EXCLUSIVE: Longtime FRVTA Show Director to Retire in June

A picture of Lesa Colvin, FRVTA show director.
FRVTA Show Director Lesa Colvin

Each January, tens of thousands of consumers flock to a facility with more than a thousand RVs. Booths are set with ample space, signs direct consumers and electricity brings RVs to life at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.

Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) Show Director Lesa Colvin has coordinated each detail of the association’s Florida RV SuperShow for more than three decades. Nearly 2 million people have walked through the SuperShow’s front gates over her tenure.

Upon her 37th year with the association, Colvin will retire June 14.

When Colvin joined the association, FRVTA employed three people. Now, the association has nine employees. She carried a passion for camping into her role with FRVTA, earning bonus points with the boss for identifying an RV.

Colvin said, “I love camping…it was a large part of my family growing up.”

When the SuperShow began two years before Colvin’s arrival, the show featured 70 booths and almost 500,000 square feet of space. In January, the SuperShow occupied 2 million square feet.

The show changed constantly. Colvin said she remembered the event being hosted in different buildings on the fairgrounds.

Colvin said, “You just had to adapt and adjust as the facility renovated itself.”

As the facility changed, consumers needed help navigating the show.

The association used various applications to ease navigation. Now, consumers can seek booths on their phone’s GPS application.

“It was an interesting challenge to try and figure out how to help everyone view where they were going,” Colvin said, “and I have always enjoyed a challenge like that.”

Colvin always worked to meet consumer needs. She would give show attendees golf cart rides and ask for their feedback.

Over the years, Colvin strengthened her industry relationships.

FRVTA Executive Director Dave Kelly said, “I think a big part of why the show has been so successful is because of the relationships she has built with manufacturers over the years.”

According to Kelly, the show’s financial success enabled FRVTA to invest in programs such as its scholarships and RV Distance Learning Network.

Patty Flanagan, who was previously the regional show coordinator, shadowed Colvin for the past eight months. Flanagan will take on Colvin’s duties upon her retirement.

Flanagan said Colvin explained all show facets throughout her mentorship. In January, Flanagan coordinated the RV SuperShow.

She said Colvin has “given me the timelines and kind of let me run with the ball.”

According to Flanagan, future shows will include more digital billboards and signage.

In addition to event coordination, Colvin manages the association’s website. She is training her colleagues to take over her role.

Upon her retirement, Colvin is moving out of the Tampa Bay area, where she has lived for more than 40 years. She and her husband will build a home on 10 acres near Gainesville, Florida.

Kelly said, “She is going to be really missed.”

 

 

 

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