From the Editor: It’s Awards Season!

A picture of RV News Magazine Editor In Chief Chris Freeman.

A select group of RV manufacturers are breaking out the bubbly, preparing to walk down the red carpet and creating index cards with notes for their acceptance speech thanking “all the little people” who made winning the prestigious “RV of the Year Award” possible.

OK, speech’s notes are probably now put on phones, rather than index cards. Only true old-schoolers like me would place speech notes on index cards in this day and age.

Either way, click here and then click on the front cover to discover who won 2022 RV of the Year awards in the various RV categories, chosen by the RV News staff. You can also click on the magazine cover below.

Only 2022 new units and floorplans were eligible to win. As a dealer, if you stock these units, you can market to consumers how your vehicles won the award and use the information to increase sales and differentiate your vehicles from the competition. If you don’t stock them, you will be well informed as to what you are competing against in the “new” category.

This November 2021 RV News Magazineissue also has an amazing story on Jeff and Ben Hirsch at Campers Inn, what they are doing in the short term and what their long-term goals are.

There is a story on Truma and big announcements on what new OE product categories they are entering. These products are already grabbing RV manufacturers’ attention and grabbing market share.

Dometic also hits the spotlight in this issue with a new refrigerator offering.

But wait, there is more. Read the first full-feature story on the new RV manufacturer, Ember Recreational Vehicles, and the people behind the startup, where they are going and what their vision is.

I may have saved the best for last as there is big news regarding Southwire’s latest new venture and how it will impact the RV aftermarket. That is just the shortlist. Give the magazine a read; there is plenty to interest anyone who works in the RV industry.

The 2021 Super Bowl Show: The RVDA Convention
I’ve just returned from my very first in-person RVDA convention. Being there in person was exciting. I arrived in Las Vegas a little early so I could attend Brown & Brown’s F&I school, which was an amazing “kick-off” to the show that would follow. The convention was big – with 97 percent attendance of what was 2019 attendee numbers.

I think this is quite an accomplishment factoring in all 2021 previously brought the industry. The number of exhibitors on the show floor was also impressive, with tons of new exhibitors offering new business solutions. The educational seminars were exemplary and great reminders for fixed ops employees.

The RVDA show provided me the chance to meet numerous experts and sources I have only talked to on the phone, Zoomed, or emailed since I began working in the industry more than a year ago. It was like coming off the bench during NCAA’s March Madness Final Four. It was awesome to meet people face-to-face and be “on the court,” rather than virtually watching from the sidelines.

Sports Life
If you can’t tell, I love a good illustrative sports metaphor.

Sports are a major part of my life, ever since childhood, extending through my early career as a sportswriter and editor until today.

Anytime I find the opportunity to use a good sports metaphor to illustrate life lessons, I am on it like Von Miller eating NFL quarterbacks on third down and five.

RVDA Convention/Expo attendees had their chance to learn some great business lessons through sports metaphors in November, courtesy of RVDA’s keynote speaker, Nathan Jamail. Wells Fargo sponsored his presentation and words of wisdom. If you missed his speech, you missed something truly remarkable and inspiring. Anyone who works with, manages, hires or employs people would have found his message valuable.

At its heart, Jamail discussed business leaders transitioning from merely managing to actually coaching their staff. His sports metaphors were a grand slam in helping understand the difference and why one is better than the other.

He said coaches focus on culture, rather than tasks, when achieving goals and conveying expectations. He said building team success begins with everyone on the team having the proper attitude. Jamail asked attendees to raise their hands if they believed a good attitude was very important to success. Hands shot in the air throughout the ballroom.

“Good,” Jamail said. “Now go back to your business and fire everyone with a bad attitude tomorrow.”

I could see alarm initially on people’s faces at his suggestion, until he explained why bad attitudes are “a non-starter” for any good team.

He said many leaders keep employees with bad attitudes – life-suckers, he called them – because they think keeping a bad employee is better than having no employee at all. He stressed how this thinking is counter-productive. It’s a bad game plan for winning. Leaders’ attitudes and perspectives need to change to achieve success, he said and once leaders change, employees will, too.

Jamail stressed how leaders need to motivate employees to practice, rather than train.

Again, using sports metaphors, he referenced how top athletes in any sport get to be the best. Athletes improve, Jamail said, by repetition and practicing core skills over and over. Learning makes no impact without practice.
Business leaders hire staff and train them on new and unfamiliar tasks.

Then, leaders leave the newly trained hires to do their jobs without mandating practice. Jamail suggested managers should coach employees, by encouraging them to rigorously practice skills after the initial training. He said this is where being a great coach and manager begins.

There are various other lessons and metaphors Jamail used. We will be writing more about his presentation and many other lessons and insights from the RVDA Convention/Expo in our December issue.

For now, we appreciate you taking the time to read through our November issue with all the great information inside. Don’t forget to check out the recipient of our annual “Touchdown Jesus award.” The deserving recipient this year is our annual version of the industry “MVP award.”

Chris Freeman

RV News magazine spread
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