The board of directors for the RV/MH Heritage Foundation has announced the names of the industry professionals who will be honored in August as the RV/MH Hall of Fame 2020 inductees.
“Congratulations to the ten new honorees,” Foundation President Darryl Searer said. “All of them have had or are having outstanding careers and are richly deserving of this high honor.”
Searer also applauded the work of the RV/MH Hall of Fame nominating committee.
“I was especially impressed with the committee’s work for the diversity of this year’s class— not only in the inductees’ regions within the U.S. but also the diversion of nominees by industry segment, such as suppliers, manufacturers, dealers, 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.
Burt Dickman, Manufactured Home Communities, Indiana (Deceased)
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.
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.
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.
Recreational Vehicle Inductees
Mark Beecher, RV Retail Finance, South Dakota
Mark Beecher started not one, but two major lending institutional RV indirect programs for the industry via John Deere Credit and Bank of the West. He started both operations from infancy and grew them into huge operations ranking in the top four in the industry. Along the way, Beecher developed numerous relationships with manufacturers, dealers, RVDA, and RVIA members. He pioneered numerous innovative lending programs such as the VIB pre-approval program, 240-month terms for larger loans, lucrative participation and bonus programs, and back-end programs.
Beecher also was heavily involved in RVDA and RVIA. Without the creative mind behind John Deere Credit and Bank of the West, the industry probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the sales success and profitability of the past 28 years. Beecher is also living the RV Lifestyle as the proud owner of a 42-foot diesel pusher motorhome, traveling the U.S. and Canada.
Garth W. Cane, RV Service Technician; Professor, Cobourg, ON, Canada
Garth Cane has contributed tirelessly to the Canadian RV industry and the community for more than 65 years, as a sales associate, RV service tech, RV tech trainer, RV TV host, magazine tech editor, and RV seminar presenter at shows and rallies throughout North America. Cane was the first professor to teach the RV Apprenticeship Program at Mohawk College in Ontario. A professional engineer, he was highly instrumental in the creation of the apprenticeship program. He also serves as a board member on the Recreational Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation.
The foundation provides professional and objective RV education with a focus on consumer safety and lifestyle enhancement. Cane, semi-retired for 20 years, continues to serve as one of the finest ambassadors of the RV lifestyle.
David Fought, RV manufacturer, Indiana
David Fought studied to be an engineer and began as a draftsman at Starcraft RV in 1970. By 1991, when Starcraft RV was sold to Jayco, he had worked his way up to vice president of operations. Fought, being the consummate innovator, ventured out on his own with an idea. He and some partners soon after founded SunnyBrook RV, where they built and marketed the light aluminum superstructure that revolutionized the “towables” industry. After selling SunnyBrook in 1996, he started another successful RV company named DRV and then purchased Cruiser RV.
Fought’s vision for lighter weight products, along with fully loaded high-end luxury convenience and comfort features, lives on today in Cruiser RV. In January of 2015, Dave sold Cruiser and Doubletree RV to Thor Industries. Having a remarkable track record in creating successful companies is a difficult task. Fought’s earned industry respect, and being a man of his word, are the intangibles that contributed to his success. There are several aspects that set Fought apart from others not only in the industry. As an individual, he goes the extra mile and puts forth the needed effort every step of the way. Fought is hard working and extremely efficient. He is a leader by example, a hands-on role model, and his work ethic is a good representation of true character.
Jeff Pastore, RV Dealer, Ohio
Jeff Pastore often mentions the four most important things in his world are: his faith, his family, his friends, and the business. Pastore has been with Hartville RV Center, Inc., since it opened in 1972. At that time, Pastore was just 10 years old but began helping out in small ways around the dealership where he learned the ropes. As time went on, each year he took on more and more responsibility. He worked part-time at the dealership while in high school. Pastore attended Kent State University and worked at the dealership full-time all while working on his degree in business and marketing. Pastore now is the vice president and general manager of Hartville RV Center. He always has been a dedicated volunteer in service to the RV Dealers Association for more than 20 years, serving as chairman and in many other committee-level capacities.
Pastore always has the dealer in mind when it comes to decisions that are made or various avenues that are pursued. In fact, he guided dealers through one of the hardest times in RVDA history. He led the association through the steps needed to keep going with calm confidence. Pastore has a “volunteer mentality”, takes time to mentor those who need the advice and wisdom he can offer, and has exhibited incredible honesty and integrity in every aspect of life and business.
David Schutz, Supplier, Indiana
Many people have had successful careers in the RV industry but not many have had successful careers and have demonstrated so much breadth of service to the industry for so many years as did Dave Schutz, and with such notable integrity. As senior vice president of RV OEM sales in North America for Dometic Corporation, Schutz’s high character, long and successful career, and his lengthy list of activities in service to the U.S. and Canadian RV industries help define who he is.
For several years, Schutz has demonstrated consistent and continuing volunteer service to the industry at all levels of participation from boards of directors, to serving on many different “in the trenches” committees for the enhancement of the industry. He has been recognized by RVIA for his contributions to the industry by earning the association’s Special Award for making extraordinary contributions to the industry’s overall success, along with supporting other industry initiatives.
About the RV/MH Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony and Dinner
The Class of 2020 will be honored at the RV/MH Hall of Fame during the annual induction ceremonies and dinner on Monday, August 3, 2020, in Elkhart, Ind. Friends and relatives of the inductees can make reservations for the induction dinner and ceremonies by visiting the RV/MH Hall of Fame website.