RV industry veteran Richard A. Coon, who was in line to assume the chairmanship in 2007 of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board of directors, was chosen Tuesday (March 1) to succeed outgoing President David J. Humphreys, who will retire next January as the association’s highest ranking staff employee.
Coon, director of RV business for Cummins Power Generation, Fridley, Minn. – manufacturer of Onan generators – was named president-elect by the unanimous vote of the RVIA board meeting at the Copperwynd Resort, Fountain Hills, Ariz.
“It is an impossible task to follow Dave Humphreys,” Coon told RV Business. “But the challenges of the future are going to be different than the challenges of the past.”
Attracting younger people and more ethnic minorities to the RV lifestyle will be among the key issues facing the industry on his watch, Coon told RV Business. “The other thing that I imagine we will be dealing with is the world-wide economy – where things are going to be made and produced,” he said.
The recommendation to hire Coon was made by a search committee headed by RVIA Chairman Bruce Hertzke, chairman, president and CEO of Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa.
“We are delighted to have identified a new president who possesses a wealth of industry experience and the drive to build upon the many achievements and strong foundation laid by Dave Humphreys and his management staff over the past three decades,” Hertzke said.
Coon, RVIA’s first vice chairman – a volunteer position – was chosen from among four finalists whose names aren’t being released.
Coon will stay with Cummins until he joins the RVIA staff June 1 in preparation to replace Humphreys who has served as the association’s only president since it was formed in 1979, and who will stay on until his retirement Jan. 30 – his 70th birthday.
“Dave and I come from different backgrounds,” Coon said.  “He’s an attorney, and I’m a supplier. We differ in that I’ve dealt with manufacturers for the last 30 years and I know how they operate.”
An RVIA spokesman said it hasn’t been determined what would happen to the association’s chairmanship when Hertzke’s term expires. Although elected to a one-year term, the RVIA chairman traditionally is re-elected to a second term, which would have put Coon in the chairman chair in 2007.
An RVIA member for 30 years, Coon managed $220 million in annual sales at Cummins Power, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc., and was responsible for worldwide sales and marketing, product development, design and application engineering, strategic planning and customer relations.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, Coon began his career in 1970 with Ford Motor Co., becoming regional sales manager for the industrial engine and turbine division. He joined Onan Corp. in 1974 and moved his way up to positions that included consumer product sales manager, director of product management and distributor development manager. He has been director of RV business for Cummins Power since 1989.
A member of the RVIA board since 2000, Coon, chairman of RVIA’s Strategic Planning Committee, was selected nearly a year before he assumes the association’s presidency so that he can participate in RVIA Committee Week in June, the budgeting process for 2006 and the 2005 RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.