In remarks at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Annual Membership Meeting on March 8 in Palm Springs, Calif., RVIA Chairman of the Board Gregg Fore praised members for their active participation in the association and in helping set the organizational agenda.
“I want to thank you for giving your time, talents and resources on behalf of all industry members,” said Fore. “Your input helps us develop our strategic plan that guides all of our activities and identifies our long-term goals and objectives.”
According to a news release, Fore stressed that the association’s Strategic Plan, reviewed and updated every two years, is crucial to the association’s success by helping identify opportunities and threats. “This plan ensures our activities have relevance to all member groups. It provides the marching orders for the association and the baseline by which programs, activities and staff are measured,” he said.
He reviewed the progress on several key items on the current Strategic Plan, including:
- RV Technician Training and Certification – Substantial progress has been made in this area through the joint efforts of RVIA and RVDA to enhance and improve technician training. After a process to identify barriers to deliver ongoing training to technicians, the industry unveiled the new RV Career Ladder that gives technicians the option of two paths to certification. One path maintains the existing testing process to become a certified or master certified technician while the new approach allows technicians to become certified in specialty RV service areas. In addition, revamped training programs are being introduced that are adaptable to the new career ladder.
- RV Industry Promotion – The debut of the new Go RVing “AWAY” campaign in February and the ongoing success of RVIA’s public relations programs in generating media coverage is boosting the profile of RV travel and camping. “”These two efforts work hand-in-hand in making sure the public perception of RVing stays on a positive track to improve sales over time,” Fore said.
- State Franchise Legislation – This legislation defines how RV manufacturers and dealers conduct business in each state. In recent years, RVIA has shifted its focus from constantly attempting to amend franchise legislation that is geared toward the automotive industry to address RV industry concerns to an approach that attempts to adopt RV-specific franchise legislation that takes into account the differences between automotive and RV industry business models. “Working with dealer groups, we have been able to enact RV-specific franchise legislation in 15 states to date,” said Fore. “That is significant progress on this key point.”
- RV Industry Trade Shows – Fore reported that while the National RV Trade Show and California RV Show are successful events that continue to offer value to the industry, the association realizes that new approaches and improvements need to be considered to ensure the industry’s’ and members’ interests are being served by these national events. “We are having conversations with executives from across the industry to examine the potential size, scope, timing and venue for an event that could better serve the evolving needs of the industry,” he said.
- RV Standards Harmonization – The fact that U.S. and Canadian RV standards are not harmonized has been a burden for both manufacturers and dealers on both sides of the border. “With the formation of the RVIA’s Canadian Coalition Committee last year, significant progress is being made to address this issue and to become a more North American RV industry,” Fore said
In addition to discussing the importance of being involved in association business, Fore also urged industry members to be active on external issues to help shape the economic and political landscape that impact the RV industry.
“It is incumbent upon each of us, as well as RVIA, to actively engage our political leaders to voice our positions on key issues that impact our businesses, employees and families,” Fore said. “We all need to continue to fight for a free business environment that is grounded in the proven laws of supply and demand, that promotes healthy and honest competition among business entities, and that is devoid of onerous and artificial market influences. We all have a responsibility to stay involved so that we are prepared for the issues we face today and the ones we will face tomorrow.”