Exclusive: James B. Summers Award Looks to Honor Longtime RV Industry Service

A picture of the logo for The National RV Dealers Association (RVDA)

The RV Dealers Association is now accepting nominations for the organization’s highest honor, the James B. Summers award.

More than 30 years ago, the RVDA Board of Directors established the James B. Summers (JBS) award in honor of past RVDA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Summers, who was the first to receive it in 1986. According to the RVDA, this is the association’s most prestigious award, as it honors an individual who has made frequent and distinguished contributions to RVDA and its members.

RVDA President Phil Ingrassia said the annual award highlights a person in the RV industry who’s gone above and beyond to move the industry forward.

“The purpose is really to show long-term service to the association,” Ingrassia said. “It’s amazing to me the amount of time that some of the volunteer leaders have put in on association and industry issues.”

Ingrassia said that though widespread change can often take years and years to affect, past recipients of the JBS award have shown the necessary dedication to make a difference.

“Those past awardees, many of them are still involved deeply in the industry and continue to work on the industry’s behalf,” Ingrassia said. “It just shows that people on both sides, dealers and manufacturers, are committed to working on the industry.”

Nominations are due by July 28 to Ronnie Hepp at RVDA, available at [email protected] or 703-591-0734. The award will be presented during the RV Dealers Convention/Expo on November 9-13, 2020 in Las Vegas.

Read below for more details on the nominations process, provided by RVDA:

As RVDA membership evolves each year, the significance of the award means something different to each generation the association represents. Most of the past recipients of the award knew Jim Summers, but some only knew of him. Jim was the second person hired to administer to the needs of RV dealers.  He knew his mission was to help dealers, and that he did.  After he retired to South Carolina, he attended the convention almost every year to present the award to the next recipient.  He worked hard at delivering an introduction that would tease the audience through stories that could fit several individuals, eventually closing in on personal information that would identify the winner.  Jim passed away on the eve of the 2010 convention.  RVDA will forever miss his quick wit and charming personality.

If you have a nominee in mind, that person should have provided at least five years of service with and for RVDA and given outstanding contributions to RVDA and its members.  One of the few restrictions to winning this award states that the nominee may not be a current elected member of the RVDA Board of Directors.

To nominate an individual, please don’t just submit a name. Instead, provide a narrative describing the things you know about your nominee’s contributions to the association.  Make a strong appeal telling us why you want your nominee to be selected.  Staff presents all nominations to the RVDA Board of Directors for their consideration and vote.

We will present the award during the RV Dealers Convention/Expo, November 9-13, 2020 at Caesars Palace.  Be there to see if we announce your candidate’s name! Nominations are due by July 28, 2020.

It is the time of year when the RVDA Board looks to the dealer and associate members to submit nominations for worthy recipients of the 2020 JBS Award. The award is a gold ring that has changed design over the years, but its value is ever increasing – not just because of the price of gold, but because of the finger it fits.  The value of the nominees and their work with the association is what makes this award so priceless.

Please review this list of the past JBS recipients. Many past honorees are still active participants in current RVDA boards, committees, and task forces.

2019 Andy Heck

2018 Bill Koster

2017 Mike Molino

2016 Jeff Hirsch

2015 Earl Stoltzfus

2014 Debbie Brunoforte

2013 Jim Shields

2012 Butch Thomas

2011 Bert Alanko

2010 Jeff Pastore

2009 Marty Shea

2008 Randy Biles

2007 Ernie Friesen

2006 Joe Range

2005 Rick Horsey

2004 Jim Fogdall

2003 Tom Stinnett

2002 Fran Van Pelt

2001 Dan Pearson

2000 Crosby Forrest

1999 Randy Thompson

1998 Bill Thomas

1997 Bob Strawn

1996 Bob Azevedo

1995 Jerry Greer

1994 Bill Gorman

1993 Larry McClain

1992 Dave Altman

1991 Dave Ayers

1990 Duane Spader

1989 Jack Moran

1988 Rex Floyd

1987 Gaylord Maxwell

1986 Jim Summers

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