Just wanted to take a moment to offer my sincere thanks to the RVDA board of directors for having bestowed an RVDA Titan Award last week at the RVDA Dealers Convention/Expo upon myself and this year’s other Titan honoree, PleasureLand RV Center’s Dan Pearson, a good friend, worthy recipient and former RVDA chairman who passed away in early October.
Last Wednesday’s award presentation during the U.S. RVDA Dealer Breakfast & Annual Meeting amounts to an astonishing gesture for both Dan and I considering that the award had only been presented eight times since its inception in 1995 to the likes of Pete Liegl, Duane Spader, Bob Tiffin, Bertha and Lloyd Bontrager, Dave Humphreys, Tom Corson, John Crean and John K. Hanson – all legendary figures within the North American RV universe.
Having said that, I’d also like to personally extend that “thank you” to other industry people with whom I’ve worked in both good and less-than-spectacular times over the years from the heyday of RVIA’s Louisville Show to the evolution of today’s two most effectual national-scale trade shows: September’s Elkhart RV Open House and November’s RVDA Convention/Expo.
If we had the time – and we don’t – I’d mention many of the friends I’ve made along the way during my journalism career, which dates back to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette as well as an array of RV-related magazines that flourished in the 1980’s when iconic brands like Holiday Rambler, Coachmen, Skyline, Jayco, Winnebago and Fleetwood dominated the marketplace.
Then came a stint at RVBusiness magazine back when it was one of several titles published by Trailer Life magazines before Elkhart-based publisher’s rep Beverly Gardner and I in 2011 established G&G Media Group LLC – a small but tenacious trade publisher with the acquisition of RVB and Woodall’s Campground Management magazines from Southern California’s Affinity Group Inc.
Beverly’s successor, Gregg Fore, and I sold our respective shares in G&G in February to former RVB executive editor and current Publisher Rick Kessler and his partner, Scott Stropkai, formerly of Statistical Surveys Inc., now chief operating officer for Elkhart-based G&G.
Since then, I’ve migrated from publisher to senior editor while continuing to work with G&G on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, three well known former G&G staffers have stepped away since February including CFO Karen Goldenberg and ad execs Ally Kollat and Wendy Thorne. Yet, G&G is clearly positioning to retain its role as the dominant U.S. RV trade voice on the shoulders of existing staffers like RVB Editor Gary Gerard, WCM Editor Ben Quiggle and Art Director Trina Nissley while Chief Sales Officer Chris Cieto and National Advertising Reps Jennifer Rose and Regan Dickinson have joined the team.
So, that’s the long and short of it. Again, thank you everyone. I look forward to seeing you all down the road here in the year ahead.