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(L-R) Doug Gaeddert, Wilbur Bontrager, Cindy Bontrager, Derald Bontrager, Gregg Fore and Bob Parish at the gala celebration

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members celebrated Jayco’s Derald Bontrager for his service as the association’s chairman of the board from 2014-2016 at the Chairman’s Dinner and Gala that took place on March 2 as part of RVIA’s RV Leadership Conference in Boca Raton, Fla. 

As reported by RVIA Today Express, Chairman Bob Parish said that Bontrager led the association in a remarkable and prosperous time that saw the RV industry and RVIA flourish. “Derald took his responsibility as chairman very seriously and approached the duties of the position with the conviction and dedication born from his strong Midwestern work ethic,” he said. “Under his steady, unassuming leadership, RVIA worked to continue a path of growth and success.”

Parish detailed key accomplishments under Bontrager’s leadership in the areas of government affairs, standards, education and Go RVing before adding that his most important achievement was guiding RVIA through a crucial transition as Frank Hugelmeyer took the reins from Richard Coon.

“Derald headed the search committee and spearheaded the process that concluded with RVIA welcoming Frank Hugelmeyer as president,” he said. “With his calm, matter-of-fact approach, Derald, along with Frank and the RVIA staff, managed a smooth transition that focused on two key goals — keep RVIA operating smoothly as usual while also transforming the association into a reimagined organization better equipped to help its members face the challenges of a world that is rapidly and continually evolving.”

Parish invited past RVIA chairs Wilbur Bontrager, Gregg Fore and Doug Gaeddert to join him in presenting Bontrager with several gifts in recognition of his service, including the Chairman’s Award plaque and the RVIA Chairman’s ring. Bontrager’s wife, Cindy, was also recognized for her support and presented a crystal vase. On behalf of the RVIA staff, Hugelmeyer gave Bontrager a scrapbook commemorating his term as chairman that included photos, press clippings and letters of congratulations from association colleagues.

“It was a tremendous honor and humbling privilege to serve as RVIA chairman. My time on the board of directors, including the last two as chairman, has been one of the highlights of my career. Personally, the most rewarding aspect has been the friendships made and all I’ve learned from staff and fellow Board members. And, like all past chairs before, my hope is I have left the association in a better place,” Bontrager said.