RV PRO

February '18

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22 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com 22 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com Joe Bullyan Vice President, Bullyan RV Joe Bullyan knows that technology plays a vital role in the success of any business. For this reason, he's spent the past 14 years working to integrate technology into the family-owned and -operated dealership, Duluth, Minn.-based Bullyan RV. Bullyan says his background in computer science spurred his desire to make the company's operations as smooth and seamless as possible. One of the ways in which he's done this has been through the utilization of the Integrated Dealer Systems' dealer management system. He says the dealership was one of the first to adopt and utilize IDS' mobile App. Bullyan RV worked with IDS to provide feedback as the dealership used it, essentially beta testing it. "There were some bumps and learning curves along the way, but now today it works pretty flawlessly with very minimal issues," he says. Bullyan RV utilizes the management system across all of its departments – from accounting to parts to sales. One of the benefits, he says, has been that a smoother process for techs working in the service department. Techs are able to clock in and out of jobs successfully, and take and upload photos of warranty claims – all of which can be used to email issues and makes it easier for techs to get online and research a problem through search engines like Google or via sites like YouTube. "Our techs really do enjoy it, especially the younger ones that are used to technology and tablets and stuff," he says. "We've really embraced technology as a dealership." Bullyan says he puts a lot of emphasis on employees, and feels they are one of the strongest assets for the dealership. "That's why we give them the freedom to try things on their own and learn through experimentation because without failure you're not going to lead to success," he says. As such, when employees have ideas about ways to help grow and improve the business, he's ready to let them execute their idea. One idea that stands out to him was supporting the desire of one member of the sales teams to do YouTube videos. Over the past two or three years, Bullyan says, this employee has gained millions of viewers. The unedited, candid videos are less than 10 minutes long and highlight key topics of a particular unit – inside and outside. "It's pretty neat," Bullyan says. "You'll get people come in and want to talk to him. He's never met them before but they've watched his videos and feel a connection with him. This time last year, a little kid came in and wanted his autograph because he loved watching his videos." Bullyan currently serves as vice president of Bullyan RV. As such, he wears many hats, which include working with the sales department and the parts and service director as well as managing advertising for the dealership. His start in the RV industry came while he was in high school. One of his first roles was to wash campers and work in the parts department. His love for technology was fostered after he finished high school. He went to a vocational tech college and studied computer science, while still working at the dealership, where he managed the parts department. Upon graduation from tech college, he moved to Minneapolis to work in the IT sector for two years. "I tried that and just missed the RV industry and working for the family business," says Bullyan, who worked his way up to become vice president of the dealership. "I moved back and have been here ever since." Throughout his career, Bullyan says his greatest mentors have been his father and his grandfather. And although he has brought in some of his own ways to run the business, he says, he still tries to stay true to their overall vision of how to run the business. "My dad's been here for 30-something years and grown the business as he's worked his way through," he says. "And my grandfather started the business right out of high school and has done very well over the years." Bullyan RV was initially started by Bullyan's grandfather as a used car dealership. Bullyan says his grandfather stumbled across a travel trailer plant and bought one to sell on his lot. His grandfather sold the travel trailer, went back for more, and sold those. Before long, Bullyan says, his grandfather switched entirely to retailing RVs. Today, the dealership's facilities occupy more than 48,000 square feet and it employs 41 people. Future plans are to hire an additional 10 employees by the spring of this year. As for his 40 Under 40 recognition from RVIA, Bullyan, age 37, says he's honored. "It makes you feel good that people acknowledge some of the things that you do throughout your career and some of the ideas that you've put in place and that maybe you're going in the right direction," he says. LEADERSHIP

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