April '18

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18 • RV PRO • April 2018 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S A rare few RV manufacturers are left in California today. At one point, says Lance Camper President Jack Cole, about 50 or so RV makers began to pop up in the Golden State in the 1940s. As other companies ebbed and flowed over half a century, Lancaster, Calif.-based Lance Camper maintained a steady course, evolving into a 225,000-square-foot facility. The manufacturer has spent the past three years preparing for an acquisition to secure a foothold in the future of the industry. REV Group happily answered, acquiring Lance last January. Cole and Vice President Jeff Souleles have worked at Lance for nearly 53 years, and they sought a partner who shared their enthusiasm and dedication to quality products that generate about $110 million annually and employ 550 people. Cole got his start at age 17 when the company was founded in North Hollywood in 1965, working as a "gofer" (i.e., sweeping, sanding doors and pulling weeds). Over time, Cole worked his way up and eventually purchased Lance from the original founders, Richard Murray and Ronald Merte. The company's reputation has steadily grown. Starting with truck campers, Lance has expanded into travel trailers and then toy haulers. The company's products have won the RV Dealer Association's Quality Circle Award 16 times. "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jack, Jeff, and the entire Lance Camper team into the REV family," REV Group CEO Tim Sullivan said when the purchase was announced. "This acquisition is well-aligned across all of our acquisition criteria. Lance Camper adds one of the highest-quality towable lines in the U.S. and pro- vides a significant new avenue of growth in our RV segment." Lance currently has no plans to relocate from its Lancaster home. In fact, expansion plans are already in the works. Recently, RV PRO spoke with Cole about his early days at Lance Camper, the decision to sell to REV Group, and what the future may hold for him and for Lance. His answers were edited for clarity and space. Q & A with Lance Camper's Jack Cole Lance Camper's president talks about the decision to sell to REV Group and offers his thoughts on what the future holds for the California- based maker of truck campers, travel trailers and toy haulers. By David MacNeal PHOTOS COURTESY OF LANCE CAMPER Lance Camper President Jack Cole (right) and REV Group CEO Tim Sullivan tour Lance's production floor in Lancaster, Calif. Cole says he believes his company's acquisition by REV Group positions Lance for good growth moving forward.

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