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 .
Tue Dec 5, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
Nestled in the heart of Alabama is a treasure of a city called Guntersville. Located about 42 miles south of Huntsville in the center of the state, Guntersville marks the area where the Tennessee River drops into the Guntersville Lake.
Unknown to many outside of Alabama, Guntersville has multiple campgrounds on the banks of the lake, along with a massive state park. The city has hosted several national fishing tournaments such as the Bass Masters, bowfishing tournaments and more. The city, and the lake that starts there, is referred to by many in the area as the Playground of the South.
There are more than 33 RV parks in the area, some with more than 300 lots. Whenever something breaks or is in need of repair, one of the first service centers the parks call or refer customers to is D&N RV Service.
It is at this service center the large silver cup for the inaugural Top Tech Challenge will make its home. Brandon Galbreath won the competition during the RVIA National Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 29, winning the trophy, along with a check for $10,000.
With a score of 230.59 points out of a possible 294, Galbreath showed his expertise, his ability to safely diagnose and troubleshoot problems and how quickly he can fix issues and install equipment.
Galbreath has been working full-time for D&N RV Service since 2001, and he says his experience working there and the Guntersville community, wheret he went to high school, have helped him become the excellent technician he is.
“What I’m trying to do is shed the light on what a great community we have here,” Galbreath says. “Rather than pat me on the back again, I want to pay it forward and highlight the people and places that have been instrumental in helping me become who I am.”
D&N Owner Ken Nix was the first person to teach Galbreath the basics of troubleshooting. Before he founded D&N, Nix was a Chrysler mechanic. He was, and still is, a staunch believer in doing things by the book, something that Galbreath says has earned the service center the reputation of being the best in the area.
“We’ve built that reputation (with) people who run the parks by always doing it right,” Galbreath says. “If somebody wants me to rig something, I’ll turn them down. It’s either going to be the way it’s supposed to be or it’s not going to be done. ‘Do it right or not at all.’ That’s the motto that’s under our name on our website.”
Over 16 years, Galbreath has seen just about every type of mistake made by RV owners trying to rig something themselves, any type of manufacturer’s defect and every type of problem that can pop up in an RV. The mistakes that can happen when the rules of the book aren’t followed have reinforced his belief in doing things the right way.
“Whenever somebody else in the industry does something wrong, it comes to me to get repaired,” Galbreath says. “I get to see all the different ways people can screw things up and I’m not going to put up with being one of the guys that messes up trying to do something other than the way it should be done.”
One of the things the Top Tech Challenge has done is shine the spotlight on the technicians of the industry, the blue-collar workers who put in long, hard hours and keep the RVs on the road running smoothly, and more importantly, keeping the end customers satisfied with their RV experience.
Galbreath says the industry needs to continue to focus on training technicians and putting competent, talented techs in the industry.
“The biggest thing that needs to happen is to have an actual training program on what the customer expects,” he says. “For the most part, we’ve got good technicians and good manufacturer reps. But we need to know what the customer will expect and then meet or exceed that expectation the vast majority of the time. There are all kinds of customers. There are those who are full-time RVers who are living in their RV as a home and there are those that are simply living in a stick and tin while their real home is being built. But we need to know what all types of customers expect and then meet or exceed those expectations.”
For Galbreath, the honor of being the first Top Tech Challenge winner is one he will always cherish.
“To me, the most awesome thing is that the Lord placed me in a place where I can be the first first,” he says. “That’s the part that I’m going to focus on the most. Time will tell what that means on the business aspect of it for D&N.”
On the part of D&N, the service center is participating in an event with the leadership of the state of Alabama, to bring awareness to the company, as well as to try to bring more awareness to the Playground of the South.