(L-R) Scott Graham, RVIA President Richard Coon and Sharonne Lee were on hand for the opening of the RVIA Elkhart office

(L-R) Scott Graham, RVIA President Richard Coon and Sharonne Lee were on hand for the opening of the RVIA Elkhart office

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) staff in Elkhart, Ind., has outgrown its office and is looking for a larger facility, RVIA President Richard Coon reported Wednesday (March 11) during the 2015 Annual Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla. The announcement was one of several issues addressed during the RVIA Membership Meeting, offering the approximately 100 members in attendance an update on association and industry affairs.

The current office, located at 633 CR 17, opened in May of last year. Coon, who also announced his Oct. 1 retirement at the meeting, said the Elkhart relocation was always part of the plan.

“When we started the Elkhart office, I made a proposal to the board that the Elkhart office was going to be done in two phases. Phase I was to find a facility that would house the staff we had identified at that point and get it located where people could see it so they would know we’re in town,” Coon said.

Phase II is the relocation to a larger facility to accommodate the association’s burgeoning Technicians In Training (TNT) Program. The new site will be used to house additional staff, including a trainer and a librarian, as well as hosting classes and hands-on training sessions. Coon added that the additional staff represented new positions and would not be jobs transferred from Reston, Va.

“We want to find a facility that has a warehouse operation where we could hold classes and, more importantly, is big enough that we can pull in an RV,” Coon said. “It has to be a place where we could set up video equipment to video suppliers’ new gadgets that companies are bringing to the market and explain to service technicians what that new product is about.”

Coon said RVIA has identified a couple of potential sites, but they are still in the search process. He anticipates Phase II will be completed by mid-summer, preferably by RVIA Committee Week, which is May 31-June 4 in Washington, D.C.

Newmar President Matt Miller

Newmar President Matt Miller

Miller Earns Distinguished Service Award

Another highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the RVIA Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor, to Matt Miller, president of Newmar Corp. and secretary/treasurer of the RVIA Board of Director’s Executive Committee.

In presenting Miller with the award, RVIA Chairman Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc., said the industry has benefited greatly from Miller’s leadership and service “for his keen business experience which has helped shape association policy.”

Also, Miller is a longtime member of the Standards Steering Committee, serving as its chairman since 2010. His other industry involvement includes the RVIA Audit Committee, RVDA/RVIA Certification Governing Board, Strategic Planning Committee and the Public Relations Committee.

An emotional Miller thanked his wife and the people at Newmar for the allowing him the time and freedom to dedicate so much of his time and energy to RVIA activities.

“I’m humbled because I don’t believe I deserve it, and I’m honored that you chose to present it to me today,” Miller said.

Other awards included: Mary Pouliot of Thetford Corp., National Education Service Award; Peter Orthwein of Thor Industries Inc., RVIA Special Award; Mark Bowersox of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council/Indiana Manufactured Housing Association (RVIC/IMHA), National Legislative Award; Campers Inn President Jeff Hirsch, David J. Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award; and Craig Floyd of TRC – A Southwire Co., Distinguished Achievement in RV Standards Award.