December '19

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66 • RV PRO • December 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S W ritten in big letters across from the desk of Craig Kirby – the RV Industry Association's newly installed president – is one of the Association's core values: Place our members first. Kirby defines that as being central to RVIA's success, and its spot on the wall serves as a daily reminder. "It's actually the only thing on my wall," says Kirby, laughing. When past RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer resigned earlier this year for an adjacent move as president of the National Marine Manufacturers Associa- tion, Kirby filled in as interim president and quickly set out to show he was ready to step into the new role. With the annual trade show currently on pause and the recent launch of the RV Technical Institute in Elkhart, Ind., Kirby says he is interested in strength- ening the core values of RVIA. Part of those efforts include recently surveying RVIA's board of directors to decide on what in-depth RV shipment data should be collected. Similar to the insight provided by the annual Aftermarket Parts and Accessories Customer Survey, there's a lot of data available to help the industry continue to thrive and help steer away from another inventory correction. It's part of Kirby's plan for the Association to become known as a resource for all members of the industry on multiple levels. Recently, Kirby spoke at length with RV PRO about what it's been like to step into the president's role and to share some of his goals moving forward. His comments have been edited for space considerations and clarity. RV PRO; What was your initial response when Frank Hugelmeyer informed you he would be stepping down from his role as president to take another job? Kirby: I kind of talked about that at Committee Week (in June) – I was quite surprised by the announcement. I saw Frank's lips moving, but I wasn't hearing what he was saying (laughs). It just caught me completely by surprise because he proceeded to tell me that he had taken another job and that I would be the interim president. So, it just got me cold. But then, once the initial shock wore off, I couldn't have been more excited about the opportu- nity. I have to say, the teams are doing a fabulous job, and I'm just really honored to be in this position. RV PRO: At that time, did you see yourself transitioning into the presi- dent's position. Why or why not? Kirby: It's part of our succession The Association's new president shares insights on what it was like stepping into his new role and some of his goals moving forward. By David MacNeal with RVIA's Craig Kirby A Q &

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