April 2015
Volume 39 - Number 9


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Industry News
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Carefree RV

April 07, 2015 3121
Blue Ox's Ox Smart Technical Training Now Eligible for RVDA/RVIA Recertification for RV Technicians

by Blue Ox

RV Technician Receives hands-on training at recently completed Ox Smart Training Seminar

PENDER, Nebr., -- Blue Ox's Ox Smart training program has earned the RVDA/RVIA recertification status.

Blue Ox President and CEO Ellen Kietzmann said, "What this means is that technicians that complete the Ox Smart Training Program can receive credit towards recertification as a Master Certified RV Technician or Certified RV Technician."

Established in 1993 by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA),the goal of the certification program is to identify professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge and ability to satisfy established, respected standards on RV diagnostic and repair procedures. Technicians must pass a rigorous testing process designed to measure technical competency and recognize those who meet or exceed industry standards.

Each spring, Blue Ox brings in a class of approximately 30 RV technicians from across the continent to participate in an extensive two-day training program on Blue Ox's line of RV related products.

The first day is comprised of a field trip to Pender, Nebraska, for factory tours where technicians saw Blue Ox products being manufactured; and experienced hands-on gooseneck installations; SwayPro installations and test drives.

The second day's session is held at the Century Link Center in Omaha where technicians were trained in the installation of towed vehicle baseplates and braking systems. Technicians are also asked to install Trucenter steering controls; sway bars; and Trac Bars on Class A and Class C motorhomes.

Baseplate and chassis component installation is followed by a full seminar covering frequently asked customer questions regarding Blue Ox tow bars and recreational/commercial towing.

Kietzmann said, "This training is designed with the technician in mind so they can install Blue Ox products more quickly, service Blue Ox products more efficiently and recommend Blue Ox products more confidently."

Upon graduation, those that successfully completed the program will receive a certificate that they can submit to RVDA/RVIA for credit when applying for recertification.

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April 06, 2015 3116
RV Safety and Education Foundation to Expand

by RV Safety and Education Foundatio

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - The goal is to reach all three levels of the RV Industry, Consumer, Manufacturer and Dealer segments. Change is a fact of life for any organization looking for growth opportunities. The RV Safety and Education Foundation is no different. Even though it's a nonprofit entity, RVSEF is seeking to extend its message to a broader audience.

To that end, the RV Safety and Education Foundation has brought on board Ken Neuman as Director of Operations. Many will remember Ken as the V.P. of Sales and Marketing for Protect All products. "His ethics, values, experience and most of all, his passion there (at Protect All) spoke volumes." said Walter Cannon, Executive Director."As a long-time supporter of RVSEF, he's very familiar with our goals, and I'm confident he can help us reach more RV enthusiasts and market sectors, solidifying our brand even more with our message of Safety and Education."

"Promoting Education and Safety has always been a challenge, as they're some of the last things we might want to think about when considering Recreation." said Ken. "However, the foundation has a rich history, mountains of data, and a fantastic story 25 years in the making." "Best of all, they're ready for growth." Ken went on to say, "Everything we need is here, so now it's just a matter of generating the media and exposure the RV Safety and Education Foundation needs, in order to continue to grow." "I'm excited about the opportunities here. Moreover, I'm looking forward to working with Walter and the RVSEF road teams, as we expand the brand and move RVSEF further into the place of value oriented resource for Safety and Education."

To learn more about the RV Safety and Education Foundation, what it does, and what it can do for your marketplace segment, contact them at www.rvsafety.com email staff@rvsafety.com or call 321-453-7673.

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April 02, 2015 3113
Winnebago Honors Most Senior Employee

by Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Larry Kearney

Larry Kearney, with 46 years of service serves as Maintenance Trades Supervisor in the company’s maintenance department and has been employed by Winnebago since June 18, 1968, has just become Winnehago's most senior employee..

Larry became Winnebago's number one employee upon the retirement of its former top employee, Irving Larson, on Tuesday, March 31. Larry now has a personalized banner to hang in his work area and his own special parking place, complete with personalized sign.

Winnebago honors its most senior employee with a special reserved parking space.

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April 02, 2015 3112

Leading manufacturer to produce a line of Winnebago Park Model RV's

Champion Home Builders, Inc.: A "Model" Winnebago Licensee

by Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Champion Home Builders, Inc., a leader in the manufactured homes and Park Model RV industry and one of the largest modular homebuilders in North America, announced today that they have entered into a licensing agreement with leading recreation vehicle manufacturer, Winnebago Industries, Inc., for a line of Park Model RV's. The license agreement between Winnebago and Champion was brokered by Winnebago's exclusive North American licensing agent, Brandgenuity.

"We are very excited about this unique licensing opportunity and see the Park Model RV business as a natural extension of our Winnebago brand," said Chad Reece, Director of Marketing at Winnebago. "Based on their history of innovative, quality products and customer satisfaction, we feel that Champion Home Builders is a great choice to carry the Winnebago name into the Park Model RV space."

Champion Home Builders will be introducing the first Winnebago branded Park Model RV line this April at Winnebago's Dealer Days in Las Vegas. Each Park Model RV will be custom designed and authentic to the Winnebago brand, with features and designs that maximize space and storage and that are manufactured with high quality craftsmanship. The line of Winnebago Park Model RV's will be sold at Winnebago dealers as well as Park Model RV dealerships in the United States and Canada.

"We are honored and excited to be working with one of the most iconic Made-in-America brands," said Dick Grymonprez, Director of Park Model Sales at Champion Home Builders. "Champion's Winnebago branded products will provide our customers with the quality and affordable design choices they want when creating their dream vacation home."

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March 31, 2015 3108
RVIA's Bontrager: State of the Association is Strong

by RVIA

In remarks at RVIA’s Annual Membership Meeting on March 11 in Sarasota, FL, RVIA Chairman of the Board Derald Bontrager told members that the association is as strong as it has ever been.

“The RV market is vibrantly healthy and growing; we are in excellent fiscal shape; we have a first-rate professional association staff representing us; and, most importantly, we have active, engaged members who volunteer their time and expertise to serve on the Board and committees working to guide the association,” said Bontrager.

He also noted that RVIA works across a wide range of areas in representing the interests of members as well as the RV industry in general and shared a video reporting on key achievements in 2014.

Bontrager specifically focused on RVIA’s work to address the U.S Housing and Urban Development Agency’s (HUD) memorandum in October that changed the way park model RVs were measured and the expansion of the Technician in Training (TNT) program as examples of how the association works across industry lines for the benefit of all.

“When the park model segment of our industry came under fire with the HUD decision, RVIA rallied and worked with our dealer and campground partners from across the nation to address the issue,” Bontrager said. “The unified approach spurred action and results with HUD backing off the new measurement process and preparing regulations that will define RVs by NFPA 1192 and ANSI 119.5 standards to which they are built. This will hopefully fix the HUD definition of RVs once and for all.”

The TNT pilot program was launched last year to increase the awareness of and participation in the industry’s technician training and certification programs. The effort put “boots on the ground” with field reps calling directly on dealerships in the Pacific Northwest, Texas and Louisiana. One hundred and eighty RV dealerships were visited with 608 RV technicians participating in 47 training events.

Based on that success, RVIA is joining with RV manufacturers, suppliers and dealers to fund the implementation of the program nationally over the next three years. “This program illustrates what can be accomplished when we all cooperate and are pulling in the same direction,” added Bontrager.

“Our association’s and industry’s greatest strength is unity. It is an incredible asset that we are able to work collectively on issues to achieve success in protecting and growing the RV market,” Bontrager concluded.

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March 30, 2015 3107

Boosts Park Model RV Product Line

Cavco Acquires Chariot Eagle of Ocala, Florida

by Cavco Industries, Inc

PHOENIX, Ariz., -- Cavco Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVCO) announced that it has completed the purchase of the business and operating assets of Chariot Eagle, Inc., a Florida-based manufacturer of park model RVs and manufactured homes.

Cavco's acquisition of Ocala, Fla.-based Chariot Eagle provides the company with additional park model RV product lines, while further strengthening the company's geographic reach in the Southeastern United States, where Chariot Eagle founder Bob Holliday has built a loyal following for the past 30 years.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring aboard entrepreneur Bob Holliday and his team of highly experienced people and to integrate the strong Chariot Eagle brand and family of product offerings with our own growing business," said Joseph Stegmayer, Cavco's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We have been patient in seeking additional growth opportunities for our park model RV and cabin businesses and believe that this acquisition will be a positive long-term strategic move for Cavco and our customers."

Chariot Eagle will continue to produce park models using its existing brand name and Holliday will continue to serve as Chariot Eagle's president.

"Joining forces with the largest and most recognized company in the park model RV and cabin businesses is the right move at the right time," Holliday said. "Our company cultures are similar with an emphasis on quality products and attentive service, treating people fairly, innovation and production flexibility. We know that we will benefit from Cavco's size and strength, which will only help us better serve our current and prospective customers."

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March 25, 2015 3105
TriMas Announces John Aleva as President of Cequent Americas

by Cequent

John Aleva

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- TriMas Corporation (NASDAQ: TRS) – a diversified global manufacturer of engineered and applied products – announced today the transition of leadership within its Cequent business segment. Tom Benson, president of Cequent Performance Products, will be retiring at the end of April. John Aleva, currently president of Cequent Consumer Products, will succeed Benson and be promoted to the new position of president, Cequent Americas, effective April 28, 2015. In this new role, Aleva will lead the Cequent Americas segment, consisting of Cequent Consumer Products and Cequent Performance Products, which, over time, will be integrated. Aleva will report to Mark Zeffiro, group president of Cequent.

It was announced in December 2014 that TriMas is pursuing a tax-free spin-off of 100% of its Cequent businesses into a new stand-alone, publicly traded company. The spin transaction is targeted to be completed in mid-2015. Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of custom-engineered towing, trailer and cargo management products, and other accessories, with a global footprint and a diverse customer base of aftermarket, original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and retail customers.

“John Aleva is a seasoned operations leader with more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry. We expect John to contribute greatly to the future success of the Cequent Americas business,” said Dave Wathen, president and chief executive officer of TriMas. “Tom Benson has dedicated his career to his business, people and customers, and has been successful in all of these areas. He pushes himself for continuous improvement and sets a great example. All of us at TriMas wish Tom an enjoyable and rewarding retirement, and congratulate John on his promotion.”

“With John’s leadership skills, operational expertise, and strong customer relationships, John is well-positioned to successfully lead Cequent Americas,” said Mark Zeffiro, group president. “John has consistently demonstrated his ability to develop and lead high-performing teams, drive focus on the customer and deliver outstanding results.”

John Aleva was appointed president of Cequent Consumer Products in October 2005. He joined the company as director of integration in 2003, prior to which he worked in the Detroit office of Deloitte Consulting LLP and also held positions at an automotive OEM manufacturer and a Tier 1 supplier. John holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, both degrees from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

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March 18, 2015 3100
Equal-i-zer Hitch Receives Fourth Consecutive Peach Award

by Equal-i-zer Hitch

The American manufacturer and innovator in sway-control technology received a Peach Award from Stag-Parkway for the fourth consecutive year, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Matt Darrington, Fastway territory rep.March 17, 2015- Provo, UT-- It has been a fantastic year for Progress Mfg. Inc., makers of The Original Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch. The company received the Readers’ Choice Gold Award from Trailer Life for the third year in a row, is celebrating its 70th year in business, and was recently recognized with a Peach Award from Stag-Parkway, at the distributor’s annual RV conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stag-Parkway seeks partnerships that create mutual success and recognized Equal-i-zer hitch as an exemplary supplier partner. Equal-i-zer hitch was also recognized in 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014, for exhibiting exceptional customer service, superior sales, and providing excellent dealer education and support. Other companies recognized include: RV Design, TRC, Go Power! Safe-T-Alert, and MB Sturgis Inc.

“We are very honored to receive this award for the fifth time,” stated Rich Elliott, VP of Sales and Marketing. “Stag-Parkway has been an important partner to us, and being honored by Stag is a huge compliment.”

As the company celebrates its 70th anniversary, the focus for the year is to continue improving systems, educating dealers, and providing the very best trailer products available.

“This year is an exciting one,” states Product Manager, Matt Best. “We are launching new products, and preparing for continued growth and success. We want our customers and dealers to know how much we appreciate their support, and we are going to continue engineering only the highest-quality hitches and trailer accessories- products that will stand the test of time.”

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March 17, 2015 3098
Blue Ox Concludes Latest OXSMART Training Seminar

by Blue Ox

2015 OXSMART Training Graduation Class


Click Illustration for Larger Image


Click Illustration for Larger Image

OMAHA, Nebr., -- Earlier this month 28 service technicians from across the country gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, to participate in Blue Ox's annual OXSMART Training Seminar.

Blue Ox President and CEO Ellen Kietzmann said, "This training is designed with the technician in mind so they can install Blue Ox products more quickly, service Blue Ox products more efficiently and recommend Blue Ox products more confidently.

"The training is conducted by Blue Ox's product experts that truly understand each line such as tow bars, baseplates, weight distributing, braking systems, steering controls, etc. It is not a classroom training program, but emphasizes hands-on instruction."

OXSMART training spans two days with the first day comprised of field trip to Pender, Nebraska, for factory tours where technicians saw Blue Ox products being manufactured; and experienced hands-on gooseneck installations; SWAYPRO installations and test drives.

The second day's session held at the Century Link Center in Omaha where technicians were trained in the installation of towed vehicle baseplates and braking systems. Technicians were also asked to install Trucenter steering controls; sway bars; and Trac Bars on Class A and Class C motorhomes.

Baseplate and chassis component installation is followed by a full seminar covering frequently asked customer questions regarding Blue Ox tow bars and recreational/commercial towing. Kietzmann said, "One of the many benefits of being a Blue Ox dealer is the opportunity to join our team for hands-on installation training. Blue Ox OXSMART Training is a special advantage available to our dedicated dealers."

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March 04, 2015 3090
Two Campground Industry Leaders Appointed to Positions with Visit California

by Visit California

Gene H. Zanger and Debbie Sipe

SACRAMENTO, Calif., -- Two prominent campground industry officials have been appointed to prominent positions with Visit California, the non-profit marketing organization that keeps California top of mind as a travel destination.

Gene H. Zanger, a co-owner and operator of the historic Casa de Fruta tourism complex and its 300-space RV Orchard Resort in Hollister, was appointed to the Visit California board last week, while Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, was appointed to Visit California's Rural Tourism Committee.

Visit California is a not-for-profit, 501(C)(6) corporation formed in 1998 to work jointly with the State of California's Division of Tourism to implement the annual Marketing Plan, which promotes California as a travel destination. The 37-member Visit California commission comprises individuals from all 12 regions of California. Members represent five principal industry sectors: Accommodations, Restaurants and Retail, Attractions and Recreation, Transportation and Travel Services, and the Passenger Car Rental Industry. Sipe will also serve on CalTravel's Government Relations Committee. The California Travel Association (CalTravel) is California's only statewide organization representing the "collective" voice of advocacy for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality.

Zanger is well known in the campground industry nationally, having received the campground industry's highest honor for an individual: the Stan Martin Memorial Award, which he received in 2010 from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. Sipe, for her part, oversees the California campground industry's government affairs and marketing efforts, including Camp-California.com, the statewide travel planning website.

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