Matt Wald

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has received a strong response from park model builders it invited recently to join its ranks as part of a consolidation pact between RVIA and the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), which has been “mothballed” as part of a two-year trial period stipulated in an agreement between the two trade groups.

Sixteen long-standing RPTIA members representing more than 90% of annual park model shipments are now members of RVIA.

Matt Wald, an eight-year RVIA staffer tabbed recently as the association’s new park trailer executive director, told the board at its June meeting during RVIA Committee Week in Washington D.C. that the association has been making substantial headway in integrating shipment tracking, public relations, standards, government affairs, show-exhibiting formats and other functions for the co-mingled trade groups.

“The park trailer industry is excited to be back in the RVIA fold,” declared John Soard, chairman of the newly formed RVIA Recreational Park Trailer Committee and general manager for Fairmont Park Trailers, a division of Fairmont Homes in Nappanee, Ind., in a June RVIA press release.

Yet, that still leaves about 20 park trailer builders who have declined to join RVIA essentially unaffiliated with any active trade group — at least for the time being since RPTIA’s board voted earlier this year to shelve the association and encourage its members to join RVIA. In return, RVIA agreed to provide former RPTIA members with programs and some additional services as well.

Bill Garpow

Technically speaking, RPTIA, which formally closed its Newnan, Ga., office on June 29 and parted company with longtime exec William “Bill” Garpow, still exists on paper as a legal entity and its officers and directors have retained their titles while the association’s assets remain under the authority of the board and its website is still “live,” according to Curt Yoder, vice president and co-owner of Goshen, Ind.-based Kropf Industries Inc.

However, RPTIA retains the right to reactivate after the two-year trail period, should that become necessary, says Yoder, who was appointed to RVIA’s board at its June session along with current RPTIA President Dick Grymonprez, vice president of sales and marketing for Athens Park Homes LLC, Athens, Texas.

“We have the option to reopen RPTIA,” explained Yoder.

“At this juncture our hope is that things will go well with RVIA. There have been no red flags thrown that say that won’t happen. I think everyone who has joined is happy with it.

“Our hope is that once everyone sees the benefits of joining RVIA, everyone (else) will come on board. As time goes on, they’ll see the move was made for the better,” he said, noting that those who remain with RPTIA do so in name only because “they have no association to support them.”

Yoder said a third-party inspection process for those who join RVIA is now provided through RVIA, and that RPTIA members who opt not to join RVIA may have to find their own inspectors, as that service is no longer available through RPTIA. Nor is RPTIA still issuing seals.

Meanwhile, Wald reported that he was working in mid-July with three additional park trailer manufacturers considering RVIA affiliation. “Some have called this an experiment or trial marriage to see how well this works,” he said, recalling events some years ago when the RPTIA was first formed after builders split from the RVIA.