-to-consumer factory sales lots, expansion and management of national MH dealerships and more. Alan has decades-long involvement in MH associations and has served on industry-leading national action committees. He has helped to pass laws and fought against legislation that would have negatively impacted the industry or consumers in South Dakota and several midwestern states. He was further instrumental in passing a law in South Dakota that enabled manufactured homes to be placed on foundations, allowing them to be converted to real property giving the customer the option to obtain mortgage financing and therefore making manufactured housing more appealing to a larger customer base.
Searer applauded the work of the nominating committee that had to narrow a list of highly deserving candidates down to the final ten selected. Searer said, “I was especially impressed with the committee’s work for the diversity of this year’s class – not only in the inductee’s gender, but also the diversity of regions within the U.S. as well as the diversion of nominee’s industry segments such as suppliers, manufacturers, dealers, community managers and developers, as well as association executives.”
The Class of 2021 will be officially inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame at the Annual Induction Dinner on Aug. 2, 2021, in Elkhart as long as pending Coronavirus restrictions allow.