July '18

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Chris Bornemann, Senior Manager of Government Affairs, RVIA A fter my nonprofit job working with at-risk and disadvantaged youth was dissolved because of the "Great Recession," I jumped at the opportunity the RV Industry Association presented me. During this time, I learned the ins- and-outs of the association and the RV industry. I realized I had a great interest in the industry and a greater appreciation for the amazing people within it and began to aspire to do more for the RV Industry Association's members. Over the course of the next few years, I developed a fiery passion for government relations work. I applied for a position within the Government Affairs Department as the "legislative affairs manager." After a few years of successfully managing the RVIA's legislative portfolio, I was promoted to "senior manager, government affairs." I am honored to have the opportunity to promote and protect the industry's interests on Capitol Hill. I have had the honor to organize educational displays on Capitol Hill to help raise the profile of the growing RV industry within Congress and the administration. It's always fun to hear Capitol Hill staff say, "Wow, this RV is nicer than my D.C. apartment!" I am now responsible for managing many aspects of the newly revamped federal affairs program, tasked with engaging Congress, the House and Senate RV Caucuses, the Administration and allied trade associations on issues important to the RV industry. With the support of my amazing colleagues, I lobbied and led activities which resulted in the passage of important pieces of legislation. Over the past two years, I've had the honor of collaborating with RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer and leaders from the largest outdoor recreation associations to form the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). Tasked with promoting and protecting the growing outdoor recreation economy, ORR is recognized as a major influencer. I am proud to serve alongside talented individuals as vice-chair for the ORR Government Relations Committee. Sarah Neely, Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing, RV Industry Association M y experience began in the finance field and moved to architecture, engineering, occupational safety and health before I found my way here. When I became acquainted with the RV industry's story, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. The climbing shipment numbers, exciting advocacy work, impactful coalitions and the research studies on economic impact and future RV consumers appealed to me. I remember thinking: This is a place where my work could really make an impact. The opportunity to be a part of the rebranding and digital transformation teams within the association was too exciting to pass up. I really wanted to improve the digital infrastructure for our members and make the user experience friendlier for them. A year ago, it wasn't easy for members to find information on our website, our policy stances weren't easy to find, standards information was buried, making seal purchases online didn't exist and an outsider would not connect the dots that Go RVing, Technicians in Training, RVs Move America, the California RV Show and the National RV Show were all RVIA programs. I wanted to make our communication and distribution strategy more effective. The launch of our new website and association management system gives our team the tools needed to build better relationships with our members, communicate our programs more effectively as well as their impacts, target policy-makers with tailored messaging, streamline the event registration process and create a better experience overall. Joining the association world showed me that my job satisfaction is tied to the ability to make a difference. But, it wasn't until I got into the RV industry that I found a place to both make a difference and have a lot of fun doing it. RV PRO: Origins July 2018 • RV PRO • 121

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