EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Livingston, senior vice president and group publisher of Trailer Life and Motor Home magazines (and other titles over the years), has announced his decision to step away from his day-to-day duties at GS Media & Events in Southern California and into the next mode of his RV-centric life. His successor, according to the following column he penned for the March issues of both consumer magazines, is Ann Emerson, formerly vice president of GS Media and, long before that, an executive with Woodall Publishing Inc.
While the next phase of Livingston’s career looks something like semi-retirement, the 2014 RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee is planning to maintain a visible industry role as a consultant and part-time contributor to those same time-honored Good Sam titles. An inveterate shade tree mechanic known for his laid-back dress, Livingston is also planning to pursue an array of special projects for a variety of clients including RVBusiness while he and wife Lynne spend time at their SoCal home and a variety of other U.S. locations — including Outdoor Resorts in Palm Springs — in their late-model fifth-wheel.
“Skechers, Crocs and Flip Flops”
I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and that my chance meeting with the then publisher and owner of this magazine, Art Rouse, in 1971 was no accident. He gave me the opportunity to work in a field that I quickly became infatuated with after seeing my cousin’s pickup camper, the first RV I had ever laid my eyes on.
Before that life-changing meeting with Rouse, I had pieced together my first RV, a van conversion, which was the predecessor of the Class B motorhome. It was a wonderful experience and immersed my wife, Lynne, and I into a lifestyle that would capture our hearts with a vengeance. As twenty somethings in a lifestyle that catered to mostly older folks, we were somewhat unique, and felt like we inherited a new group of mothers and fathers.
Fast forward 45 years, and we’re now just like those “old” people who once took Lynne and I under their wings, giving us the advice and friendship that cemented our love for RVs. Today, young RVers are no longer an anomaly, with the lifestyle becoming more appealing to Millennials and Gen Xers every day. And as an RV photojournalist, it’s been a privilege to have shared my stories and advice, and promote this amazing lifestyle with so many people — young and mature.
Every day I pinch myself to confirm that indeed I have been lucky enough to pursue a passion as a career, but now it’s time to step down as publisher of this great magazine and experience the RV lifestyle as a retiree rather than an employee.
So what will the next chapter of our lives look like? If we can wear Skechers, Crocs and flip-flops, we’ll be there in an RV. As we prepared for retirement from the magazine, Lynne and I have been discussing the possibility of going full time, and we will likely take that path. I will continue my role with the magazine as a consultant and a few of my articles will show up in pages throughout the year. I will take on special projects for a few RV entities, keeping my hand in industry product development and promotion. The RV industry has been our extended family, and for that we are deeply grateful.
I could easily devote most of this column to acknowledge and thank everyone who has made it possible for me to have such an incredible publishing career. It’s been fun and an honor to work with so many great editors, artists and salespeople over the years who have been more than just colleagues, but friends for life. Ann Emerson will be taking over the reins as publisher and managing editor, Kristopher Bunker, will pen this column. I’m confident that MotorHome magazine will continue to be your trusted source for information that enhances ownership and the RV lifestyle.
As readers of this magazine and our sister publication, Trailer Life, and members of the Good Sam Club, you have been my ears and eyes and have always been gracious. Whether you’ve encouraged me or disagreed with me, you’ve been loyal readers, and for that I am forever indebted.
It’s going to be hard to get into a groove without pushing deadlines, but the memories of guiding and assembling this magazine, working rallies, giving seminars, creating a TV show, producing videos and testing hundreds of RVs will be implanted in my heart forever.
Thanks for the ride; it’s been a good one indeed. As for Lynne and me, we’ll see you in the RV park.