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 .
Wed Apr 26, 2017
In the early 2000s, Inverter Service Center in White House, Tennessee was a retailer of power inverters and electrical systems for the recreation vehicle industry.
The company would sell the inverters to customers and if the products required maintenance and service, they would bring them back to the building.
From there, P.J. Gonzalez and his team would send them off to Trace Engineering in Washington state, where they would be repaired and sent back. After a while, Gonzalez decided the time and resources involved in the lengthy repair chain had gotten too complex and inconvenient for the customer.
“It was one of those soft launches of sorts. It wasn’t even intentional. We were selling them (the inverters) and as they were needing service, we realized the freight and transit time ate up a lot of money and resources,” Gonzalez says. “These coaches are pretty time sensitive. I started looking at those inverters before I had sent them to see if it was something I could fix on the spot. I figured out some simple repairs, would repair them and hand it back.
“Trace (Engineering) took notice and they asked us why and I said I was doing some of the repairs myself. They decided to train us. I flew out for a couple of weeks and worked in their service department. It wasn’t just one day that this started. I was just curious and it built over time.”
Now, about 15 years later, Inverter Service Center is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced repair businesses in the industry, with a combined 75 years of experience among Gonzalez, Randy Seabolt, Jordan Hall and Ray Barbee, the technicians and employees who work there.
“Randy has about 30 years of experience, I have 25 years of experience in all of that and Jordan has been doing this for five or six years now,” Gonzalez says. “You throw Ray Barbee in the mix, he’s been in this since the beginning – 25 years of experience as well. That’s kind of unheard of these days to stick in the industry that long.”
However, the opportunity to work on problems every day is something that appeals to the four (soon to be five) employees. For them, it’s a chance to learn, to solve a problem and to engage in an industry that’s booming as it never has before.
“It’s complex. In order to be in this line of work, you have to have an analytical mind,” Gonzalez says. “You’re prone to want to figure out problems. That’s basically what keeps everybody going. It’s different every day. It’s not like you’re figuring out the same problems every day. It’s always different. Sometimes, I get a call with a problem that is something I’ve never heard of happening. I like that. It’s a constant barrage of new stuff.”
With a lot to do and only four employees, the personnel at Inverter Service Center wear a lot of hats each day. Gonzalez is the manager, but still works on repairs, does sales, maintains three different websites, handles purchasing, invoicing credit cards and marketing.
Seabolt handles all of the repairs and he along, with Hill, pull out the inverters, repair them and reinstall them. Hill also handles content updates to the website, flyers and special sales and takes part in marketing meetings.
Barbee, who has been with the company for about six weeks, also handles the repairs.
When the Inverter Service Center started doing its own repairs, the technology was fairly new and manufacturers had simply been installing the power inverters “willy nilly,” Gonzalez says. Getting in at the right time has meant that the Inverter Service Center employees have been able to learn the technology from the beginning and adapt to the changing industry. Now, the technology is better, there are proper applications and the safety features have evolved.
However, the service side of things has remained fairly consistent over the years.
“Those kinds of technological advances have occurred with inverters and buses and RVs,” Gonzalez says. “Pure sine wave inverters was pretty unheard of back in the day. It was all modified. As the years have progressed on, you see a lot more.”
Pure sine wave inverters are a form of clean electricity, about as close to the type of electricity one would get from plugging into a wall at home, while a modified sine wave inverter is both consumes more energy and does not last as long. While a modified sine wave inverter is generally cheaper, the price of the pure sine wave models has been coming down, making them a much more affordable option, Gonzalez says.
In the beginning, the technicians would normally do four to five RV units a week, sending the other inverters off to Washington state to do the rest. Now, the company is doing about that many per day and has partnerships with many of the leading manufacturers in the RV industry. A few of those manufacturers include the following:
• Schneider Electric
• Horizon Global
• Progressive Dynamics
Many of those partnerships developed early and have stayed with the company for years. Their expertise and industry knowledge is known throughout the industry.
“They are the most knowledgeable people about electrical systems that you will find in this industry,” Xantrex Senior Marketing Manager Mitul Chandrani says.
To visit the Inverter Service Center’s website and to see the products and services it offers, visit the link below.
Additional Information: http://inverterservicecenter.com/