May '17

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38 • RV PRO • May 2017 rv-pro.com I f the name Gary Bunzer isn't quite familiar, then his moniker the "RV Doctor" certainly is. Bunzer has been writing his RV Doctor column for more than 40 years, some 25 of those years under the Family Motor Coach Associ- ation (FMCA) banner. He is a familiar speaker at RV shows and rallies, the author of the popular book Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook as well as several technical textbooks, a videographer, a consultant, an educator and a pioneer in RV tech training. In recognition for his long and devoted service to the industry, Bunzer was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in August 2016. Bunzer maintains an active schedule as an industry speaker and an advocate, but he recently took time to speak exclu- sively with RV PRO to reflect on his time in the RV industry. His answers here have been edited for clarity, con- tent and space. RV PRO: How did you get your start in the industry some 40 years ago? Bunzer: I owe it all to my dad. He was not only a great example of hard work and integrity, he was my mentor. I grew up in Florida. My dad had a mobile home repair service that he grew into a manufacturing plant for cus- tom-built mobile homes. Dad made me work in all the different departments so I would learn the trade inside and out, especially the service department. I joined the Navy during the Vietnam era. Even when I got out, I went back to work with my dad. Every once in a while, someone would bring an RV in for repair. I learned all about what made them unique, such as their propane sys- tems, generators, refrigerators, etc., and I learned how to repair them. In the '70s, I moved to San Diego and worked as a technician for a shop that serviced both mobile homes and RVs. From there I went to work for a full-time RV dealership. We were paid by the job, not the hour, and I learned to work fast and get the job done very efficiently. In the '80s, a San Diego nonprofit approached me to teach at a new school to train RV technicians. It caught the RV industry's attention. They needed something like this. It was written up in trade magazines. We received federal funding for non- profits to open two more schools: one in Los Angeles, Calif., and the other in Corona, Calif. I stopped teaching and became an administrator for the pro- gram. I developed textbooks, the curric- ulum and even training videos. I also started a 'train the trainer' pro- gram. Since it was federally funded, it was set up to get former drug addicts and convicts back on their feet. I didn't know their pasts, though. They were there to learn and I was there to teach. We turned some of them around and some are still in the industry today. It was a good feeling. The schools are no longer in business, though the online course we developed for Northampton Community College is still going strong. RV PRO: You are most widely known as the RV Doctor? How did you end up with that moniker? Bunzer: My dad retired from his mobile home business and started Q&A with Gary Bunzer The "RV Doctor" reflects on his 40-plus years in the industry, spanning his time as a technician, an educator, a consultant, an author and a popular speaker at consumer and trade events. By Terri Blazell-Wayson A F T E R M A R K E T Despite his 40 years in the RV industry, Bunzer has no plans to retire anytime soon. He still enjoys learning about new RV products and sharing his expertise with others.

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