The RV Industry Association (RVIA) announced that it has accepted the resignation of Frank Hugelmeyer as president of the Reston, Va.-based trade association while a simultaneous release confirmed that the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) board of directors had selected Hugelmeyer as its next president and CEO.

The RVIA board’s executive committee, in turn, has designated Craig Kirby, senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, interim-president of RVIA.

Kirby, a 25-year veteran of RVIA who oversees government relations, standards and the organization’s legal team, will have full authority for day-to-day decision-making and will report directly to RVIA board chairman Garry Enyart, director of RV business for Cummins Inc., according to an RVIA release. During the interim period, the association reported, RVIA’s executive committee will be alerted to any special support needs of the interim president and will convene a monthly meeting of the group.

“At this time there is no timetable as to the formation of a search committee for a permanent replacement, and RVIA’s executive committee and full board will be meeting the first week of June during Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C.,” the release stated. 

“We truly appreciate all of the work Frank has led to improve the position of RVIA and strengthen the relationships with not only the membership, but also with our industry partners,” added Enyart. “Under his leadership RVIA has modernized the association’s technological capabilities, strengthened its federal and state advocacy, welcomed the RV Aftermarket Association’s members, launched the RV Technical Institute (RVTI), and expanded the reach and impact of the industry’s Go RVing program. Further, Frank leaves the organization in a position of strength both operationally and financially. He will be missed at RVIA, but we are eager to continue working closely with him moving forward as we continue to partner on growing the position and influence of the outdoor recreation economy.”

During his nearly four-year tenure, Hugelmeyer also spearheaded the national trade association’s involvement in a wider outdoor recreation alliance – ultimately the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable — in which he and now-retiring NMMA President Tom Dammrich worked closely with other elements of the outdoor sphere from sports fishing to archery and national park concessionaires. They also lobbied assertively for the upgrading of national park facilities, especially campgrounds.

The revamp of the industry’s national trade show agenda, including the early 2018 termination of RVIA’s traditional Louisville Show and the introduction of this year’s “RVX: The RV Experience” in March in Salt Lake City also occurred on Hugelmeyer’s watch. Dammrich, who has led the NMMA for 20 years, announced his retirement in 2018. 

“In nearly four years of working together, we have made great strides as an organization, and it has been my great privilege to serve the RVIA members and collaborate with an exceptionally talented board and staff,” said Hugelmeyer, a former Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) exec who went to work for RVIA in October of 2015 following the retirement of Richard Coon. “As many of you know, one of my life’s passions is boating and fishing, and this leadership role with NMMA truly represented a dream opportunity. I will miss the RVIA family, but look forward to serving the numerous crossover members that operate in both the RV and boating worlds, and continuing our work with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), as well as building on the close bonds that have formed during my time at RVIA.”

NMMA, in its Friday morning release, praised Hugelmeyer’s qualifications for leadership of the $170.3 billion recreational boating arena.

“We conducted a thorough search over the last year to find the right person for this important leadership role for the marine industry and Frank’s tenure in outdoor recreation-related industry associations was unparalleled,” said Bill Watters, former NMMA chairman and president of Syntec Industries, who led the search committee for the next president. “He is a tremendous addition to the NMMA team and the recreational boating industry, and we welcome him aboard.” 

“Frank brings extensive experience and expertise in outdoor recreation and association management to NMMA, making him the ideal growth-minded leader for the recreational boating industry,” said Ben Speciale, NMMA chairman and president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit. “We look forward to his leadership and strategic vision as he guides our industry through ever-changing economic and political landscapes.” 

While a full transition timeline is being formulated, Hugelmeyer will remain with RVIA for a yet-to-be determined period during the transition. RVIA  represents 400 manufacturers and component and aftermarket suppliers in the $50 billion U.S. RV industry.