The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Thu Nov 10, 2016
Jeff Hirsch of Campers Inn RV in Jacksonville, Florida, is this year’s recipient of the 2016 James B. Summers Award presented by the Recreational Vehicle Dealer’s Association. Hirsh was also recognized by an RVDA Chairman’s Service Award and as past RVDA Chairman.
“I want to thank the present and past leaders of the RVDA, who I have worked with and have learned so much from,” Hirsch said during his acceptance speech on Wednesday. “My first RVDA duty was when Jim Summers called me into service in the late ‘70s. I lobbied at Edward Kennedy’s office and he recommended that we get out of the business.
“Our industry was doomed, according to Washington,” Hirsh said. “I could have easily delivered the fate back home. But I was more determined than ever. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed a lot of accomplishments. It’s important to be the ‘what’ in the RV industry, but it’s also important to be the ‘who.’ Today, you have proclaimed me as a ‘who’ and I am extremely grateful.”
Hirsch is a second generation dealer who has built his dealership and his business into one of the largest in the country, while he served as a leader of the RVDA.
In other action, out-going RVDA Chairman Brian Wilkins handed organization leadership to Darrel Friesen of the All Seasons RV Center in Yuba City, Calif. at the RVDA Convention and Expo’s annual meeting.
Others named to fill positions include: First Vice Chairman Tim Wegge of Burlington RV Superstore in Sturtevant, Wisc.; Second Vice Chairman Mike Regan of Crestview RV Center in Buda, Texas.; Treasurer Ron Shepherd of Camperland of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Okla.; Secretary Glenn Thomas of Bill Thomas Camper Sales in Wentzville, Mo.
Friesen says his father Ernie, a past chairman of the RVDA, helped inspire and guide him.
“Even though I went to college thinking I wanted to be an electrical engineer, I came back every summer to work at the dealership,” Friesen said. “I ended up in pretty much every department. The idea was for me to get an all-around education in the different aspects of the dealership with the intent that I would take over down the road. The RV business is so rewarding and provides a lot of satisfaction, when you know you’ve helped a family or older couple find the RV of their dreams.”
RVDA President Phil Ingrassia spoke about the state of the industry during the event.
“We certainly are in for some changes ahead in light of (the) election,” Ingrassia said. “In his victory remarks last night, President-elect Trump singled out investment in the nation’s infrastructure – roads and bridges – as one of his top priorities. Vice President-elect Pence is from Indiana and knows our industry better than anyone who has ever been on a presidential ticket. Some in this room know Governor Pence personally. No matter who you voted for, there are opportunities ahead.”
This year in the RV industry is shaping up to be the best year the industry has seen since 1977 and outdoor recreation and the RV industry itself can serve as a major rallying point for those in the country, Ingrassia says.
“Outdoor recreation needs to be positioned like tech or aerospace or autos as a major economic driver in the U.S. and we are ready with policy recommendations to advance this agenda,” Ingrassia says. “After a contentious election, outdoor recreation is in a great position to be a unifying force in our country.”
The industry has enjoyed continually increasing sales figures, more dealers, manufacturers and suppliers, a greater interest from virtually all sectors zeroing in on the RV industry and the first RV retailer IPO in more than 20 years.
“There is a lot of attention on our industry, with many outsiders asking the question, ‘How long can this run of success continue,’” Ingrassia said. “I’ve had the privilege of visiting several dealership grand opening celebrations this year and I’m blown away with the sales and service experience so many of you are providing customers every day.
“There are lots of things that should continue the industry on the pathway toward growth. The challenge will be to sustain the momentum through improving the industry’s supply chain process.”