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The soft market for recreational vehicles makes the 2008 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, which runs Sept. 23-26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, even more crucial, says the sponsoring Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA).
“We feel like it’s worth dealers’ while to attend because most of the issues dealers are struggling with, we will address at the convention,” said Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for RVDA.
As of mid-August, advanced registrations totaled about 200 dealerships (475 dealer personnel) from the U.S. and Canada. The figures are about 20% behind 2007 levels, but on track with 2002 convention numbers, he said.
According to Ingrassia, participants will benefit by the “hard look at market factors” that will be addressed by speakers, starting with keynote speaker Lowell Catlett, New Mexico State University professor. During his speech, Catlett will outline for dealers how to capitalize on five demographic and technology-based trends that are shaping the current business environment.
“There are five trends that are changing society, which will provide more opportunities than ever before,” Catlett said. “For those willing to rise to the challenge of these trends, the rewards will be boundless.”
This year’s convention, featuring the RV Learning Center, will include an all-new series of workshops for dealers and general managers in addition to sessions for sales, F&I, parts & accessories, service and rental employees.
Seminar speakers and their topics are:
• Richard “Dicky” Riegel III, “RV Industry Insights.”
• Duane Bunn, “Managing Cash Flow for Year Round Success.”
• Lee Harkins, “Performance Pay Plans for Today’s Employees.”
• Betty Mills, “Managing the Four Generations Today.”
• John Spader, “Surviving A Tough Economy.”
• John Spader and Noel Lais, “Strategic Planning.”
• Betty Mills and Jeff Lyon, “Benefits of Non-Monetary Compensation.”
• Fran Van Pelt, Debbie Brunoforte and Ellen Kietzmann, “Women Leaders in RV Dealerships”
• Joe Verde, “Maximizing Every Opportunity on the Lot.”
• Tom Walworth, Reigel, Derrick Crandall and Mark Beecher, “Where is the RV Market Heading?”
• Harvey Young, “The Four Imperatives of Great Leaders.”
“We are launching a brand new track for dealers,” said Jeff Pastore, RVDA chairman. “Owners can sit around the room with other owners and discuss issues of great importance to them. They will be given invaluable, up-to-the-minute information necessary to operate their business in these challenging, economic times. Speakers are being brought in to address issues that dealer/owners have requested. They will learn about the latest forecasts from our RVIA partners, and you will gain valuable insight regarding the economy from the must-see economist, Lowell Catlett.”
The RV industry’s top manufacturers, suppliers, finance firms and other service providers will also have exhibits in the Expo. The 13th Annual RVDA Education Foundation Classic Golf Tournament will be on Sept. 22.
This year will also feature the inaugural RV Business Top 50 RV Dealer Awards, as winners are to be feted at a reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on the evening of Sept. 24. Veteran NCAA basketball coach Bob Knight is the keynote speaker. The event is sponsored by RVBusiness and the Leadership Alliance.
A record number of manufacturers also will be participating in the Partners in Progress meetings with dealers. The 12 participating OEMs are (in order of presentation): The 12 participating OEMs are Heartland RV LLC, Fleetwood Enterprise Inc., KZ RV LP, Monaco Coach Corp. Jayco Corp., Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., Damon Motor Coach, Winnebago Industries Inc., Keystone RV Co., Forest River Inc. and Gulf Stream Coach Inc.
Sponsors for the 2008 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo are: Emerald Bank of America, Sapphire Bank of the West; Cummins Onan; Dometic Corp.; GE; Protective Ruby Assurant Solutions; DealerTrack Inc.; Diversified Insurance Management Inc.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.; Manheim; MBA Insurance Inc.; RV Industry News; RV Trade Digest; Zurich Topaz; and Atwood Mobile Products LLC.
The following offers an agenda for the Convention/Expo:
Monday, Sept. 22
13th Annual RVDA Education Foundation Classic Golf Tournament
10:00-11:30 a.m. Golf Registration
12:00-12:45 p.m. Golf Practice & Box Lunch Pickup
1:00-5:00 p.m. Golf Tournament Shotgun Start
5:15-7:15 p.m. Golf Awards Reception
Tuesday, Sept. 23
9:00-11:30 a.m. Proprietary Workshops
12:30-1:45 p.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
2:00-3:30 p.m. General Session
Five Trends That Will Help Dealers
Survive and Thrive, Dr. Lowell Catlett
3:45-5:00 p.m. Thought Leader Session
Employee Education Workshops
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
5:00-8:00 p.m. Expo Open/Reception
8:00-9:30 p.m. Canadian Reception
Open to All Canadians
Wednesday, Sept. 24
8:30-9:45 a.m. American Annual Meeting
Canadian Annual Meeting
9:45-11:15 a.m. Town Hall for Dealer Member Principals
10:00-11:15 a.m. Employee Education Workshops
11:15 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Expo Open
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Brand Committee Partners in Progress
1:00-2:15 p.m. Brand Committee Partners in Progress
2:30-3:45 p.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
4:00-5:15 p.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
Thursday, Sept. 25
8:15-9:45 a.m. Breakfast and General Session for All
Richard Riegel III, Thor Industries Inc.
10:00-11:15 a.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Expo Open
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Brand Committee Partners in Progress
1:00-2:15 p.m. Brand Committee Partners in Progress
2:30-3:45 p.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
4:00-5:15 p.m. Employee Education Workshops
Thought Leader Sessions
Brand Committee Partners in Progress
Friday, Sept. 26
8:30-11:30 a.m. Thought Leader Session