Latest News

  • 23 Sep 2014 12:04 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

     

    KOA OWNERS ASSOCIATION PROXY FOR 2014 ANNUAL MEETING

    Know all persons by these presents that the undersigned, a member in good standing of the Kampground Owners Association, Inc. hereby appoints:

    Thursday, November 13:

    4:15pm – 5:15pm – All OA Area Meetings

    (full name) as his/her proxy, to represent the undersigned at the Area meetings on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 between 4:15 pm and 5:15 pm; and at the Annual Meeting of the members of the corporation to be held on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at approximately 4:45 p.m. in Charleston S.C. or at any adjournment thereof and to vote for the undersigned on any and all matters that may come before the meetings.

    Member name:

    Franchise #:

    Campground name:

    Signature:

    Date:

    Instructions to proxy:

    NOTE:  Proxies should be in the possession of the Secretary of the Kampground Owners Association not later than 8:00 a.m. Friday, October 25, 2014 according to the by-laws.  Accordingly, proxies should be mailed to:

    Kampground Owners Association

    3416 Primm Lane

    Birmingham, AL  35216

    Please check for meeting room locations at the convention

  • 14 Aug 2014 11:02 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Criteria for KOA WorkKamper of the Year Award

    We are pleased to announce the criteria for the KOA WorkKamper of the Year Award.  This award will be presented at the KOA convention in Davtona Beach in November, 2015.


    Criteria
    1.  The WorkKamper nominee must have an active membership in the KOA WorkKamper Program.  Their resume may be inactive only if currently working at a KOA Kampground. Also must allow for workkampers that are not full-timers, but work only in the summer months.
    2.  Demonstrate loyalty to the KOA Organization by choice of campgrounds to work at.
    3.  The WorkKamper nominee is an employee who goes above and beyond on the campground, is a team player and gets along well with peers. The WorkKamper demonstrates positive energy and attitude proving to be an asset to the campground atmosphere.
    4.  Implements the KOA WorkKamper Code of Conduct as developed at the WorkKamper University.
     
    WorkKamper Award Questions that should be considered by person(s) nominating:
    1)  How long had the WorkKamper worked for you and your campground?
    2)  What do you feel is their greatest customer skill?
    3)  At check-in, are they friendly and helpful to the camper/do they escort the camper to their site and ensure that everything is ok?
    4)  Are they alert to the needs of the campers and respond quickly?
    5)  When they are working with their peers, do they maintain a friendly and helpful attitude?
    6)  Do they offer assistance to a co-worker when they see the need?
    7)  Do they show good work ethic?
    a) Check in on time
    b) Complete the assigned task in a timely manner
    c) Work well independently as well as in a group
    d) Exhibits a cheerful attitude always
    e) Responds appropriately to an emergency
    8)  How well do they implement the "KOA WorkKamper Code of Conduct?"
    9)  How well do they deal with difficult campers?
    List an instance:
    10) What instance really made this WorkKamper(s) stand out?
    11) Why do you feel this WorkKamper deserves this award?
    12) Have your campers complimented this WorkKamper to you personally or in writing?


    The award winner will receive $500 from the OA to cover some of the cost to attend the convention as well as a t-shirt to the winners, a $100 gift card for travel expenses (this can either go to them or to the campground if they are paying their way) and two registrations into the Convention (courtesy of KOA). 


    Nominations should be sent to the KOA Owners Association Business Office, 3416 Primm Lane, Birmingham, AL  35216 or email to info@koaowners.org by October 20, 2015.


  • 14 Jul 2014 11:14 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Dometic builds refrigerators from scratch in America

    If there is one thing John Hunter wants the RV industry to know about Dometic refrigerators, it’s that they are built from scratch by skilled workers who are not simply assembling parts.

    The operations manager for the company’s manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Hunter oversees a staff of 300 to 400 associates in a 245,000-square-foot plant the builds and tests 700 refrigerators per day, 80 percent of which are shipped to RV makers in the Elkhart area.

    The company achieved ISO 14001 certification in 1998 for its environmental management system. In fact, every production plant owned by the company that employs at least 20 people is certified to ISO 14001 standards.

    What’s that mean for Dometic’s customers? ISO certification is a big deal because the company must pass rigorous inspections of its policies and procedures to ensure that it minimizes any potentially harmful effects on the environment caused by its manufacturing process. The company must also develop a plan for continuous improvement when it comes to its environmental performance.

    To meet increasing demand for refrigerator products by RV manufacturers, Dometic runs its production line in two shifts from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.  Five production lines are employed to get the job done, and there are 340 refrigerators on the production line at any time. Three assembly lines are involved in producing high-quality refrigerators while the other two are involved in making a variety of mixed models. In addition to refrigerators, the company also produces a line of medical boxes used by hospitals to transport and store blood, but that’s a small, specialty niche compared to the huge numbers of RV refrigerators manufactured each year.

    “The RV market is up 13 percent this year,” Hunter explained. “Manufacturers are expecting us to be able to deliver working refrigerators to their production lines on time every day. We’re going to step up our production to support our OEM partners.”

    Starts from a sheet of plastic

    Each RV refrigerator actually starts as a sheet of plastic. It is heated and thermoformed into the compartment and inside liner that people see whenever they open the refrigerator doors. From there, the freezer and fresh food doors are added along with a steel frame. Manufacturers have the ability to add their own custom inserts to the outside of the doors to better match the RV’s interior decor.

    A total of five machine towers do nothing but produce the insulated RV doors. The refrigerator process begins with aluminum lined cardboard to control weight. The refrigerator body then moves onto a cabinet foaming station where a robot pumps in an expanded polypropylene foam that hardens in 10 to 12 minutes. It is 19 percent lighter than other foam products, but improves cooling capacity by 15 percent, Hunter said.

    As the refrigerator bodies are removed from the line, they are inspected to make sure all the seal points held as expected. If, for some reason, a blowout should occur, the product is removed from the line and some of the parts salvaged. One production line is focused on transforming raw tubes into the cooling units. A robotic system picks up each tube and systematically bends it into shape, then automatically moves it to another robot station that welds other parts together. Once the robots complete their jobs, a human worker takes each assembled part and verifies it was assembled correctly by ensuring it fits into a specific mold. Those that don’t are sent back to special stations where other workers manipulate the tubes into proper position. From there the cooling unit goes to a station that blows high-pressure air into the system before it is held underwater while an employee scans each unit looking for the smallest of leaks. Any detected leaks are repaired and retested.

    “Occasionally, we will pull one of the cooling units off the line and blast it with so much pressure that the tube eventually bursts,” said Hunter. “This confirms the welds are as tight as they can be because the tubes will give way before one of the welded joints.” Racks that pass inspection are sent off to be washed and painted. Once complete, the unit is sent to a charging station where refrigerant is added and the system tested to make sure it retains the charge undefined a process that takes several hours to complete.

    Building a refrigerator is quite a feat since Dometic receives 5 million individual parts per month that are bent, cut, welded and shaped into finished products. “The only parts that are not made in house are the, electrical, racking, crispers and shelves,” said Hunter. “Every other component in our refrigerators and freezers is made right here in Elkhart.” The final step on the production line has workers thoroughly cleaning the refrigerators inside and out. The serial numbers are added and a supervisor ensures that all required tests were performed and passing results recorded.

    The finished refrigerators are then maneuvered to a special elevator that moves it upstairs for final testing. That department has 450 RVs being tested at any time. Over a four- to six-hour period, each refrigerator is powered up and temperatures recorded by computer at various intervals to ensure the units cool down as expected.

    RV industry standards require the main compartments to cool to 43 degrees and the freezers to go as low as 16 degrees. However, Dometic raises that bar, said Hunter. “We test each refrigerator to ensure the temperature in the main compartment cools to 38 to 41 degrees, and the freezer gets down to 2 to 6 degrees,” he explained.  “Thanks to all our internal testing, less than 10 cooling units fail per year after leaving the plant.”

    Internal testing is one thing, Dometic takes it one step further by installing a refrigerator into a motorhome, then driving the RV to a testing facility in LaGrange, Ind. There, the RV is subjected to high heat, cold temperatures and just about any environment it is likely to experience on the road. During the testing process, computers continually monitor the temperatures to ensure the cool to Dometic standards, said Hunter.

    Dealer direct delivery

    Dometic is different from other RV industry suppliers in that they ship RVs directly to dealers, rather than through wholesale distributors. So, the company also staffs a customer service center with telephone operators and technicians to take orders, answer consumer questions and help RV technicians troubleshoot issues. “We have 5,500 different customers,” said Dave Schutz, vice president of RV OEM sales and marketing. “Our customer service team logged more than 500,000 calls last year. In the summer season we have more than 45 sales and tech support agents on the phones for dealer and OEM calls.” Because of the unique arrangement in shipping units directly to RV dealers, Dometic invests heavily in training and supporting its dealers. In fact, if customers call with questions about their RVs, they are referred to a local dealer to get a problem resolved.

    The company sees calls for service triple during the summer, which is why the firm brings on many part-time seasonal workers to handle the crunch, including many college students doing internships. Fortunately, Schutz said, about 40 percent of the summer workers return each year. Whether they work the production line or in customer service, staff members are often cross-trained in different stations so that if one worker calls in sick, or there is another staff shortage on the line, other employees can quickly cover any station. “We are proud of our team,” said Schutz. “They work hard to make quality products. They know that RV owners rely on having working refrigerators wherever they go. Nothing would take the enjoyment out of a family vacation faster than having a refrigerator stop working. That’s why we work diligently to build ours to tough specifications, then test and retest each unit multiple times to ensure it meets that standard.”

    As big as the manufacturing plant in Elkhart is, the factory represents just a slice of the company’s overall business. An international manufacturer, the Dometic Group is involved not only in the RV industry, but in the marine industry as well as commercial and passenger vehicles, lodging, consumer products and medical equipment.

    The products are marketed under the following brands:

    ·         Cruisair – Air conditioners, air purifiers, portable refrigerators and ice makers, as well as Eskimo ice systems

    ·         Condaria – Marine refrigerators, water heaters, chillers, heat pumps, air conditioners and boilers

    ·         MarineAir – Air conditioners, air purifiers and ice makers

    ·         Sealand – Marine toilet systems

    ·         Dometic – Trucking and agricultural products; commercial marine cooling units; hotel safes and mini-bars, and air purifiers; and RV and marine toilets; RV stoves, microwaves, heat pumps, awnings, air purifiers and cleaning products

    “We have 20 production facilities around the world, but only two in China,” said Schutz. “Each one is often capable of making multiple products. That way if one plant experiences a fire or a natural disaster, another plant is ready to immediately pick up the slack.” With international headquarters in Sweden, Dometic’s worldwide business generated more than $1.1 billion in sales in 2013, and early reports show the company posting a 10 percent sales increase in the first quarter of 2014.

    For more information about Dometic refrigerators, visit www.dometic.com.

  • 14 Jul 2014 11:08 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Trail Mix Rice Krispie Treats

    Trail Mix Rice Krispie Treats

    A no-bake recipe is the perfect compliment to a camper’s sweet tooth. Trail mix has a little of everything – sweetened dried fruit and salty pretzels or nuts – appealing to your pickiest eater. For added zinc, potassium and fiber, add almonds in place of peanuts. Trail Mix Rice Krispie Treat bars are healthy and will keep tummies full on the trails or hanging out at the campsite.

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon water
    9 ounces large marshmallows, about 35
    4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
    2 cups trail mix

    Makes about 12 bars. Place the oil, water and marshmallows in a medium-sized pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Add in the Rice Krispies and trail mix. Stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan, spreading mixture completely to all sides. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Then cut into 2-by-2-inch bars and serve. Leftovers can be tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

  • 14 Jul 2014 11:04 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Rockwood Roo Hybrid Travel Trailer

     

    Rockwood, a division of Forest River, has been in the business of providing outdoor fun for RVers for more than 35 years. For camping enthusiasts looking to transition from a traditional tent to an RV, Rockwood offers the Roo, an expandable travel trailer, also known as a hybrid, that offers full amenities but still allows an open-air environment for outdoor lovers.ATB-rockwood-small

    This hybrid trailer is equipped with fold-down bunk ends that provide added sleeping capacity without taking up valuable floor space. An innovative bunk-end latch system that’s accessible from the ground is designed to make setup and closing easy.

    Standard interior features include a bunk fan and light for each bed, LED lighting throughout, a three-burner gas range and a microwave. The Roo’s floor, roof, front and back are aluminum-framed and vacuum-bonded to ensure a lightweight yet strong structure.

    Some Roo floorplans have side slideouts and front decks with a 1,300-pound capacity that allow you to bring along an ATV or other toys. The 25-foot, 4,365-pound (dry weight) 233S model provides a third fold-down bunk for added sleeping capacity (2014 MSRP: $25,475).

  • 30 May 2014 3:02 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    5 Home Remedies for Burns


    1. Cold Water

    You can stop a burn from spreading by running cold water over the burn area for several minutes within seconds of being burned. You can also place a cold compress over the affected area. Repeat the remedy every few hours to relieve pain. Do not use ice as it can restrict blood flow, which can eventually cause damage to the delicate tissues. You can use cold whole milk instead of water.

    2. Raw Potato

    Raw potato can treat minor skin burns due to its anti-irritating and soothing properties. It will alleviate the pain and reduce the chance of having blisters. Simply cut a slice of raw potato and rub it on the burn, making sure the juice from the potato is releasing over the area. Use this remedy soon after the burn occurs for best results.

    3. Aloe Vera

    Aloe vera has painkilling, astringent and tissue-healing properties that can help in healing burns.

    1. Rinse the affected area with cold water or vinegar.
    2. Cut a small piece of the aloe vera leaf and apply the fresh gel directly on the burn.

    If you do not have an aloe vera plant, you can apply a cream that has aloe vera as an ingredient.

    4. Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice

    Coconut oil and lemon juice both can help to treat minor burn. Coconut oil is rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids such as lauric acid, myristic acid and capric acid that offer anti-fungal, anti-oxidizing and anti-bacterial properties. Lemon juice has acidic properties that naturally lighten the scars. For scalds due to burns, take coconut oil and add some some lemon juice to it. Mix it properly and apply it on the scalds to facilitate healing.

    5. Honey

    Honey can effectively disinfect wounds and help heal burns. When applied to a burn, honey draws fluids out of the tissues and thus cleans the burned area.

    1. Spread honey on a gauze bandage and put it directly on the burn.
    2. Change the bandage three to four times a day.
  • 30 May 2014 2:54 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Cinnamon Twist On A Stick

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package of regular biscuits
    • Cinnamon and sugar
    • Butter
    Directions:
    Take the biscuit and wrap it around a stick by spiraling it from the top and work your way down. The thinner the biscuit is on the stick the quicker the inside will cook so you don’t burn the outside. Cook over the fire until done. Roll in butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar all over it. Yummy!
  • 30 May 2014 2:32 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Gold Tooth

    One weekend Mr. Simpson and his 13 year old son Jimmy were camping in the Jacksonville State Forest area, They had prepared this camp out with very little help from Mom. Well, except for some advice. She saw Dad packing a large can of sauerkraut and asked him what he planned to do with it. He responded that it was for supper on Saturday night.  

    Mom didn't think that was a very good idea. "I know what will happen," she said. "You'll go to bed right after supper because you'll both be afraid of the dark and Jimmy will have horrible nightmares after eating that sauerkraut."  "Nonsense," her husband remarked and he packed the sauerkraut anyway.

    Friday night they went to be early. Not because they were scared, but because they were tired. They had gotten up early, finished packing, and had driven half the day to reach the beautiful campsite which they were able to claim.  Saturday was a busy day and even though they ate a good breakfast and lunch, the full day of hiking left starving by supper time. That sauerkraut turned out to be a real treat that evening. It certainly complemented that grilled sausage! And for dessert, banana pudding washed down with hot chocolate. 

    After relaxing around the campfire a short while they turned on their AM/FM radio to hear the news.  Unexpectedly, a emergency flash news report came over the radio:

    ATTENTION, ATTENTION, ALL CITIZENS:  JUST HOURS AGO A CONVICTED MURDERER ESCAPED FROM THE JACKSONVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER. INITIAL ATTEMPTS TO CAPTURE HIM HAVE FAILED. HE IS AT LARGE AND IS CONSIDERED DANGEROUS. HE IS BELIEVED TO BE HEADING NORTH-NORTHWEST ON FOOT. HE STANDS ABOUT 6'4" AND WEIGHS APPROXIMATELY 280 POUNDS. HE HAS LONG BROWN HAIR WITH A BEARD AND MUSTACHE. HE ANSWERS TO THE NAME "GOLD TOOTH." IF YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OFF THE WHEREABOUTS OF THIS ESCAPED CRIMINAL PLEASE CALL YOUR LOCAL POLICE IMMEDIATELY.   FOR EVERYONE'S SAFETY, ANYONE CAMPING IN THE JACKSONVILLE STATE FOREST AREA SHOULD LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. THAT IS ALL.

    Instantly, Jimmy turned to his dad in fear.  "Don't be afraid, Son. You have nothing to worry about. Jacksonville Correctional Center is twenty miles north over Jackson Ridge. Besides we're leaving in the morning and there is no way anyone could travel that distance on foot in twelve hours. Regardless, the news report said he's traveling north-northwest and we're due south." 

    "Dad, I don't care. I'm scared. I wanna go home." Jimmy replied.  "What if I gave you something to protect yourself with?" "Like what, Dad? A Swiss Army knife?" "No, of course not. I brought the rifle for a little target practice tomorrow morning before we leave. But if you'd like, I'll keep it in the tent tonight for protection." "You will?" "Yes, I will." "Really? Do you promise?" "Yes, I promise." "OK, let's stay. But I'm getting tired. I want to go to sleep. And my stomach is acting up a little."

    Jimmy got up from sitting by the campfire and walked over to the tent and got in. Mr. Simpson walked over to the duffle bags and began to look for the rifle finding it in the red one.  Holding it in his hand, Mr.. Simpson knew the gun was not loaded with bullets. And he did not plan to load it either. Mr. Simpson had no concern whatsoever that the escaped prisoner would threaten them in any way. He was merely providing a sense a security for his son. Mr. Simpson was more concerned about a possible bear attack than the prisoner at large.

    Walking past the tent to put the fire out, Mr. Simpson could hear that Jimmy had already fallen to sleep. Smiling to himself, Jimmy's father picked up the pail of water and poured it over the fire. Immediately, the sizzle of steam rose into the air as the fire light disappeared into darkness.

    Mr. Simpson turned on his flashlight to find his way back to the tent. As he walked over, he held the flash light in his right hand and the rifle in his left. Crawling into the tent he placed the rifle between the sleeping bags. Zipping the tent door behind him, Mr. Simpson crawled into his sleeping bag, zipped it up and then turned the flash light off. As he laid in the darkness, he could hear Jimmy still snoring and the gentle noises from the crickets and the bullfrogs outside. For a moment, he thought about how happy he was to be there in such a beautiful peaceful place with his son who he loved so much. Everything was perfect. Peaceful. Serene.

    Slowly, Mr. Simpson could feel himself falling to sleep and beginning to dream. Soon he was deep in sleep and snoring too.  In the middle of the night, probably around four in the morning, Jimmy awoke. He was squirming because his stomach was cramping and he was having nightmares. Jimmy struggled with every ounce of his energy against the overwhelming strength of Gold Tooth, but he just couldn't break away. Gold Tooth had him and wasn't letting go!
    "Jimmy! You have been having a nightmare. Wake up."

    As he laid on his back looking up at the top of the tent, he immediately thought about the escaped murderer.  He turned his head to look towards his father and then he saw the gun lying between them. Instantly, he was relieved. He felt safe again.  Then, in the distance he heard CRACK!!  It sounded like someone stepping on a fallen branch. Then, he heard CRUNCH!! It sounded like someone stepping onto a pile of leaves. Then, he heard CRACK!!  Again. Another broken branch. Jimmy tried to wake his Dad up, but he couldn't. He tried shaking him, but he was sleeping too deeply. Jimmy grabbed the rifle and pointed it at the door, not knowing it was loaded.   Then, outside the tent, Jimmy saw the shape of a man silhouetted by the light of the moon. Instantly, without thought he pulled the triggered of the unloaded gun.  POW!!!!  The gun fired and a bullet ripped through the tent striking the shadowy figure dead.

    Mr. Simpson woke up in a panic and didn't understand what was happening. Everything seemed chaotic and confusing. His ears were ringing from the sound of the gun firing. He couldn't believe the gun was loaded. He thought for sure it was not. Good thing he was wrong.

    Jimmy was sitting still holding the gun firm in his grip. His eyes were locked straight ahead in the direction he had fired. He was trembling with fear. Finally, he spoke.  "I saw him. It was him. The escaped prisoner. I know it was him. He was going to kill us. I had to do it. I had to do it. I had to do it." Jimmy repeated.  Hours later, the cops arrived on the scene. The man did not look like the escaped prisoner. He had short hair, no beard or mustache, and was wearing street clothes. 

    Jimmy felt sick that he had shot at someone without knowing who he was shooting. His dad felt terrible that he had made the awful mistake of thinking that a gun was unloaded without checking it by opening the breech.  Jimmy was arrested as a murderer and he was taken to Jacksonville Prison. There he was placed in the very cell that the escaped convict had been in.  "Kid, this cell is good enough for you. You killed my brother-in-law, Henry. Well just keep you here until I hope they hang you."

     Later that night a man with long hair was brought in wearing handcuffs and leg chains. The guard laughed as he shoved him into Jimmy's cell.   'Hey, you two murderers should get along just fine in there", he cackled as he slammed the door, locked it, and walked away down the hall leaving the two in there together.   "Aw. what are you in for kid? You murder someone like me?" And as he laughed Jimmy saw the gold tooth shinning though the droopy long mustache covering his face. And Jimmy realized that he had finally meet the killer face to face, locked in a cell together without anyone around to help. And all because he shot someone he didn't even know.

    "Say kid," Gold Tooth exclaimed as he came closer and closer to Jimmy, "I hear you be here for trying to kill me." Jimmy backed up until he was finally trapped in a corner of the cell. Gold Tooth put his manacled hands out in front of him, reaching for Jimmy.  "I hate it when people try to kill me," Gold Tooth growled, snatching Jimmy around the waist as he tried to sneak past him. 

    Jimmy knew he was going to die. His breath was being squeezed out of him. His last chance for survival was to shout for help to the guard who had left them both in the cell.  "HELP!" Jimmy screamed at the top of his lungs. "Jimmy, Jimmy! Wake up Jimmy!" a familiar voice was shouting and Jimmy suddenly realized he was not in the cell, but was in the tent being shaken by his father.

    What had been a great camp out had turned into a nightmare. But they had both learned important lessons. Pay attention to the authorities when they make an announcement and follow their instructions. Never trust that a gun is not loaded and never shoot at a target without positive identification, even in a dream. And when your mother gives you some advice, even if it's just not to take sauerkraut on a camp out and eat it before going to bed-believe her! 

  • 13 May 2014 1:19 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Article by Jim Meenan

    A panel discussion was held Thursday with some of the leaders in the RV industry at the RV Industry Power Breakfast at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. In a wide-ranging discussion, they talked about the current boom that is going on in the industry and some of the issues that they are now facing in terms of labor, materials and delivery. Participants included: Forest River's Doug Gaeddert, who is also board chairman of the Recreation

    Vehicle Industry Association, Thor's Bob Martin, Jayco's Derald Bontrager and three executives from suppliers -- Airxcel's Mel Adams, Lippert Components' Jason Lippert and Patrick's Todd Cleveland. Here are some of the highlights.

    Q. What's next for the RV Industry? Amid all the recent success, what's on the horizon?

    A. Gaeddert: We are obviously motoring in a really strong direction right now. The immediate future I think looks good. We are in a sweet spot in the industry from all standpoints, whether it be demographics, popularity, a push for more physical activities. As far as challenges, inside the industry, short-term ones are obvious: transportation, labor and material shortages. Long term the challenge to continue to grow it are to satisfy our customers. External factors -- it's going to take something like a crazy situation exploding in Ukraine, or something that puts unnatural pressure on oil prices.

    Martin: We have bright days ahead of us because of the demographic. All the opportunities we have of people who are not actually camping yet. They are tent campers. They are taking that next step. We look at that as great opportunities for everybody in this room.

    Bontrager: The RV industry is really a mirror of what's happening in our economy. The customers never left us. They sat on the sidelines for a period of time during the recession. That's been a big piece of our rapid growth the last three years. What I see going forward is I think we are going to be in a prolonged period of growth.

    Lippert: From our perspective I feel real solid that this industry was hit arguably the hardest in the recession. Being in manufacturing it's a lot tougher than a lot of other businesses in the recession. We all learned a lot of important lessons in the recession.

    I think we all feel positive about where the industry is going, and it hasn't felt this good in a long time. But as an industry we are probably well positioned to recover from anything that hits us between the eyes.

    Q. Amid the September open houses, what's the future of the trade shows such as Louisville for both the near future and long-term?

    A. Bontrager: We also have to remember when we talk about the Louisville show that we are a consolidating industry. We have fewer manufacturers, fewer suppliers, fewer dealers involved in the business. I think the Louisville show provides a lot of value. The open houses have kind of grown a life of their own. It's been good for the industry.

    Adams: It's really the only showcase of the North American RV industry and maybe internationally to some degree. As a supplier at that show, it's always a great opportunity to see everyone else in the industry, see all the manufacturers. But I also think it's probably the only place where we are showcasing the industry and attract national media.

    Cleveland: The Louisville show is absolutely necessary.

    From the supplier side, we continue to support Louisville.

    Martin: For us definitely there will be a continued presence for the open house. We are anchored right here. For Thor, it will be bigger than last year. We are doing what the dealers are asking us to do. The dealers really seem to enjoy the time of the year, coming in and seeing new models. It's a great time for them to come by. It's a little bit before Louisville. That way they can get their product in before spring shows. Forest River really started this and it's just grown. I still see a great importance for both.

    Gaeddert: It's turned into a somewhat predictable cycle. which has been very healthy for the entire industry, suppliers, dealers, manufacturers, campgrounds, finance companies, etc. (The shows) complement each other extremely well. The demand is there for both of those events. We are going to continue to do what the market wants us to do, in this case, the dealer base wants us to do. It's here to stay for now. It's very good for the industry.

    Q. With every-body working who wants to work, where does the industry get employees from locally? Or does the industry just expand elsewhere?

    A. Gaeddert: The cool thing is we've gone from a 20 percent rate of unemployment down to 5.8. That's like dropping 150 pounds in a short period of time. It's great news that we are where we are at now. Somebody brought it up earlier, our core work force in this area is the reason companies are focused in concentrating in this area. This area is full of good people that have great skill sets and build high-quality products and deliver high-quality service. Plain and simple, that's why it's here.

    As far as moving outside because of the employment issue, I think that's a tough one. If you look back there's 70 to 80 years of culture in this area with this work force. It's pretty tough to go replicate that somewhere. The second thing is the supplier base and the distribution channels. So it's going to be tough. Companies are going to have to separate themselves by being the best place to work, how they take care of folks. We are going to have competition for labor. But at the end of the day, part of the solution is working together and trying to bring that 5.8 down further and become steadier.

    Martin: For me, we are based in northern Indiana and Ohio. This is where the supplier base is. It would be really hard to move out of the area. The challenge is to bring more people into the area. You do that by creating a great company that people will want to work at.


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