A local official recently launched Direct RV Transport, a company that will transport recreational vehicles to western dealers from Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s new towable plant in Burley, Idaho.
The South Idaho Press reported that owner Bob Shepard, executive director of the Mini-Cassia Economic Development Commission (EDC), is hoping to contract with up to 50 independent drivers to deliver the RVs, most of which will be bound for Seattle.
Dutchmen began production at the new facility – a converted potato processing plant – in November, turning out one travel trailer per day. The Goshen, Ind.-based company said it hopes to produce 10-14 trailers per day in the next year at the plant, which is building Dutchmen Lite and Four Winds Lite towable RVs.
Shepard claims the operation doesn’t represent a conflict of interest and wouldn’t affect his performance as executive director of the Mini-Cassia Economic Development Commission (EDC), which is funded through a variety of public and private funds.
“That’s the one thing I learned a long time ago is that you have to have full disclosure,” he said. “I certainly gave it a lot of thought in terms of conflict of interest, but I really didn’t see it.”
EDC Chairman Dan Lloyd said that Shepard would be expected to operate Direct RV during his personal time, and that his responsibilities with the EDC will not change as a result of the new company.
Shepard said the idea for the company first occurred to him as he researched ways to help Dutchmen save money on costs of transporting RVs from the plant to its dealers. He said eventually, he hopes to transport 10 units per day.
Shepard contends the transport company offers a solution to one of Dutchmen’s logistical problems.
“It just demonstrates to Dutchmen the commitment of this community,” he said. “Every time there’s been a problem we’ve stepped up to the plate for them.”