RV PRO

June '18

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78 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com W hen Bill Sheffer introduces himself, it can take a while. That's because Sheffer wears a lot of hats as an associations executive. Notably, the Michigan Man- ufactured Housing and RV and Camp- ground Association (MMHRVCA) is the parent organization for the Michigan Association of RVs and Campgrounds (MARVAC) and the Michigan Manu- factured Housing Association (MMHA) and the Self Storage Association of Michigan (SSAM). Sheffer serves as the executive director for all four of them. What's more, MARVAC is one of the more active RV associations, holding six consumer shows a year, actively engaged in legislation, and partnering with the Pure Michigan marketing campaign. To say that Sheffer has a busy schedule is an understatement, but he recently set aside some time to talk to RV PRO. RV PRO: MMHRVCA. MARVAC. MMHA. SSAM. That's a lot of acro- nyms! How are they all connected? Sheffer: We started out in 1941 as the Michigan Trailer Coach Association. Trailer coaches were put into trailer parks when the veterans were coming back from WWII. They didn't have bathroom facilities and they had what was called a dry sink. My parents, my mother's par- ents and her grandparents had one of these trailer parks in Flint, Mich. When my mom and dad got married, they lived in that park. In the late '50s and early '60s, the industry started separating itself. They started building units called mobile homes and recreational vehicles, called trailers or campers. Most of those plants were building both in the same plant. Over the years, we were tweaking the names of the association. We became two divisions. One is MARVAC in the RVIA seat. And the other is the MMHA. And over that we have a parent association – the MMHRVCA. Almost 10 years ago, we had a group of self-storage owners who came to us and said that they needed an association. We said we could do that, so we formed the Self Storage Association of Michigan (SSAM) and I'm the executive director over that, too. RV PRO: Do you ever feel like you are pulled in different directions because you are attempting to represent so many different groups? Sheffer: Absolutely! Every day, I have to make decisions about what I need to do and where I need to go. I've already been to two meetings today. I have a planner opened up on my desk. Every day in March – even Saturday and Sunday – are taken up because of the shows. April is all about board meet- ings. Next week, I have MARVAC on Tuesday and MMHA and the executive board meeting on Wednesday. Then the Self Storage Association is having their chapter meeting in Grand Rapids and a board meeting while we're there. For over 40 years, I've attended the Louisville show every November, plus several RVIA meetings throughout the year. The manufactured housing industry has four or five meetings a year. And now self-storage. I've got a couple of meetings a year for them. I have to schedule myself to go to all these meetings and not have a conflict with any one of them. At meetings, we The executive director of Michigan's RV and campgrounds association talks tourism, RV shows and the challenges and rewards of representing multiple groups. By Terri Blazell-Wayson B U S I N E S S Bill Sheffer Q & A with MARVAC's PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARVAC

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