As part of its coverage of the RV industry’s centennial in 2010, a year set aside for the industry’s 100th birthday by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RVBusiness Magazine(sister publication of MotorHome Magazine) and RVBUSINESS.com have issued an unprecedented listing of the “100 Most Influential People in the History of the RV Industry.”
“The lengthy listing in our May/June issue was simple enough in concept,” reports RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “But as the article in our May/June issue indicates, the execution was tougher than any of us would have dreamed.”
In addition to assembling their own in-house listing, based on general knowledge of the industry and its past, RVB’s staff networked with other industry people for additional nominees. They also invited website visitors to contribute nominees and ultimately turned to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., for backup information on some of the likely names of individuals whose days in this industry had long passed from the scene.
“From all of this,” Goldenberg adds in the current issue of RVB, “we developed a lengthy draft listing of about 250 candidates who might likely qualify.” But paring that list down to 100, says Goldenberg in the linked feature story, is where the “wheels came off” in the selection process.
“The challenge for us wasn’t in naming the obvious candidates, legendary industry pioneers like John K. Hanson of Winnebago, Dick Klingler of Holiday Rambler or John Crean of Fleetwood, all three of whom are profiled separately in our ‘Most Influential’ editorial package,” he said. “The difficulty was in dealing with the other 90 slots because it seems like, for every individual we generally felt belonged on that list, there were always two to three others who also realistically vied for inclusion.
“We don’t mean longshots,” says Goldenberg. “We mean solid, high-profile, established industry players who would have been automatic if only we could have expanded the list to, say, the most influential 110 or 125. But that wasn’t the game as we had set it up. That wasn’t the editorial mission upon which we had originally agreed. So, we had to go in a few cases with our gut instincts. In any event, we’re proud of the results.
“And some of those individuals who were on the edge and didn’t make the list should know that they are in some cases ‘works in progress,’ meaning that they are people who by the time they retire will more than likely be slam-dunk nominees for the next century’s most influential listing.”
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