unnamed7The 2014 RV Dealers International Convention & Expo officially kicked off Monday (Nov. 10) with several opening day activities including the launch of the Society of Certified RV Professionals.

The Con/Expo, convening for the first time at Bally’s situated on the Las Vegas Strip, attracted approximately 1,200 attendees, according to the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). The event is annually sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the Mike Molino RV Learning Center.

The Society of Certified RV Professionals is a product of the RV Learning Center, designed to increase the number of RV industry certified professionals and retain those who already hold certification credentials. 

RVDA reported that Monday evening’s reception, sponsored by Protective Asset Protection, was well-attended as Michael Rees of A World of Training presented “Making an Impact: Customer Satisfaction in Fixed Operations,” which underscored one of the main objectives of the society: to promote certification for the positive impact it has on consumer satisfaction.

Rick Horsey of Parkview RV Center, who chaired the Recertification Task Force and is serving as the first chairman of the new society, offered an account of the thought process behind the initiative.

About a year ago a group of dedicated dealers and supporters of certification were asked by the Learning Center’s board to see how the industry could improve customer service by increasing the number of certified RV professionals. After much research and countless conversations – the concept of a society – was born,” Horsey told participants. “This new society will be the community of certified professionals. All RVDA/RVIA certified technicians and all RV Learning Center credentialed fixed operations certified personnel, including those that aspire to become certified, are members at no charge. Included in the community of supporters is the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). It’s through our mutual efforts and partnerships that the society will be able to achieve its goals.” 

The society is aimed at individuals who hold or aspire to association certification credentials including:

• RVDA-RVIA Technician Certification which includes certified, master and specialists.

• RV Learning Center certification which includes service writer/adviser, service manager, parts manager, parts specialist and warranty administrator.

Horsey elaborated on the need for the program, noting, “I hear many reasons, but one of the most common is the challenge of finding 40 hours of training for recertification. For those that don’t know, with 40 hours of training over five years and between $75 to $100 dollars, a certification is good for another five years.”

Horsey said the society will do its part to help parties find training. “They’ll receive regular e-mails with information about online and hands-on classroom training,” he said. “Most will have already been approved for CEUs. Those that don’t qualify may still be helpful for professional development. You’ll find a flyer with a number of opportunities on the table in back. A society website is also being developed and will be a convenient source for this information.”

In addition to the Society of Certified RV Professionals reception, other opening day activities included Vendor Training +Plus sessions and a Partners in Progress meeting led by Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary KZRV LP. RVDA, RVDA of Canada and RVDA of Alberta also held board meetings.

Today’s agenda includes additional Vendor Training +Plus and Partners in Progress meetings along with a series of educational seminars. The day will be highlighted by the General Session slated for 2:30-4 p.m and the opening of the Expo Hall. The convention will run through Friday.