The pending retirement of longtime Recreation Vehicle Industry Association President David Humphreys and the search for his successor, expected to be completed by early next year, was on the minds of many at the RVIA’s Annual Meeting in Aspen, Colo.
Humphreys’ planned retirement on Jan. 30, 2006 – it will be his 70th birthday – was a key subject at presentations and various table discussions during social events among the 197 registrants for the event, held Sept. 26-28 at the St. Regis Hotel. Industry leaders tried to determine who was left on the short list to succeed Humphreys, a popular association executive and an attorney by training.
A board-appointed committee, which has narrowed the field to three individuals, is still working on the selection and has not released the names of any finalists.
The plan is to have the new president in place by June.
“Very simply stated, my primary responsibility this year is to prepare to hand over the reins to my successor,” Humphreys said in a speech during the RVIA Membership Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28. “So, frankly, I am looking at things that need to be tidied up.”
Specificially on his agenda, said Humphreys, who has been RVIA’s president since 1979 and has twice delayed his retirement at the request of the RVIA board, is shoring up the association’s strategic planning process, which he characterized as “critical to the success” of the person who follows him.
“I think it would be very difficult to start to be the president of an organization if he didn’t have a really good strategic plan and a strategic planning process to keep it current,” Humphreys said. “I am also trying to work harder on relationships with all our industry partners. I intend to accelerate to the finish line, not just mush along.”
Here is other news from the annual meeting:
• RVIA Treasurer Carl Pfalzgraf, executive vice president of Atwood Mobile Products, Rockford, Ill., reported that RVIA finances have stabilized after break-even or deficit budgets three out of the last four years. Total revenue for fiscal 2005, which began Oct. 1, was expected to reach $12.6 million, with expenses projected at 12.2 million, resulting in a net surplus of $400,000.
• Outgoing RVIA Chairman Claire Skinner, chairman, president and CEO of Coachmen Industries Inc., Elkhart, Ind., noted that with second-quarter shipments of 105,600 RVs – an increase of 21.2% from 2003 – this year likely will close with the highest number of RVs shipped to dealers since 1978.
• RVIA’s board circumvented its traditional process of establishing standards by directly requiring that carbon monoxide (CO) detectors be installed in all RVs as a condition of membership in the association. CO detectors previously were required in motorhomes, truck campers and towables that had generators or were prepped for generators.
The follwing annual awards were presented at the meeting:
• National Service Award: Rick Horsey, chairman of the RVDA Education Foundation and owner of Parkview RV Center, Smyrna, Del.
• National Legislative Award: Wisconsin State Rep. Samatha Kerkman, principle sponsor of Wisconsin’s new expanded RV length and width law.
• National Scholastic Award: Okanagan University College, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. The school graduates around 30 RV service technicians annually from its apprenticeship program.
• National Education Service Award: Greg Moos of Onan Corp. for contributions to the industry’s technician training programs.
• RV Automotive Achievement Award: Kelly Rose, chairman and CEO of Starcraft Automotive Group Inc., Goshen, Ind.
• Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award: Business writer Jeff Green of Bloomberg News.
• Special Award: Former RVIA Chairman Mel Adams, chairman of the National Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council and president and CEO of industry supplier Airxcel Inc., Wichita, Kan.
• Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award: Dave Swanson, executive vice president of manufacturing for Atwood Mobile Products, Elkhart, Ind.