February '21

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62 • RV PRO • February 2021 rv-pro.com T erry Cooper, president and managing director of the National RV Training Academy, is keen on a certain local slogan in his part of the Lone Star state: "All roads lead to Athens" (Texas). For Cooper, that road has been long and windy and the destination, uncertain. "I've had cars, I've had boats, I've had houses – and, man, that is so empty," he says of owning possessions for their own sake. His journey has spanned from managing a Marriott hotel to becoming a master certified RV technician to teaching technicians in a vocational college to traveling the U.S. and teaching technicians while on the road. Cooper had plenty of life experiences before launching the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA) at the Big Red School House and Community Center in Athens, Texas. What differentiates NRVTA from the RV Technical Institute in Elkhart, Ind., is the type of certification. Cooper says that NRVTA follows the curriculum used in the past by the RV Industry Association and the NFPA 1192 – a list of codes and standards for RV safety and inspection. While several levels of certification are obtainable, techs wishing to achieve RVIA certification are required to take that specific test. Built in 2018, Cooper's NRVTA tech-training hub has become one of the most important things in his life. The 15,000-square-foot learning center includes with NRVTA's Terry Cooper Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the National RV Training Academy's big red schoolhouse continues to thrive and deliver much-needed technician training. By David MacNeal RV I N S I G H T Q & A Photos courtesy of NRVTA Terry Cooper realized his longstanding dream in 2018 of having a large training facility, the Big Red School House in Athens, Texas, where he could provide instruction for people who want to get jobs fixing RVs. Cooper hopes his facility can help address a critical shortage of technicians in the industry.

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