May '19

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76 • RV PRO • May 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S W hen the RV Industry Association set out to hire the first executive director of its newly created RV Technical Institute, there were a number of qual- ifications that were important for the ideal candidate. But it was probably a bit of a "hope against hope" scenario that such a candidate would perfectly fit the mold of someone with experience as a technician, an educator and an administrator all wrapped into one. Then Curt Hemmeler stepped onto the scene. He's a native of Ohio, so not too far from Elkhart, Ind. He's also an Air Force veteran who served as a mechanic, so check off two more boxes of groups favored by the RV industry. And he's experienced in administration and education at DeVry University and WyoTech with experience in the auto, diesel, marine and motorcycle industries. Big check mark. Hemmeler was selected to lead RVTI shortly before Christmas and has spent the past few months getting to know his way around the RV industry, looking for a per- manent campus site in Elkhart for the RVTI hub and getting the curriculum in place that will direct the future of certified technicians in the RV industry. In the middle of all of that, he took time to try to get both manufacturers and dealers alike fired up for a transforming education experience that will help the industry reduce Repair Event Cycle Time and move the industry toward a 21st Century that will more closely resemble the automotive industry, where it is assumed by customers that all technicians are certified. Recently, Hemmeler spoke at length with RV PRO about his goals and plans moving forward. His responses have been edited for space and clarity. The RV Technical Institute's first executive director discusses his plans to get the tech training program up and running AND outlines his hopes for addressing the RV technician shortage. By Travis O. Pryor Q & A with RVTI's Curt Hemmeler RV PRO: If you would, talk a bit about your professional background and what led you up to this point in your career. Curt Hemmeler: I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, a graduate of the Ohio State University. I'm mar- ried with two stepchildren, both adults. After I graduated Ohio State, I joined the military and actually was in the Air Force for a few years as a mechanic and then transitioned over to the Ohio Air National Guard to finish out my enlist- ment as a logistics officer. I had a total of 12 years of service and then moved in to the for-profit trade and career focused space of education. I started off as an admissions rep- resentative with DeVry University and fell in love with the education piece of helping people, and specifically in career and vocational training, so that's where I have spent almost the past 25 years advancing from an admissions rep through carrying many different titles PHOTOS BY STEVE TOEPP/ MIDWEST PHOTOGRAPHICS

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