The 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame Induction classes for manufactured housing and RV professionals gathered in Elkhart, Ind., Monday night, surrounded by nearly 700 colleagues, friends, family, and former inductees, to celebrate the achievements and successes of the dual class of honorees.
Each year, the Hall of Fame brings in five new manufactured housing inductees and five new RV inductees, celebrated most years with a summertime gathering for dinner, ceremony, and professional appreciation.
The Class of 2020 merged with the class of 2021 after a year’s delay due to the pandemic and COVID restrictions.
Manufactured Housing Class of 2021
Ken Anderson, MHIA, Arizona
Ken Anderson humbly deflected praise during his induction, citing the leadership of his board for a great amount of his success. Board member Cody Pearce successfully nominated Anderson for the induction.
“He embellished the record so I could be here with you tonight,” Anderson said in jest. He also lauded Board Chairman Norman Ball for twice bringing him out of retirement.
“I took pay cutws both times,” Anderson said. “That’s how good of a negotiator he is!”
Anderson was inducted for his dedication to the manufactured housing industry and the Manufactured Housing Industry of Arizona is beyond measure.
He gave up his own retail sales operation of 30 years to help save the association and the industry in Arizona by taking leadership of the association and helping it to stay aloft and prosper even during trying times. He served on the board and executive committee for more than a decade.
He helped create the Arizona Image Committee; served on the Government Relations & Zoning Committee; ran several annual home shows as well as chaired many annual conventions. He has also served tirelessly on the national front, serving as a delegate to MHI for many years, as well as serving on the MHI Board of Directors and National Retailers Council.
Anderson has also participated in many of the MHI Legislative Meetings, even helping to secure Democrat support for the Dodd-Frank Reform, including the lead Democrat cosponsor, Kyrsten Sinema, and six additional Congressmen giving Arizona representation by seven out of nine state representatives. Ken has been the recipient of many awards during his time in the industry.
Keith Casenhiser, California Manufactured Home Community Owner
Keith Casenhiser said during his induction speech that even the competition in the manufactured housing industry is friendly and that its camaraderie is a great strength.
“We have a great group of people in this industry,” he said.
As a senior at UC Riverside, Casenhiser started in the industry as an intern at Fleetwood. Since partnering with Dick Bessire, they now own 10 parks and manage 80. Most park owners only participate with WMA, but Casenhiser personally joined other associations and became chairman of the board of MHET, advisory director for CMPA, and president of the board of directors of WMA. For the past 15 years, he has dedicated his allegiance to CMHI as past chairman of the board and served as treasurer on the executive committee. Casenhiser speaks and participates at round tables, panels, committees, and industry functions for all California associations and the same in Idaho and Colorado. He received top awards from WMA, CMPA, and MHET, as well as the Presidents Award and the Jack E. Wells honor from CMHI. Casenhiser contributes to PAC funds and many charity fundraisers. He is knowledgeable about industry issues and has dedicated his life to his family and his industry.
Charles E. Lott, Fleetwood Homes in Georgia
“In some way or another every person in the industry today has benefited from the presence of Charlie Lott,” the WNDU news anchor, and the evening’s master of ceremonies, Gary Sieber said the new inductee.
Five decades in, Charles Lott has played a pivotal role in leading affordable housing in America. He has stayed consistent over the years with a strategy that was rooted in designing and building astonishing homes with a focus on affordability for all Americans.
Every stakeholder in the industry is better from the impact he has made on the evolution of manufactured homes. Most importantly, homeowners continue today to reap the benefit of current trends, needs, and wants because of his relentless goal to improve both the homes and the people he has trained over his lengthy career.
Lott praised the leadership of Joe Stegmayer and Mallory Smith and Cavco and Fleetwood respectively. Working around bright minds, Lott said, helped him find the balance between affordability and beauty in a home.
“At first I thought I was just going to outsmart everyone,” Lott said of his early approach. “I realized that wasn’t going to be very practical, and that there are only 24 hours in a day and I would just try to outwork everybody.”
Debra J. Pizer, Zeman Properties, Illinois
Dee Pizer’s support of the manufactured homes community industry includes guest speaking at MHI meetings, mentoring women in the industry, and volunteering her time whenever asked to assist other community owners and property developers throughout the country. The time Pizer gives new community owners and operators at these meetings has been a tremendous help in the industry. Her reputation and success make her a great source of information. She helped change the perception of manufactured housing as a “male-dominated” industry. She has been essential to the growth and success at Zeman Homes, yet more so in many ways to the continuing success of the community segment.
“I think this is probably the greatest industry you can be in,” Pizer said at the induction dinner. “I am grateful every day.”
She thanked a long list of people, including Ed Zeman, Wally Comer, Christine Lindsey, and Brian and Jeff Fannon, for helping her come through the ranks establish herself as company CEO and board chairwoman.
Alan H. Spencer, Dakotaland Homes, South Dakota
Alan H Spencer has 35-plus years of accomplishments in the manufactured housing industry, including community involvement, pioneering direct-to-consumer factory sales lots, and expansion/management of national dealerships. Spencer has decades-long involvement with associations that represent the industry, and has been instrumental in helping to pass laws and fight against legislation that would negatively impact the industry and its customers in South Dakota and several Midwestern states. Spencer provided support to pass a law in South Dakota enabling manufactured homes to be placed on foundations, converting them to real property and giving the customer the option to obtain mortgage financing.
The RV industry inductees are: Eleonore Hamm, of CRVDA , in British Columbia, Canada; Jeffery M. Hirsh, from Campers Inn RV, of Florida; Robert “Bob” Parish, Wells Fargo CDF, of Florida; Jim Sheldon, of Fleetwood Enterprises and Monaco Coach, on California; Bob Tiedge, of Lippert Components, in Indiana.
“Congratulations to the 10 new honorees,” Searer said. “All of them have had or are having outstanding careers and are richly deserving of this high honor.
“I was especially impressed with the committee’s work for the diversity of this year’s class— not only in the inductee’s gender but also the diversity of regions within the U.S. as well as the diversity of nominee’s industry segments such as suppliers, manufacturers, dealers, community managers, and developers, as well as association executives.”
The RV/MH Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees
Manufactured Housing Inductees
Steven P. Adler, Manufactured Home Community Owner/Operator, Florida
Community owner/operator Steven P. Adler is president and owner of Murex Properties, LLC. Murex owns and manages 15 communities in Arizona, Florida, Oregon, and Texas. Adler has selflessly promoted the advancement of manufactured housing communities as an active member and leader of MHI and the Florida Manufactured Housing Association. He has spent a career developing, acquiring, and managing some of the finest manufactured home communities in the country.
While these accomplishments exemplify Adler’s entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and industry leadership, they do not tell the full story. Adler has been a staunch industry advocate for more than three decades. While serving in numerous leadership positions at MHI and FMHA, it is how he continues to serve that defines him. Adler is a doer, a leader, not just a participant. His prints are on most initiatives that have advanced the professionalism of manufactured home communities in recent decades.
“Steve is a doer, a leader, not just a participant,” the master of ceremonies Gary Sieber said.
Adler was unable to join the group, and accepted the honor in a pre-recorded video. In a recent conversation with MHInsider, Adler shared his feelings about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, particularly about being enshrined along with his father Sydney Adler.
“I was very close to him,” he said. “He was a very kind, and sweet man. No games. His father was the same way.
“About the hall, I do ask ‘why me’ a bit, but I’m honored,” he said.
Adler was a plucky little kid and wasn’t shy about talking to customers when he was in the field with his father, who developed Trailer Estates in Bradenton, Fla., and Tucson Estates in the same vein in southern Arizona.
“I always say that I sold my first home at age 5,” Steve Adler said. “Of course that’s not really true, but … I was 29.”
Burt Dickman, Manufactured Home Communities, Indiana (Deceased)
The posthumous induction of Burt Dickman was accepted by a daughter, Susan Reger, and his two sons, Donald and Steven.
“My dad was kind of the town orphan,” Donald Dickman said. Their father would do odd jobs around town for money, food, and perhaps a place to stay.
“He read a help wanted ad in Popular Mechanic about this new thing called a house trailer,” he said. “And that’s what he decided to do.”
For more than 60 years Burt Dickman demonstrated his hard-working talents as a visionary of the highest moral character. Dickman always remained committed to providing affordable housing. Working full time at another job he and his wife manually installed utility lines and lots at their first small mobile home park.
As demand grew, Dickman’s foresight to purchase land beside a proposed interstate highway grew into West Edge Park, a community of convenience offering city utilities and walking distance to businesses, industries, parks, and recreation. An “ethical man knows what is right … a moral man does what is right” that aptly describes Dickman’s character. Tough decisions, including financial, were made with the true moral character Dickman possessed.
“My dad had so much energy,” Reger said. “He just loved to serve people. I am so grateful for the father I had. He always said the smartest thing he ever did was marry our mother. We can’t argue with that. And he always said his wedding day was the greatest day of his life. But if he was here tonight, I think this would be the greatest night of his life.”
Ron Dunlap, Association Executive, Virginia
Ron Dunlap could be defined as a man who could be counted on to serve above and beyond the call of duty whether it was in Vietnam where he earned a bronze star, in his volunteer work for the Habitat for Humanity, or in his passion to help others through his work with the Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association. As executive director and president of VAMMHA, Dunlap is known as someone who, in addition to representing his members, also would take his time to help homeowners and others who had problems or issues that need attention. Virginia is one of the more favorable places for the manufactured and modular housing industry because of Ron Dunlap.
He led the legislative efforts that produced the favorable zoning treatment Virginia now has. Without his efforts, homeowners would face county-by-county fights every day. But Virginia now has statewide protections that provide association members and customers with certainty and clarity. These efforts were by no means a slam dunk. Lesser lobbyists would have failed. Dunlap did not. And, Virginia is better for it. Dunlap is a member to the VAMMHA Hall of Fame and was recognized for his contributions by receiving a Virginia House Joint Commendation upon his retirement.
George Porter, Manufactured Housing Resources, Delaware
George Porter, since 1990, has been manufactured housing’s “go-to guy” in all matters regarding new home installation on rental homesites in land-lease communities and on developed land. His pioneering principles positioned Porter as housing installation expert used by state manufactured housing associations, MHI, and HUD to research and prepare industry-standard manufactured housing installation, manuals, and to teach installers nationwide.
“It’s not glamorous,” Porter said at the induction dinner. “It’s hard work actually.
“Did you realize the average has 15 different grades? And there are rules in here I don’t know,” he said referring to installation manuals. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”
In 2007, he headed the effort to prove the effectiveness of frost-free foundations. Porter is a true pioneer and continues as a recognized expert in installation matters throughout the entire manufactured housing industry. In 2008 George was named “Man of the Year” by the Journal of Manufactured Housing.
Jerry Ruggirello, Manufactured Home Community Owner/Operator, Michigan
Jerry Ruggirello, president of AJR Development and AJR Home Sales, has been recognized numerous times from associations, groups, and politicians for his time spent bettering his community and industry. Ruggirello has served on far too many committees to list. However, some of his involvement has helped avoid government overreach with key landlord-tenant issues such as ad valorem taxes and rent control.
His peers and industry professionals often credit Ruggirello with the thriving status of the MH industry in Michigan today. An example of his ambition and innovation, Ruggirello made the decision to display a manufactured home into the 2014 Suburban Collection Showplace at the Novi Home Show. This is a Home Builder Association show that Ruggirello realized was hosting a captive audience. By putting a brand new sectional home inside of the show, tens of thousands of homebuyers learned about the new MH product. The response was good. The MH Showcase in October 2019 featured five homes, one park model, and more than a dozen retailer/operator/supplier booths, and his communities have received numerous awards.
“If I never made a dollar in this industry, all the relationships and friendships I’ve made would trump it,” Ruggirello said at the Hall of Fame in Elkhart.
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