RV PRO

April '19

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rv-pro.com April 2019 • RV PRO • 11 Michael R. Terlep: 'Coachmen College' Student Now Helms Division After graduating from Purdue University, Mike Terlep started at Coachmen RV on May 15, 1984, with the intent of making some money to help finance going to law school. However, fate intervened and he stuck with Coachmen. He rose through the ranks, from sales coordinator to district sales manager to assistant vice president of sales to vice president of sales to vice president of sales and product development to general manager to president of Coachmen RV and ultimately to president of Coachmen RV Group. Now 57, Terlep's nearly 35-year tenure at Coachmen sur- passes that of his former mentor, co-founder Tom Corson. "Tom was a natural, extraordinary leader. People wanted to follow Tom," Terlep says approvingly. "Coachmen was the leader in the industry and attracted talent, provided a great training ground, provided opportuni- ties as the company was thriving and growing, and yes, it did have a thorough vetting process … but you still had to get the right people through the door for the vetting process to work," Terlep says. Those right people included Lawton Tinley, who was a pur- chasing manager, district sales manager and then general man- ager for Coachmen, who now runs all Forest River Cargo divi- sions (the largest cargo trailer manufacturer in North America); Bob Wasieko, who once worked with Lee Iacocca at Ford and later became president of Coachmen for a time; Gregg Fore, who went on to found Dicor Corp. and to serve as RVIA pres- ident; and others who are currently general managers in the RV industry, including Mike Bear, Doug Lantz, Troy Schultz and Tom Kaylor (now retired). Terlep's tenure also overlapped that of Pete Liegl. Liegl, who declined an interview for this story, held a number of key positions during his 11-year career with Coachmen, the last as president of Shasta RV. Former Coachmen President Ray Johnson viewed Liegl as Michael R. Terlep (left) speaks at the retirement party for his mentor, Thomas H. Corson, one of the three brothers who founded Coachmen Industries in 1964. In addition to being one of the leading RV manufacturers of its day, Coachmen was an incubator for many future RV industry leaders, including Terlep. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL R. TERLEP

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