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Melvin R. Auch, Bill Estes, the late C. Clifton Nelson, Kelly L. Rose and James B. Summers were the past and present RV industry executives inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame during a ceremony Tuesday night (Aug. 6) in Elkhart, Ind.
The annual induction ceremony banquet is a fund-raiser for the building of a Hall of Fame Museum and Library on 40 acres northeast of Elkhart along I-80/90.
So far, $5.5 million has been raised towards the goal of $6 million for construction of the building, said Carl Ehry, president of the foundation.
The foundation also hopes to raise an additional $2 million endowment to help fund the operating costs of the facility.
A total of 12 people were inducted into the hall of fame Tuesday night, including seven from the manufactured housing industry.
Here are brief biographies of the five RV industry executives who were inducted Tuesday:
• Auch was the founder of Chief Industries Inc., a York, Neb.-based manufactured home producer that also builds the King of the Road brand of fifth-wheels.
• Estes is vice president/publisher of TL Enterprises Inc., Ventura, Calif.-based publisher of RV-related magazines and books. A former reporter with the Los Angeles Times, he has written and edited RV-related publications for 33 years. TL Enterprises is a unit of Affinity Group Inc. which also publishes RV Business magazine and RVBUSINESS.COM.
• Nelsen was the founder of Omaha, Neb.-based A.C. Nelsen Camper World, a retailer and wholesaler of RV-related products.
• Rose is chairman and CEO of Goshen, Ind.-based Starcraft Corp., an auto industry supplier firm. Prior to selling his van conversion business a year ago, he was an active booster of the Go RVing national advertising campaign. Prior to founding Starcraft Corp., Rose was a co-founder of the RV-related distributor now known as Audiovox Specialized Applications (ASA).
• Summers is a former president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and he helped build the association into a recognizable lobbying power.