Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels addresses industry leaders at the RV/MH Hall of Fame with Doug Whyte, president-Americas, Dometic Corp., and Jason Lippert, chairman and CEO of Lippert Components, looking on.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels helped kick off a weekend dealer show at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on a high note Friday (April 27), proclaiming the industry was helping lead Indiana in its economic recovery.

As reported by the Goshen News, Daniels met with executives of the recreational vehicle industry privately Friday morning before meeting with the media and touring the Hall of Fame. Several key companies were represented, including Dometic Corp., Fleetwood RV Inc., Forest River Inc., Jayco Inc., Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC, Lippert Components Inc. and Thor Industries Inc.

He credited the RV industry for having a desire to rise from the economic downturn “sooner and stronger than others.”

Indiana’s RV industry has increased market share to the point where five out of every six recreational vehicles are manufactured in the state. In recent months, local RV manufacturers have committed to hiring upward of 800 people over two years.

The improved standing, Daniels said, was due to some of the best companies in the industry being able to work in one of the best business environments in the nation.

“It’s been a big part of Indiana’s recovery, but that’s reasonably consistent with manufacturing in general,” Daniels said. “I just wish that every other part of the state and so many places elsewhere had a comeback story half as strong as the one that is going on here.”

In a separate report by the South Bend Tribune, Daniels noted, “There’s a reason this area has had a strong economy over the course of time — good companies good leadership, a great work force. And honestly, as hard hit as Elkhart has been, I am confident it will snap back more so than other parts of Indiana, which I think are going to prove harder to bring enough new jobs to.”

Derald Bontrager, president and COO of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc., characterized Daniels’ visit as a “conversation with RV officials” and an affirmation for continued growth in the industry.

“We don’t see anything on the horizon that would lead us to believe that we won’t sustain it,” he said. “The industry aas a whole is fairly optimistic for the rest of the year and going into 2013.”

To read the entire story in the Goshen News click here. To read the full account in the South Bend Tribune click here.