November '18

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rv-pro.com November 2018 • RV PRO • 113 "Overall, I see opportunities to help them and for them to help us," he said. This included the advances used in how units are constructed, as well as the operational efficiency the company thrives on. "We like strong companies with strong management that can continue to run (the company) – and we will be involved, but it's really an oversight to help them grow the business," Martin told RV PRO. He said he's regularly been going to Europe for years, attending the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, where many innovations are on display. Thor Industries had spoken with many companies, but EHG, as a market leader with quality product, made the most sense to acquire, according to Martin. "Serious discussions (about the acquisition) began in January at the Tampa show," he said. He then flew back and forth to Germany about six times until a bid was in. The acquisition is slated to be finalized by year's end, and with it comes a network of 1,200 dealerships in Europe and a team of 7,300 people employed globally. Thor said it has no plans for reducing the workforce at either Hymer or Thor Industry companies. "Thor Industries and the EHG are cut from the same cloth and, in their philosophy, still bear the stamp of their founders," said Christian Hymer, member of the EHG advisory board. "An entrepreneurial mindset, a spirit of innovation and quality lead- ership are top priorities for both groups." RVTI Seeks to Make Tech Education Matter "Education is not fancy; it's not sizzling," Sharonne Lee, director of education for the RV Industry Association, says mater-of-factly. "It's always kind of been on the backend, and usually not the most funded piece. So, we've been working on it for years with a small staff and very small budget." Lee has been with RVIA for 30 years come April, and for much of that time, she's worked in education. Some 20 years ago, the Association had a network of schools. The National RV Technical Institute was comprised of 12 com- munity colleges where students interested in the field could join a two-year course to become a RV technician. However, those schools gradually lost support from local dealer networks. Recognizing that something needed to be done, in June the RVIA Board approved the launch of the RV Technical Institute (RVTI) – an education hub for RV techs across the U.S. that will potentially open toward the end of 2019.

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