May '16

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66 • RV PRO • MAY 2016 rv-pro.com K ampgrounds of America (KOA) was on top of the world in 2015. It saw increased revenues and a growing list of franchised camping sites. And in December, a leadership change that should only help the business continue that forward momentum: A new chief execu- tive officer, but a familiar face at the helm. Pat Hittmeier, a former forester and a veteran of KOA, was named KOA's top executive in December, following the retire- ment of longtime CEO Jim Rogers. While not a big change – Hittmeier started at the Billings, Mont.-based business back in 1981 and, most recently, served as presi- dent – there's much to be said for a seam- less transition. KOA is the country's largest private outdoor camping system with 485 loca- tions nationwide – 28 of which are com- pany owned – and anywhere between 700 to 800 employees in the field. But while a large majority of its customers are RVers, its future growth hinges on attracting new campers, converting existenting independent campgrounds to its fold and keeping its own sites current with today's differing demands. & Pat Hittmeier with KOA CEO The president and CEO of America's largest private campground system discusses challenges and opportunities ahead for KOA and the intersection of the RV and campground industries. By Liz Engel PHOTOS COURTESY OF KOA KOA President Pat Hittmeier took on the added role of CEO in December. The Billings, Mont.-based business is the country's largest private outdoor camping system with 485 locations nationwide.

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