Joe Daquino, former senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), a southern California firm subsequently renamed Good Sam Enterprises LLC and Camping World Inc., passed away Dec. 26 after an extended battle with brain cancer. He was four days short of his 57th birthday.
Although he was a long-time employee of AGI, Daquino was not as well known throughout the RV industry as some of his colleagues, having worked more behind the scenes on AGI initiatives, particularly those focused on technological innovations.
During his tenure, which started in the early 1980s as a customer service representative, he became publisher of both the Trailer Life and Woodall’s directories, overseeing development early on for one of the first online searchable databases for campgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada.
He also published the Good Sam Atlas, developed the RV Trip Planner and helped create a GPS navigation system for RVers containing campground data.
Later, as president of AGI’s Clubs division, he was heavily involved in growing the Good Sam Club’s membership and increasing renewal rates utilizing a new website and social media that focused on improving the member experience.
“Joe Daquino opened the eyes of many of us to new technologies, and what they could do for the company and the RV community,” said Mike Schneider, former president and CEO of AGI. “He was smart, he was witty, and was one of those few individuals who could balance the interests of our members and customers with what was best for the company. Plus, he had that all-important trait of being both an outstanding business person and a quality human being. RVers today are utilizing much of the technology Joe brought to this industry.”
“Joe was also known throughout AGI for having the most pristine and clean desk in the company,” a former associate said of Daquino, who earned an MBA from Pepperdine University while holding down his day job. “Despite his workload and responsibilities, he insisted on working in a clutter-free environment.”
Upon leaving AGI in 2011, Daquino formed his own consulting firm, working with clients that included Rand McNally and Equity LifeStyle Properties, among others, until he was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in May of 2014.
Daquino reportedly worked long and hard to fight this deadly disease, researching and undergoing every possible treatment. At the same time, he utilized Facebook and other social media websites to blog and write about his struggle and how the disease had affected him personally.
“This experience has changed my outlook on life in many ways – by far for the better,” Daquino wrote on his last birthday. “I have a greater sense of what is important to me. Hell, up to today I’m not sure that I even knew what was important to me. I know it’s no longer money, vanity, climbing a corporate ladder, or prestige, whatever that even means. It’s about the love of my friends and family. It’s about squeezing every last drop of enjoyment and satisfaction from every good moment left in my life. It’s about riding the crest of every “˜good day.'”
After 19 years together, Joe married his longtime partner, Brian Burchfield in 2013, when same-sex marriage became legal in California, a friend tells RVBUSINESS.com. They both had fought hard for marriage equality and were proud of their marital status as well as their historically significant home in the Hollywood Hills.
Services will be held at 10 a.m., Jan. 15, at Glendale Forest Lawn in Glendale, Calif. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Daquino are urged to support his favorite charities: The Gentle Barn, www.gentlebarn.org, Shambala, www.shambala.org and Smile Train, www.smiletrain.org.