April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 63 RV PRO: What are your near- and mid- term priorities/goals for Skyline? Emahiser: One of the things we're working on is developing product teams at Bristol and Elkhart so we as a team can go from good to great at the divisional level, because it didn't exist before. We want to get the creativity in the hands of the people on the front lines. In the short term, my goal is to stabilize and sell the vision: What is a Skyline tow- able, how it is different from other RVs, and what makes it special? We want to tell the story why we're the best choice to partner with for dealers. en see how it all fits in the story. Everything we do is indicative of the brand and identity we're establishing. Having a story and a vision is more critical than ever. ere are a lot of RVs out there. You have to make your product stand out and attract people. RV PRO: Where is Skyline today in terms of its product offerings? And where do you want it to be? Emahiser: Skyline has carved out a niche for smaller, lightweight, eco-friendly sort of products. We do well in that market. e problem is it's hard to make a meal out of 'appetizers.' People associate Skyline with stick-and-tin and destination trailers. We need to do better. is is probably the segment we missed out on the most over the past few years. It's an area we believe we can compete in. Travel trailers – both entry level and luxury – are on the radar. e Nomad and Layton have been around a long time. ey should be industry leaders. We're going to work hard to get them in that position. Nomad was the first brand, the flagship. Looking at some of the leading brands, Nomad isn't close, but it needs to be. Product development is something I enjoy doing. We have some great ideas of what we can do in the market and at spe- cific price points. I think we'll have some fun with it. RV PRO: You built Thor's Redwood luxury fifth wheel division from the ground up, and before that you were that top exec at Carriage. So, is creating a luxury fifth wheel for Skyline going to be a top priority? Emahiser: To be successful as an RV manufacturer anymore, you need a well-rounded offering and that includes fifth wheels. RV PRO: What tweaks, if any, are you making on new product? Emahiser: Skyline did some decent tweaking for the Elkhart County Open House and for Louisville. Some of our brands have good bones. We need to think through the features. Does the kitchen (floorplan) work? How did the bedroom work? What did they not like? inking through how the consumer uses it drives our process. There will be tweaks. It takes a while to test and refine. at's how we will gain an advantage, by putting out better product. 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. Emahiser (right) is pictured with other members of the Skyline team: Brad Whitehead, Mike Worden, Bill Hostetler, Mike Stratton and Justin Ledyard. RVPApr.indd 63 3/20/14 2:21 PM

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