Frank Hugelmeyer, who lead Outdoor Industry Association for 14 years until his abrupt resignation last fall, has been selected to succeed Richard Coon as the next president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Hugelmeyer will join RVIA as president-elect July 13 and work with Coon during a transition period before officially taking the reins October 1.
Coon, who has served as RVIA president for 10 years, announced his retirement in March. He has been RVIA’s president since January 2006. Prior to joining the association, he enjoyed a 30-year career in the RV industry, including his role as director of RV business for Cummins Power Generation.
As RVIA president, Coon spearheaded initiatives to expand and improve technician education, create global opportunities for RV manufacturers and suppliers, create a unified North American RV market by harmonizing marketing efforts and RV standards between the United States and Canada, upgrade the RVing experience for customers, and better relations with RV dealers and the campground industry.
He successfully steered RVIA and the industry through the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, and leaves the association in a strong financial position.
While Hugelmeyer has not worked in the RV industry, his extensive contacts in policy making circles and within the wider conservation and outdoor recreation community will come in handy at RVIA. He has served on a wide variety of boards and advisory groups including the Outdoor Foundation, National Forum on Children and Nature, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Western Governors’ Association Recreation Task Force and President Obama’s Partnership for America’s Great Outdoors.
He joins RVIA at a relatively prosperous time for a historically volatile industry. RV ownership is at all time highs. According to RVIA data, RV shipments climbed 11.1 percent to 356,735 units in 2014, marking the fifth consecutive annual increase and the fourth double-digit percentage gain in RV shipments since 2006. Annual RV shipments peaked near 390,500 that year, but plunged 60 percent by 2009 as consumer credit tightened. RVIA is forecasting shipments will reach 365,000 units this year, which would mark the highest level since 2006.
During Hugelmeyer's tenure, Colorado-based OIA grew from a part-time staff with a six-figure budget into an organization with more than $7 million in revenue, a full-time staff of 25 and growing influence in Capitol Hill. While his unexpected resignation Sept. 3 and abrupt departure three days later took many by surprise both he and OIA board members said the parting was mutual. Hugelmeyer has since consulted regularly with companies that include The North Face, Patagonia, Timberland, L.L. Bean, REI and Amazon, along with numerous governmental agencies, non-profit groups and foundations, according to RVIA.
Steve Barker, an OIA board member who co-founded the adventure travel brand Eagle Creek, continues to serve as OIA's interim president pending an ongoing search for an executive director.