Brian Brady

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC President Brian Brady informed employees today (April 25) that he will be retiring from the Elkhart, Ind.-based RV manufacturer, effective May 1.

Brady, along with a group of industry veterans that included Tim Hoffman, Jack Culbertson and John Rhymer, launched Heartland in November 2003.

Brady told employees that during the past year all of the original investors had left Heartland and that “after considerable thought and reflection, I have elected to leave, too.”

Prior to taking the helm at Heartland, Brady made a name for himself in the industry as an executive with Coachmen Industries Inc., Holiday Rambler Corp. and as president and CEO of Damon Corp. – all based in Elkhart County, Ind.

With the launch of Heartland, Brady charged management with placing the towable builder on a rapid growth cycle, as the company entered the market with its Landmark luxury fifth-wheel.

Today, Heartland builds and markets brands across the towable spectrum – from stick-and-tin entry-level travel trailers to high-end, all-season fifth-wheels. At the end of last year, Heartland’s work force had grown to 1,200 while facilities at its Elkhart campus included seven production lines and four support and sub-assembly facilities encompassing 810,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Heartland’s growth has been marked by two key business moves. In February of 2007, Catterton Partners made a significant equity investment in Heartland. Then in September 2010, Thor Industries Inc. purchased a controlling interest in Heartland for $200 million.

In an interview last November, Brady said the Thor acquisition had proven to be “a true win-win” for both companies. “We have done exactly what we intended to do – and that was to best position Heartland for continued success,” he said. “In a competitive environment, Heartland continues to win. The mission for Heartland remains to provide our dealers the highest possible return on their investment, and that mission will continue to drive this company going forward.”