Karl Etshied, newly appointed executive director and CEO of the Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA), intends to “elevate the relevance” of the RVAA to its members, the RV manufacturers’ and dealers’ associations and to individual RV dealers and campground operators.
Etshied, 39, is wrapping up his duties as programs director for the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle & Camping Association (PRVCA). A resident of Harrisburg, Pa., Etshied will open a new RVAA office in Harrisburg on Nov. 11.
He will replace Jim Stanley, an executive with The Center for Association Growth (TCGA), who will retire next month.
The TCGA offices are in Glenview, Ill., a Chicago suburb, but Etshied believes Harrisburg will be a better location for the RVAA’s headquarters because it is less than a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., which means he will be “closer to our industry association brethren.
“I will establish the contacts and relationships with the major players in the national associations that we, as an association, must be on equal terms with,” he said.
The RVAA was known as the Warehouse Distributors Association until a little over a year ago and it represents the distributors of aftermarket parts and accessories (P&A) that supply the P&A departments of RV dealerships and campgrounds.
“An RV dealer must know that when an RVAA member comes calling, he is dealing with a company that is part of an association that promotes and enhances the industry,” Etshied told RVAA Executive Conference attendees who met in San Antonio earlier this month. “We have to create programs that help you (RVAA members) save money and help you make money. We have to create a level of prestige attached to belonging to this association that is tangible and that all of your end users in the industry can see.”
Etshied has been the PRVCA’s programs director for two years. Earlier in his career, he was the executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Automotive Association, which represents the state’s 1,500 new car and truck dealers. He also worked for six years as the marketing director for the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union and as marketing director for the AAA of Southern Pennsylvania.