Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) members came together at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, last week. The Hawaiian-themed convention featured Leis, loads of flowery shirts and dresses and a Hawaiian dance troupe.
Next year’s conference takes place Sept. 5-8, 2024, at the Renaissance Sewa World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The convention kicked off with the “Aloha” Reception. Stephanie Hughes from Ft. Lauderdale RV won a spa package giveaway.
The event featured a “Bingo” game where attendees had to mix and mingle to win the game.
FRVTA Executive Director Dave Kelly said: “The staff does a great job of coming up with ideas like the bingo mixer game to help people break the ice and meet one another. The friendships that have been made over the years at the convention are in part to the activities we create.”
The convention opened the next day. FRVTA President Ken Loyd thanked attendees and recognized all the sponsors.
Next came the “Trial of the Century.” Harold Oehler of Oehler Mediation presented the trial of Lee King vs. Mellan Camp RV and its manufacturer, Colossal, claiming alleged defects in a motorhome. The audience served as the jury as the trial unfolded. The mock trial pointed out industry best practices to help dealers prevent complaints from turning into lawsuits.
“I want to thank all the people that made this possible,” Oehler said. “The FRVTA staff and members that participated made this a fun and informative session.”
Next, national RV industry updates from RVDA’s Phil Ingrassia, RVIA’s Mike Ochs and RVTI’s Curt Hemmeler were presented.
Ingrassia stressed the importance of the states working with the national associations and how he valued the relationship RVDA has with the FRVTA.
Ochs updated attendees on the national legislative scene and how RVIA is working to correct the Generalized System of Preference, which allows the importing of lauan wood, used in most RVs, duty-free. RVIA also is trying to get the tariff exclusion process reinstated so floorplan interest on towable RVs could be included at 100%.
Hemmeler discussed launching Level 3 training for technicians and said the school is offering training in several ways to make it easier for techs to get certified.
“We are fortunate that the three organizations send their reps to our convention,” Kelly said. “It shows how important the state of Florida is to the RV industry and we appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedules to come address our members.”
The evening’s “Shake Your Coconuts” costume/dinner party featured flowery shirts and dresses, and the DJ kept the youngsters on the dance floor all night.
The final day included breakout sessions with topics such as Repair Event Cycle Time (Garry Enyart), Social Media (Traeanne Reynolds), Florida Taxes (French Brown), Cyber Security for Business (Adrian Pascual), Consumer Demand Letters (Ejola Cook), Succession Planning (Brad Stanek) and Recapping the Trial of the Century (Harold Oehler).
FRVTA elected its 2023-24 state officers. Loyd will return for one more year as president along with Vice President Nelda Iacono, Secretary Brett Howard, Treasurer Sean Thompson and Board Chairman Brian Copley.
The Silent Auction ended on the final night, with all proceeds donated to the FRVTA PAC fund. The dinner featured a Hawaiian dance troupe performing a dinner show, then an after-dinner show and dance lessons.
FRTVA Show Director Lesa Colvin was saluted in a video presentation thanking her for 36 years of dedicated service to FRVTA. She will be retiring next year and the 2023 state convention was her final one.