July '18

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J U LY S P E C I A L S E C T I O N ✪ Bernie Funk, Senior Salesman, Campers Inn RV A ugust 1969, I joined Coachmen as a sales manager for the Southeast territory to work the 46 dealers or so we had. Most deals were done with a handshake, with not a lot of paperwork. Units were simpler without all today's technology. My first show was in Atlanta's Biltmore Hotel, then Louisville in '70 or '71, much smaller than in the recent years. Everyone required to be dressed in suits and ties. Keith and Tom Corson would fly in, dressed in black pinstripe suits, hair slicked back, looking like Wall Street. In 1972, Coachmen had a dealer development program. I went to work with A&H Camper Sales in Decatur, Ga., as a buyer and opened four dealerships for them. In 1973, I started Southeastern Recreational Supply with a few different lines: Thetford, Reese and EZ Lift. Then in 1979, I started Keyline Distributing Co. with six lines. 1980 was the year, Mike Goddard and I designed what I consider to be the first toy hauler for Racing Legend Richard Petty. His team wanted an RV with living space in the front and a garage in the back for the car. This was years before anything like that was available. Today, I am still working in the RV industry, helping Campers Inn get established in Georgia and looking forward to my 50th year on the horizon. Mike Walker, Owner, Conejo Trailer Repair I knew the original owner of Conejo Trailer Repair, and he offered me a job in 1978. I was hired to do pre-delivery inspections on trailers. After six months, the mechanic quit, and I took over his position of trailer repair. In 1985, the owner made an offer for me to buy the business, and after four years the business was paid off. My initial goal was to learn about repairing vacation trailers, which included going to various appliance repair schools. My first trade show was in 1978 when the RVIA held its West Coast trade shows at Dodger Stadium. I was amazed at all the different manufacturers and various floorplans available. The turning point for me came one day I realized that I was not asking my boss for much help fig- uring out problems with appliances and electrical wiring. The day I made my last payment to the owner and realized that I could make it on my own skills and knowl- edge that I accumulated through the years was a proud accomplishment for me. 124 • RV PRO • July 2018 RV PRO: Origins

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