Frank Hugelmeyer has resigned as president of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association to take over as president and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the organizations each announced Friday.
Hugelmeyer had served as president of RVIA since 2015. Prior to that, he was CEO of the Outdoor Industry Association.
At NMMA, he succeeds Thom Dammrich, who has led the association for 20 years and announced his retirement in 2018.
“Frank brings extensive experience and expertise in outdoor recreation and association management to NMMA, making him the ideal growth-minded leader for the recreational boating industry,” said Ben Speciale, NMMA chairman and president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit. “We look forward to his leadership and strategic vision as he guides our industry through ever-changing economic and political landscapes.”
Hugelmeyer’s focus at RVIA was on market development and strengthening of the industry-wide consumer campaign, Go RVing; directed robust advocacy policy initiatives spanning the international, federal and state levels; and, established broad coalitions across the outdoor recreation sector, including the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. RVIA represents the $50 billion RV industry with a membership of 400 manufacturers and component and aftermarket suppliers that produce 98 percent of all RVs made in the U.S.
In a release published by RVIA, the association said Craig Kirby, senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, would become interim president of RVIA. Kirby is a 25-year veteran of RVIA, where he oversees government relations, standards, and the organization’s legal team.
“We truly appreciate all of the work Frank has led to improve the position of RVIA and strengthen the relationships with not only the membership, but also with our industry partners,” said Garry Enyart, director of RV business, Cummins, and chairman of the RVIA board of directors. “Under his leadership RVIA has modernized the association’s technological capabilities, strengthened its federal and state advocacy, welcomed the RV Aftermarket Association’s members, launched the RV Technical Institute (RVTI), and expanded the reach and impact of the industry’s Go RVing program. Further, Frank leaves the organization in a position of strength both operationally and financially. He will be missed at RVIA, but we are eager to continue working closely with him moving forward as we continue to partner on growing the position and influence of the outdoor recreation economy.”
Hugelmeyer said: “In nearly four years of working together, we have made great strides as an organization, and it has been my great privilege to serve the RVIA members and collaborate with an exceptionally talented board and staff. As many of you know, one of my life’s passions is boating and fishing, and this leadership role with NMMA truly represented a dream opportunity. I will miss the RVIA family, but look forward to serving the numerous crossover members that operate in both the RV and boating worlds, and continuing our work with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), as well as building on the close bonds that have formed during my time at RVIA.”
A full transition timeline is being formulated, and Hugelmeyer will remain with RVIA for a yet-to-be determined period to provide guidance and support during the transition.
Hugelmeyer joins NMMA amid the association’s three-year strategic plan that includes increased investment in advocacy; research and industry promotion focused on retaining and recruiting boat owners; and, workforce development.
“We conducted a thorough search over the last year to find the right person for this important leadership role for the marine industry and Frank’s tenure in outdoor recreation-related industry associations was unparalleled,” said Bill Watters, former NMMA chairman and president of Syntec Industries, who led the search committee for the next president. “He is a tremendous addition to the NMMA team and the recreational boating industry, and we welcome him aboard.”
NMMA is focused on promoting and protecting recreational boating through advocacy and market expansion including federal and state public policy, engineering standards and certification, statistics and research, boat and sport shows, trade events, CSI, marketing and communications, export development and support for the Grow Boating Initiative.
“I am honored and grateful to the NMMA board for the appointment to lead this remarkable organization of dedicated and talented professionals working to advocate for recreational boating,” said Hugelmeyer. “Boating and fishing are vital economic drivers and treasured American pastimes, so this is a special opportunity to combine my professional expertise with a lifestyle that personally means so much to me. By introducing more people to the joys of boating, strengthening marine advocacy and building greater industry unity, we’ll ensure that NMMA members have a bright future.”
After a transition period beginning in July, Hugelmeyer will officially take the helm October 1.