Thirteen of the 15 new brand committees formed by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) will meet for the first time during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo Sept. 23-26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The dealer-driven committees are intended to increase communication between dealers and the manufacturers they represent with the idea of resolving broad issues that affect dealers and manufacturers, finding cost-effective solutions to problems and raising customer satisfaction, according to RVDA.
“Brand committees are a natural extension of our previous Partners in Progress meetings that have been going on for 10 years,” said Phil Ingrassia, RVDA vice president for communication. “While they were effective, our board thought there should be some ongoing dialogue.”
He said the goal is to have the committees communicate with top-level management at least quarterly.
Each committee has a chairman and vice chairman. Committee makeup will vary, depending on the size of the manufacturer. “We are going to give the chairman and vice chairman a degree of latitude,” Ingrassia said. “The committees won’t be ‘cookie cutter.’ They will function within the culture of how those dealers communicate with their manufacturers.”
Brand committee meetings will be sprinkled through the first three days of the con/expo, which is expected to draw about 1,500 dealership personnel, vendors and other industry representatives – down from 1,833 in 2007, according to Ingrassia.
As the convention opens Tuesday, keynote speaker Lowell Catlett, regent’s professor at New Mexico State University, will explain how dealership owners and their top managers can use five trends shaping the business environment to their advantage.
During a general session Sept. 25, one of three during the convention, Richard “Dicky” Riegel III, Thor Industries Inc. COO, will speak on product design, marketing and consumer demand. “It’s the first time we’ve had a top RV executive address our convention in a number of years,” Ingrassia said.
With a focus on education and the RV Learning Center, seminars during the convention include:
• “Managing Cash Flow for Year Round Success” by Duane Bunn.
• “Performance Pay Plans for Today’s Employees” by Lee Harkins.
• “Managing the Four Generations Today” by Betty Mills.
• “Surviving A Tough Economy” by John Spader.
• “Strategic Planning” by Spader and Noel Lais.
• “Benefits of Non-Monetary Compensation” by Mills and Jeff Lyon.
• “Women Leaders in RV Dealerships” by Fran Van Pelt, Debbie Brunoforte and Ellen Kietzmann.
• “Maximizing Every Opportunity on the Lot” by Joe Verde
• “Where is the RV Market Heading?” by Tom Walworth, Riegel, Derrick Crandall and Mark Beecher.
• “The Four Imperatives of Great Leaders” by Harvey Young.
In addition, on Wednesday evening RVBusiness will host its first-ever “Top 50 Dealer Awards” reception and dinner at the Rio – an independent event to which all Con/Expo attendees are invited. Aside from the awards themselves, honoring retail professionalism, the dinner agenda includes keynote speaker Bob Knight, legendary NCAA basketball coach.