Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A that appeared in RV Executive Today with Andy Heck, chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and president of New York-based Alpin Haus, addressing the future of the RVDA convention.
When I became chairman at our annual convention last October, I said I wanted to hear from as many of you as possible during my term. And it’s been great that so many of you have reached out over the past few months. The ideas, concerns, and questions have given me some good insights that I have been sharing with the RVDA staff and board.
RVDA board members participated in our strategic planning session this week. Your input helped us take a new and fresh look at what RVDA should be doing to be relevant. Here are a couple of questions I’ve been asked:
Q: Why is our convention always in Las Vegas?
A: The board decided many years ago to keep the convention in Las Vegas because attendance was always highest there and would drop when the location was changed.
Q: Why is the convention always at the Rio?
A: The benefits of having the convention at the Rio are:
• Room rate – Rates are much lower than most hotels on The Strip.
• Room size – The all-suite format makes it more comfortable if employees need to double up.
• Convention facilities – The Rio’s facilities are a good match for our size, allowing workshops and exhibit halls on the same level, with no long walks or escalator rides to move between the education events and the Expo.
• Exhibitor set-up and move-in – There’s plenty of staging area, and it’s easy to move large display vehicles in and out, a feature that some hotels on The Strip can’t provide.
• Ample parking.
Q: Is RVDA exploring a partnership with RVIA for the convention?
A: Yes, both RVDA and RVIA are continuing to explore how our two associations could do a co-located event. The benefits include solving the overloaded fall schedule, making travel more efficient for everyone, and having an exciting new event. There’s a lot to discuss and contemplate on what such an event might look like, but the sooner we start the discussion, the sooner it would be possible
Q: What are your thoughts on Mike Molino’s retirement?
A: Mike Molino recently announced he is stepping down as CEO of RVDA. Mike has had a huge impact on our industry and touched the lives of so many of us. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be on the board and work with Mike firsthand.
I think it’s cool that our current board has so many second-generation dealers and that Mike got to work with both generations. He has been both strategic and visionary in guiding RVDA through many changes during his tenure and has been the face of the organization. RV dealers are more professional across the board because of Mike and his leadership. We should all be thankful that Mike built a great team, including Vice President for Communications Phil Ingrassia, who will take over as president. Phil will do a great job, and we look forward to working with him.