June '18

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80 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com introduce ourselves and who we repre- sent and some of my colleagues just look at me and say, 'How do you do that?' But I've been doing it for 23 years and I'm used to it. Prioritizing, that's what it's all about. RV PRO: How did you get intro- duced to the RV industry? Sheffer: I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. I thought I was going to be the next JW Mar- riott, but that didn't work out too well (laughs). I worked in the restaurant field for about three years. Then I married into a family who owned a supply business. They were a regional distributor to the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industry based in Flint, Mich. They also owned two retail stores in Grand Rapids and Traverse City. I worked for that family business for 18 years. I was part of the management team. I learned the industry and met a lot of people: suppliers, dealers in both manufactured housing and the RV field. In the late '80s, I was elected to serve on the board of directors for MARVAC. I served on that board for four years and I also served on the executive board, which is made up of three members from each of the divisional boards. The exec- utive board has the fiscal responsibility for the association. They're the ones that make the decisions on budgets, salaries, spending and so forth. Tim DeWitt was the executive director for MARVAC when I was on the board in the late '80s, then he hired me in 1995. He was my mentor. I knew a lot about the industry and I knew a lot of people from my board experience, or they were former cus- tomers. That's what made it so easy to come into this job. The part that took me awhile was the association part. I've learned so much about what needs to be done to be a successful association from Tim: Creating the rules and regulations, working with boards and budgets. All of that took a little time. Once I learned that, I felt pretty comfortable. Tim gave me a lot of reins with regard to how I budgeted shows and how I managed shows. He was always there if I needed him, but he let me do my thing and it turned out pretty good. RV PRO: How many members does MARVAC have and who would you say MARVAC represents the most? Sheffer: That's interesting that you should ask that question. We have 270 members. There are slightly more campgrounds than dealers right now. We've had some consolidation among dealers, as some were bought out. We have about 110 campgrounds who are members. We only represent about 10 percent of the campgrounds in Michigan. We have a nine-person board. There is one manufacturer represented, two dealers, two campgrounds and four at-large positions, which are typically filled by financial institutions and sup- pliers. We won't have two people from the same company on the board. It makes for a pretty diverse group and all viewpoints are represented. RV PRO: What are some of things that sets MARVAC apart from other RV dealer associations? Sheffer: We've built our association on our ability to market to the consumer on behalf of our members. We do that through the RV shows. About 50 years ago, we started out with a show in the greater Detroit area in B U S I N E S S Sheffer promotes RVing and camping during a TV interview with a Michigan television station. He wears multiple hats in his role as executive director for the Michigan Association of RVs and Campgrounds (MARVAC), the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) and the Self Storage Association of Michigan (SSAM).

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