EXCLUSIVE: Technical Institute to Train 500 RV Retailer Technicians

A Photo of Curt Hemmeler, RVTI executive director

A partnership between RV Technical Institute (RVTI) and RV Retailer (RVR) will provide more than 500 RVR technicians access to the institute’s training curriculum and certification.

RVTI Executive Director Curt Hemmeler said the “all-inclusive” partnership is the first of its kind, connecting the institute with dealers rather than its usual Authorized Learning Program focus on OEMs and suppliers.

Starting April 1, all RVR technicians gained access to RVTI’s standardized training at no cost – including the self-paced online program, which Hemmeler said typically is offered to the institute’s learning partners at an extra cost. The partnership is set to last the duration of 2021, he said, and will be re-evaluated for potential future partnerships.

“What I am most excited about is, [RVR] is a major group that is putting their money where it counts in training, certifying and recruiting, which is what RVTI is all about,” Hemmeler said.

Conversations surrounding the partnership started 3-4 months ago, Hemmeler said, when RVR reached out to him regarding an upcoming influx of new locations, acquisitions and organic growth. RVR wanted to focus on RV service tech training, resulting in a partnership agreement roughly six weeks ago, Hemmeler said.

“This investment by RVR in tech training will support the continued growth of our service and parts business,” RVR President and CEO Jon Ferrando said. “We are committed to ensuring that we have the best certified technicians who have the resources available to advance their skills and provide the highest quality RV service for our customers at our 55 stores.”

Although training more than 500 technicians will cost a pretty penny, Hemmeler said the partnership is a “good deal” for both sides.

“[RVR] has committed to such an aggressive training goal, and it is not necessarily a money-maker for us if they succeed,” he said. “[Looking at] training a la carte, we would lose money. But on the flip side, if they achieve what they are after, the industry wins and gains 500 more certified techs.

“The deal allows us to access information and see how [RVTI] curriculum performs and if they training is effective,” Hemmeler said. “[RVR] agreed to give us full access to that information so we can continue to promote what we do at RVTI.

RVR gave the institute with a “lump sum” of money to operate with initially, he added. At the year’s end, RVTI will re-evaluate whether the partnership accomplished its goal and what may need to be adjusted for potential future opportunities.

“The partnership with RVTI expands our commitment to train our 400-plus service technicians,” RVR VP of Service and Parts Operations Chris Glenn said. Hemmeler noted that goal now encompasses more than 500 techs. “This program coupled with our tech apprenticeship program, on-site tech training, and virtual leaning modules helps our service technicians gain the knowledge and experience needed to grow their careers.”

RVR techs will have access to all RVTI delivery methods at four certification levels, from a Level 1 certified Pre-delivery Inspection Technician to a Level 4 certified Master Technician.

Hemmeler said RVTI is “open and listening” to groups and proposals interested in focused training partnerships such as RVR’s.

“The more people that (increase service techs),” Hemmeler said, “the more the industry will rise.”

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