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April '14

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62 • RV PRo • April 2014 rv-pro.com rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 63 I n early January, Elkhart, Ind.-based Skyline Corp. announced it had hired Don Emahiser to head its RV Group. It was a coup for Skyline, landing the industry veteran who had served as the president of Crossroads RV and Red- wood RV as well as Carriage RV before joining Skyline. e hire seemed to be a perfect fit, both for Emahiser, who is known for his product development skills – especially in the high- line fifth wheel segment – and for Skyline, which said he will focus on product devel- opment, marketing and sales, along with production and engineering. Emahiser entered the RV business in 1998, building fold-down camping trailers at or Industries's Aerolite division in Syr- acuse, Ind. He later joined Starcraft RV as vice president of sales and marketing. He subsequently served as the president of Carriage, but left when the bank closed down the highly leveraged manufacturer of highline fifth wheels. When Ron Fenech, then with or, asked Emahiser in June 2010 to start up a new, high-end fifth wheel company, Emahiser started Redwood RV. Management of Crossroads RV was later added to his duties. "It was a good run. I enjoyed my time at or. ey were very good to me," Ema- hiser recalls. Once again, Emahiser has his work cut out for him. Skyline has been building RVs since 1960 – longer than almost all of its compet- itors – but has sustained RV sales declines the past several years and has not been prof- itable – even while the RV industry overall has enjoyed a growth spurt. Emahiser recently spoke at length with RV PRO, talking about where Skyline's RV Group is today and where he hopes to lead it in the years to come. RV PRO: What is a typical day like for you at your new job? Emahiser: I'm spending my time between our two plants in Bristol and Elkhart. For the first 30 days, I'm just get- ting to understand some of the great things they do here and some of the practices that are antiquated. I'm not going to come in and throw everything out, because there are a lot of good things going on here. e real magic happens when we can blend what Skyline has done great for 63 years with what the industry does well. e plants are 15 minutes apart. I tell people my office is in my car. RV PRO: e news release announcing your hiring said you "will focus on product development, marketing and sales along with production and engi- neering." Can you provide some personal targets or goals? Emahiser: In our business we're con- cerned with what we're putting out the door and how it is received at the dealer and retail level. at is an area where Sky- line has lagged in adjusting their product to the consumer of 2014 and 2015. at is an area where we will focus on. Sky- line still builds RVs better than anything I have seen. Skyline RV's Don Emahiser with Q & A The new president of the Elkhart, Ind.- based RV manufacturer shares insights on his priorities for the company moving forward, including product development and changing perceptions when it comes to how the company is viewed by dealers. By Steve Bibler Skyline RV President Don Emahiser stands in front of one of the RV manufacturer's Eco Camp models. Emahiser is looking to update Skyline's inventory moving forward to make it resonate with today's RVers. RVPApr.indd 62 3/19/14 3:26 PM

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