Highlighted by Bob Parish and Bruce Hopkins being recognized for their career contributions to the RV industry, the RV Industry Awards Show served as a fitting conclusion to RVX: The RV Experience, the RV Industry Association’s (RVIA) reimagined trade-only event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. (To view a video from the final day of RVX scroll down the RVBUSINESS.com home page to the Industry Videos section. Photos by Shawn Spence).
In addition, the awards ceremony included the announcement of Truma VarioHeat and the Xantrex/Mission Critical Electronics FREEDOM eGEN Lithium Ion System in the Aftermarket and OEM categories, respectively, as the overall winners in the RVBusiness RISE Awards program.
Held at The Depot, a nightclub in downtown Salt Lake, the RV Industry Awards Show also included the Quality Circle Awards from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), recognition of the 40 Under 40 honorees, and a special presentation by professional skiers Brody Leven and Adam Clark, whose series of social media videos with Go RVing garnered some 26 million page views last year.
Parish, vice president of Wells Fargo Capital and RVIA past-chairman, was honored with the David J. Humphreys Industry Unity Award, while Hopkins, RVIA’s vice president of standards and education, received the Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award, RVIA’s highest honor.
“Throughout the years, the two things that have really impressed me is just the purity of the entrepreneurial spirit within our industry,” Parish said. “The other thing is the ability to work collectively together.”
For his part, Hopkins said, “It’s been a great ride. I’ve got a great team. I worked with a lot of really, really great people and it’s an absolutely terrific industry.”
The awards ceremony began with 12 RV manufacturers stepping to the stage to receive RVDA’s Quality Circle Award.
The towable RV manufacturers/brands receiving awards were (in alphabetical order by manufacturer): Airstream Inc.; Coachmen RV (Brookstone/Chaparral fifth wheels); Forest River Inc. (Flagstaff travel trailers and fifth wheels/Shamrock expandables, Sierra/Sandpiper); Grand Design RV Co. (Imagine, Momentum, Reflection, Solitude, Transcend); Gulf Stream Coach Inc. (Vintage Cruiser/Vista Cruiser, Innsbruck/Amerilite/Conquest/Kingsport); Heartland RV LLC (Big Country/Elk Ridge, Cyclone/Torque, Landmark, North Trail/Wilderness, Prowler/Trail Runner, Road Warrior, Sundance/Gateway); Keystone RV Co. (Montana/High Country), and Lance Camper travel trailers and toy haulers.
The motorized RV manufacturers/product categories receiving awards were (in alphabetical order): Airstream; Gulf Stream; Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E; Newmar Corp.; Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd., and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.
During the RISE Awards, it was noted by several judges that the FREEDOM eGEN Lithium Ion System by Xantrex, a division of Mission Critical Electronics, “pushes the envelope on RV power.”
Meanwhile, the Truma VarioHeat was nearly a unanimous pick for the top spot, with judges saying the heater “will revolutionize the process of heating recreation vehicles with amazing efficiency.”
Other finalists in the OEM category were: Carefree of Colorado Altitude Patio Awning; Flexsteel Recreation Lift-and-Lock Sofa Bunk; Furrion Vision S; and MITO Corp. WiFi Ranger – Sky4 Pack LTE.
Other finalists in the Aftermarket category were: Acuva Technologies Eco 1.5 UV-LED Water Purifier; CURT Group Echo Mobile Brake Control; Lippert Components Inc. Quick Drop Tongue Jack; and Micro-Air Inc. EasyStart 364.
Now in its second year, RVIA’s 40 Under 40 awards is designed to identify future leaders in the RV industry. The stated goal is to engage the next generation of innovators and to build on the initiative each year.
After Levens and Clark introduced a new highlight video for Go RVing based on their popular “Unexpected” video series a year ago, the night gave way to live entertainment.