Saying he was “excited and honored” to be the interim president of the RV Industry Association (RVIA), Craig Kirby said his one overarching theme while in the position would be industry unity.

“There’s one thing I learned early on in my career from (former RVIA President) Dave Humphreys, and it never left me, and that is industry unity,” Kirby said. “Without our industry’s outstanding unity we could not have accomplished all the things we have over the years and overcome so many challenges. And let’s not forget that industry unity brought us our shining star, Go RVing. Go RVing continues to this day to be a unifying force in an industry full of competitors.”

Kirby, RVIA’s senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, made the remarks Monday (June 3) from the East Ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel as part of RV’s Move America Week — formerly known as Committee Week. Other speakers during the annual RVIA Membership Meeting included RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer, RVIA Chairman Garry Enyart of Cummins Inc., RV Technical Institute Director Curt Hemmeler, Go RVing Coalition Vice President of Communications Karen Redfern, and Airxcel President and CEO Jeff Rutherford, who as treasurer of the RVIA board of directors delivered a favorable 2018 year-end financial report. 

Saying he was “completely surprised,” Kirby was named RVIA’s interim president May 17 when it was announced that Hugelmeyer, the association’s president since 2015, was resigning to take his “dream job” as president of the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA). Hugelmeyer will remain with RVIA for an unspecified time to help faciitate the transition process.

During his brief presentation, Kirby also mentioned three other priorities: No. 1, ensure a smooth transition to maintain the industry’s positive momentum, No. 2, hit the road and visit with members to solicit their feedback, and No. 3, focus on the three-year strategic plan for signature programs.

“Being around from the formation of Go RVing all the way through the economic downturn, I’ve seen how leaders in the industry have strategically taken us through the good, and the challenging times,” he noted. “They represent many different personalities and approaches, and all have left their mark on the industry and on me. As a result, I am confident stepping into this position and your association, with its dedicated team, will not only successfully navigate this transition period, but working with all of you, we will take the industry to new heights.”

With a full day and a half of committee meetings behind them, members of the RV industry today were to “storm Capitol Hill” to meet with members of Congress and federal government agencies this afternoon and Wednesday, followed by an RVIA board meeting Thursday.