January '21

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12 • RV PRO • January 2021 rv-pro.com RV D E A L E R S T he 2020 Virtual RV Dealers Asso- ciation Convention/ Expo looked different than previous shows, but still managed to deliver many of the same elements as past in-person events. Typically held every year at a large hotel in Las Vegas, the November show was changed to an online-only format as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual event, which is presented by RVDA, RVDA of Canada, and the Mike Molino RV Learning Center, drew about 1,000 dealers, according to RVDA. Highlights of the RVDA convention included the annual meeting, where a new chairman was installed and awards were presented, as well as a variety of inspira- tional and educational seminars for deal- ership personnel. Read on for highlights on the virtual show. Andro Installed as New Chairman During Annual Meeting Meeting via Zoom rather than in a posh ballroom at a Las Vegas casino, Chris Andro with Hemlock Hill RV in South- ington, Conn., was installed as the RVDA board chairman for 2021 during the asso- ciation's annual meeting, held online Nov. 19. Andro accepted the virtual gavel from outgoing Chairman Ron Shepherd. "If you don't know Chris, you'll soon learn that he's passionate at whatever he sets his mind to," Shepherd told the attendees. "As convention chairman, he took our event to another level. My guess is he'll use his year as your chairman to do the same for our association." The installation of new officers nor- mally takes place during the RVDA's annual convention/expo. However, virtu- ally nothing about 2020 has been normal, and this year's con/expo became an all-on- line affair stretched out into two weeks. "Mid-summer it became apparent we could not have our convention face-to- face in Vegas," Shepherd said in his out- going remarks as chairman. "Canceling the convention was not an easy decision for your board. Our normal convention was in the final stages of completion, and we had delayed registration as long as we could, hoping and praying for the pan- demic to settle down, but as we know, it didn't. "So, the decision was made to go vir- tual. Stress level at RVDA had to rise as Phil (Ingrassia, RVDA president) told them to transition to virtual and modify as needed. I never heard a negative word – they, simply put, got 'er done." After expressing sympathy for the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and their families and friends, Shepherd talked about some of the highlights and ongoing challenges that RVDA and the industry overall have faced in his tenure as chairman. Supply chain issues remain a stubborn hurdle, he said, but if that can be mitigated then 2021 should be another banner year for dealers. Repair Event Cycle Times (RECT) also continues to be a challenge, but the industry is fighting it on many fronts, Shepherd said, including an ongoing RECT task force that both the RVDA and RVIA are participating in; the RV Technical Institute's training programs The online-only event showcased some of the best elements of the annual in-person show, including powerful seminar speakers and an annual meeting that helped set the agenda for the association for the year ahead. By Tony Kindelspire and Michael Clark RVDA Virtual Con/Expo Delivers Due to COVID-19, the 2020 RV Dealers Convention was an entirely online, virtual event.

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