The RV Technical Institute provides a comprehensive technician training program in the RV industry, complete with certification and a career path. Developed by a team of industry experts, the hands-on and competency-based program aims to prepare technicians for a successful career in the RV world.
To meet the increasing demand for service technicians, the RV Technical Institute has welcomed Tyson Watkins, as a new technical trainer. With his extensive background in the RV industry, Watkins is poised to make a significant impact on the training program.
According to a News & Insights report of the RV Industry Association (RVIA), Watkins’s experience in the industry dates back to his childhood.
“I started working on RVs when I was 11 in 1991,” he explained. “My grandfather had an RV repair business that he ran for Champion Homes. He would take their warranty units and repair them at his home. I would go to my grandfather’s house and work with him, and he taught me how to take them apart because at first, that’s what I was interested in. It progressed into making repairs as well.”
Over the years, Tyson pursued various trades that would enhance his skills in the RV industry, leading to positions with companies such as Heartland RV, THOR Motor Coach, and Keystone RV.
Beyond his technical expertise, he gained experience in customer service and pre-delivery inspections. “I’ve worked on everything from chassis to final finish, audits, and warranty repair. I’ve also worked on motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-ups, and campervans.”
Watkins’s passion for the RV industry is rooted in his family’s involvement. “My entire family works in the RV industry,” he said. “My mom works in codes and standards, my dad builds RV doors, [and] my sister and brothers manufacture RVs.”
As a father, he said his children have also been raised off the industry. He also added, “I live in Elkhart, the RV Capital of the World, and I’ve grown up here since I was little. Everything I do is attributed to the RV industry.”
In his new role, Tyson develops and sets up labs for students, oversees their progress, and helps inform the RV Industry Association members about the institute’s work.
“I’m trying to help get the word out so everyone can see what we’re doing,” he explained. “That includes vendors—it’s helpful for them to see what we’re doing with the items they’re donating,” referring to Cummins’ recent donation of a fifth-wheel trailer for RV Technical Institute students.
Watkins is enthusiastic about his new position and the future of the RV Technical Institute. He appreciates the opportunity to contribute his expertise to the next generation of RV technicians while advancing his own career in the industry.
The broader implications of Tyson’s addition to the team extend beyond the institute and the RV industry. As more people turn to RVs as an alternative form of travel and accommodation, the need for skilled technicians to maintain and repair these vehicles becomes increasingly important. His expertise, as well as that of other RV technicians, will help ensure that RV owners receive top-quality service, ultimately contributing to the overall appeal and success of the RV lifestyle.