Debbie Brunoforte receives James B. Summers Award

Debbie Brunoforte receives James B. Summers Award (Photo by Shawn Spence)

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) board honored Debbie Brunoforte of Little Dealer, Little Prices of Mesa, Ariz., with the organization’s highest honor, the James B. Summers Award (JBS) on Wednesday (Nov. 13) at the organization’s Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

According to a press release, Brunoforte was recognized for her long-term service to RVDA, including a term as chairman, active service with the Go RVing coalition, and her instrumental role in forming the Arizona RV Dealers Association.

Bestowing the award, RVDA President Phil Ingrassia called Brunoforte “One of the hardest working and most tenacious people I’ve ever worked with.”

He also noted that she is “extremely active in her state association and a popular spokesperson for our industry . . . both locally and nationally.”

Brunoforte received the award surrounded by past JBS recipients gathered on the stage.

A second generation RV dealer, Brunoforte was named one of RVBusiness Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the RV industry and is a recipient of the RVDA Chairman’s Service Award. She was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2014.

The JBS honoree is chosen by the RVDA board each year by secret written ballot from nominations made by association members. The award, created in 1986, is named for RVDA’s first CEO in recognition of service to RVDA.

Hirsch Hands Out Chairman’s Service Awards

Outgoing RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch honored two dealers and two industry leaders with Chairman’s Service Awards during RVDA’s Annual Meeting at the 2014 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas. The annual award allows the chairman to personally recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to RVDA and the industry.

Dealers receiving awards were Brian Wilkins of Wilkins RV in Bath, N.Y., and Andy Heck of Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, N.Y. Industry recipients were Mel Adams of Airxcel and Bruce Hopkins of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

In honoring Adams, Hirsch said, “Mel has had a major impact in all areas of industry technical education, certification, and training… Mel has shown incredible tenacity in trying to move this industry forward and help us all do a better job of servicing what we sell.”

Hirsch acknowledged incoming First Vice Chairman Wilkins’ many leadership roles within RVDA and the industry. “Brian is always there for RVDA,” he said, “and the best part is he will continue to be there for his fellow dealers as he continues his volunteer service on the board in the coming years.”

Past Chairman Heck was recognized for his ongoing leadership through a long tenure as immediate past chairman and for his role in helping to guide the organization through difficult times for dealers. “Andy is a big supporter of the RV Learning Center, runs a great business, and still finds time to compete in Ironman competitions,” Hirsch said. “Andy, thanks for being RVDA’s Ironman over the years.”

Hopkins, RVIA’s vice president for standards, was singled out for his long time role in developing technician educational and training resources. “Bruce has worked with many dealers over the years to improve programs for technicians,” said Hirsch. Hopkins was not in attendance and will receive his award in Louisville next month.