The RV industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving sector, and one of the key figures who has made a significant impact in this field is Jeff Rutherford.
His tenure as the Chair of the Board of the RV Industry Association (RVIA) was marked by numerous accomplishments and milestones that have shaped the industry’s trajectory. His leadership was celebrated during the RVs Move America Week, where the Chairman’s Dinner was held in his honor.
Under Rutherford’s watch, the RV market saw its greatest expansion in 2021 with more than 600,200 units shipped. Even though the market cooled off a bit in 2022, with 493,000 units shipped, it was still the third-best year ever. This period saw almost 1.1 million RVs shipped, marking two of the three best years on record.
Rutherford’s tenure was not just about numbers, but also about strategic initiatives and industry development. The RVIA was re-accredited by the American National Standards Institute, maintaining one of the top membership benefits of being a self-regulated industry.
The Emerging Leaders Coalition was launched to cultivate future leaders across the RV and campground industry and boost their involvement in the Association. Powerful, insightful research was released, including the RV Owner Demographic Profile, the first-ever Campground Market Analysis, and an updated RVs Move America Economic Impact Study.
Under Rutherford’s guidance and leadership, significant advocacy successes were achieved. These include the removal of RVs from Louisiana’s Redhibition Law, a top legislative priority for the organization for many years, as per the News & Insights report of the RVIA.
The federal government also invested substantially to improve outdoor recreation opportunities and infrastructure, including campgrounds and roads, through the Great American Outdoors Act and other stimulus and appropriations bills.
Rutherford’s leadership also saw a surge in interest in RV travel and camping, with new, first-time buyers flocking to the market. This was fueled by Go RVing’s national advertising campaign and public relations efforts.
Live events such as the RV Aftermarket Conference, the Leadership Conference, and RVs Move America Week were also hosted during this period.
The Kevin Phillips Scholarship was established to provide funding to cover the cost of RV technician training at the RV Technical Institute. This initiative was very important to Rutherford as it honored his dear friend. Rutherford’s wife, Deb, was also recognized for her support during his tenure as Chair.
Rutherford’s impact on the RV industry is not just about the numbers and initiatives, but also about the relationships he built and the leadership he demonstrated. His tenure as Chair was marked by stability and growth, and his contributions have left a lasting impact on the industry.
Jeff Rutherford’s tenure as Chair of the RV Industry Association was marked by significant growth, strategic initiatives, and industry development. His leadership has left a lasting impact on the RV industry, shaping its trajectory and contributing to its success.
Featured image from RV Industry Association.