Wed Jun 28, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
A proposal has been forwarded by Recreation Vehicle Aftermarket Association Board of Directors to merge its association with The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) under the RVIA name to represent the interests of both the industry and the aftermarket going forward.
RVAA and RVIA have been in open negotiations since February about RVIA's representation of the RV aftermarket industry and both boards have given their unanimous approval in the joint venture. From here, the RVAA members will be given a chance to vote on the motion.
"We are pleased to report that after numerous meetings between the leadership at RVIA and RVAA, the full Boards of both organizations have voted unanimously to move forward with RVIA representing the RV aftermarket industry," according to a statement from RVAA. "Finalizing the agreement requires approval by the full RVAA membership and RVAA Board members will be reaching out to all members in advance of our August meetings to answer any questions, and to further highlight the many benefits of working together moving forward. In advance of that, we wanted to share some of the topline details from the Memorandum of Understanding.
Bob Brammer, president of Stromberg Carlson Products and a member of the RVAA Board of Directors says that this partnership between RVIA and RVAA has been on his and others' minds for decades and it was the correct time to put the motion forward.
"RVIA's leadership has had a large transformation," Brammer says in an email. "They are no longer just an OEM organization. Their mission and RVAA's mission are similar in expanding the RV market. (RVIA President) Frank (Hugelmeyer), (RVIA Vice President of Communications and Marketing) James (Ashworth) and others at RVIA have reached out at the right time and shown great vision as to why we fit together, and they lend us their financial strength."
RVIA is financially sound and it maintains a diverse membership that in addition to its manufacturer members includes more than 200 RV supplier companies and nearly 80 associate members.
Building an alliance between RVIA and RVAA strengthens the aftermarket’s voice within the RV industry – as well as in important areas including regulatory agencies, federal and state legislators and the trade, national and local media, according to a press release.
“RVIA’s mission is clear and precise: Promote and protect the RV industry and our members," RVIA President Hugelmeyer says. "This includes members in all segments. By joining with RVIA, current RVAA members can be directly and actively involved in RVIA’s ongoing federal and state efforts to protect their business interests against onerous legislative and regulatory overreach, and to assist in our work to ensure a favorable business environment for all of our members. The competition is not ourselves – and together we are stronger.”
Brammer says he is most excited about being under one roof and being unified in purpose. There are also numerous challenges that will be faced during the transition, but the unity and the idea that everyone will have the same goal in mind will help bridge the gap quicker and more efficiently.
"There has to be more strength in one tent this way pushing expansion of the market through all of our common customers and those who buy our products," Brammer says. "Many smaller entities will feel overlooked by RVIA's size and past reputation as an OEM group. But the opposite is true as well. Our voice will be amplified by RVIA's strength. The committees need people to run and a person's ability to contribute will come out. Many of the most active and creative members of RVIA now are from smaller industry companies who simply have a passion for what we all do."
Any current RVAA member in good standing would have full access to all RVIA member benefits, such as industry resources including market information, research and data, publications, as well as educational programs and materials. Additionally, RVAA members in good standing would be eligible to run for RVIA’s Board of Directors, and would be encouraged to get involved with RVIA’s many industry-related committees.
RVIA recognizes the value and importance of the RVAA RV Aftermarket Executive Conference, and RVIA has pledged a three-year commitment to the uninterrupted continuation of that event under its current format and construct. During this period, RVAA stakeholders and RVIA’s Tradeshow & Events Committee will evaluate the event and make recommendations for the future.
Upon membership approval to move forward, the current RVAA Board of Directors would make up the newly-formed RV Aftermarket Committee within RVIA. The RV Aftermarket Committee Chairman would be current RVAA and RVIA Board member, Craig Floyd, to ensure the voice of the aftermarket and distribution segment carries the same weight within the organization as all other standing committees.
Steve Johnson of RVAA will assume the role as co-chair of the RV Aftermarket Committee. The current Board of RVAA will be members of the committee for at least two years. The RV Aftermarket Committee would report directly to RVIA’s Board of Directors.
“It’s been a lot of thought provoking work coming to this point but the RVAA Board feels confident that this is the right move for this association and its members,” RVAA President Susan Carpenter says. "This is an exciting time for the aftermarket segment and a great opportunity to raise our visibility within our industry and to important external audiences. We hope you share our optimism for the future and we look forward to speaking with you in the coming days and to seeing all of you at the Executive Conference."