RV PRO

July '19

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W ithout the RV industry, Paul and Lori Tustin may never have met. The couple, now working for Meyer Distributing, has been married 35 years, since that fateful meeting when Paul was a branch manager at the Coachlite facility in Atlanta and Lori was working in sales at the Elkhart, Ind., office. Paul now is regional sales manager and Lori is an inside sales rep. During all that time, they have only worked for Coachlite, which was bought by Coast in 1985, and Meyer after Coast was bought by NTP-STAG. "During this time we have made many friends with dealers, vendors and co-workers," Paul says. "We have been very fortunate to share the experience together. This has allowed us to share our knowledge over the years, which has enhanced our ability to service our customers." In addition to their regular workdays, the Tustins have been able to travel together for RV industry shows. Despite the cyclical nature of the RV industry, the couple has been fortunate to have never been laid off or lose their jobs. During their time with Coast, Paul was general manager of the Elkhart distribution center, leading a team that included Lori and other inside sales people. During the company's restructuring, he became outside regional sales manager for the eastern half of the U.S. Now with Meyer, the Tustins work toward meeting a new set of expecta- tions and helping the company grow its share in the RV segment. "Looking back at our careers, we feel we have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with talented and dedicated RV industry professionals and are looking forward to what the future holds for us," Paul says. "W hen we look at the Millennial generation – people that are buying into the RV industry – it is just so exciting for the future. If we don't screw it up," says Randy Biles, laughing. "And so far, it looks like we're getting better at what we do." As a past chairman of the RV Dealers Association, Randy knows what he's talking about, especially with the decades of experience as a second-generation dealership president. Tucked along the Front Range in Colorado Springs is Pikes Peak Traveland – a dealership owned by the Biles family for 37 years. "I'm quite excited about the industry, the opportunity that we see because I've been at it so long," he says. "History doesn't change; and we see that people that get into the RV industry as consumers tend not to get out until health or old age forces them out." Randy works with his son, Tim, and daughter-in-law. But it wasn't always smooth sailing. When Tim initially started out, he would sometimes talk back to his employers/parents – a tricky situation. "I said to my wife, 'Would you put up with that with one of the other employees?' She said, 'No.' I said, 'What would you do?' She says, 'I'd fire him.' I said, 'Well, then you just need to lay it on him,'" he laughs. But today, Tim is primed to buy the dealership from Randy in the next year or so. Printed on Randy's business card are two different titles: "President/Retired." It's his comedic way of hindsight, as well as the fact that it's hard to walk away from something so deeply a part of your life. Plenty of his past merits speak towards the difficult decision to leave. For one, Pikes Peak Traveland was one of the first dealerships to make accessibility conversions to RVs. In the late 1980s, a family came in with a child that was confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy. As part of a settlement with the hospital, the family was authorized to buy a converted van. "Those are horrendously expensive," says Randy. So Pikes Peak suggested a Midas Class C (owned by Coachmen RV at the time) that would be converted. The operation involved outfitting it with tie-downs for the wheelchair and a large door with a ramp over the lift and metal braces along the unit to reinforce the wall. "We did a few of those and it worked out," he says. "We saw that people needed held, and that's just what we did." RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY July 2019 • RV PRO • 43 MEYER DISTRIBUTING PAUL AND LORI TUSTIN PIKES PEAK TRAVELAND THE BILES FAMILY

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