Bambei Restructures/Strengthens ARVC Staff
National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) President and CEO Paul Bambei is taking steps to make the association more efficient and responsive to its members with a combination of new hires and a reorganization of existing staff, according to a news release.
Bambei’s new moves include hiring former ARVC Chairman Jeff Sims to the new position of director of membership and government affairs, overseeing Derek Dick, who will now serve as membership manager, as well as ARVC’s outside government affairs activity.
Bambei also promoted Educator Director Barb Youmans to a new position of senior director of administration and education, making her second in command of the organization.
“These changes are intended to bring about greater efficiency and much improved customer service and responsiveness to our membership,” Bambei said.
Sims is a natural fit for the new position of director of membership and government affairs, Bambei said, because of his extensive experience in the campground business and appreciation of the many services ARVC provides that can ultimately improve park operators’ profitability.
“Jeff Sims, as a former ARVC chairman and a former park owner himself, brings a very nice blend of knowledge of how ARVC works from the high-level administrative view, call it the executive view, as well as the members’ view of what it takes to run a business and try to make a profit,” Bambei said. “I value both of those in one person very much.”
Sims grew up in the campground business and co-owned and operated Compton Ridge Campgrounds, Lodge & Convention Center in Branson, Mo. He was chairman of ARVC from 1997 to 1999 and served on the ARVC Foundation Board.
Last year, Jeff Sims and his wife, Susie, traveled over 38,000 miles and visited over 1,800 parks to raise awareness about the benefits of ARVC membership. Sims earned ARVC’s 2010 Chairman’s Club Award for this effort, which also put him in a unique position to hear the concerns of park operators across the country.
Sims will spend much of his time as ARVC’s ambassador, traveling and meeting with park operators and campground association officials. “That will be a lot of Jeff’s job: To be out there with his ears low to the ground, listening to what members want,” Bambei said.
Sims, who also has extensive political experience in Missouri that includes a previous run for state governor, will also oversee ARVC’s outside government affairs services.
Later this month, in fact, ARVC will put out requests for proposals seeking government relations counsels at the state level. “It’s really a combination of national and state government relations that matter, with perhaps state being slightly more paramount because these legislative activities occur in our members’ own backyard,” Bambei said.
Internally, Bambei said promoting Youmans to the new position of senior director of administration and education also makes sense, partly to strengthen ARVC’s administrative management, but also to take better advantage of Youman’s experience.
Youmans has more than 30 years of experience in education involving everything from college level teaching positions to teaching and managing corporate employee training programs for major organizations, including OpenWorld Learning, where she previously served as CEO, and ARAMARK Educational Resources (AER), a subsidiary of the company that manages food and beverage and hospitality services for the National Park Service.
“Barb has done an excellent job with the educational function of ARVC,” Bambei said. “She’s a former CEO of a foundation in Denver. She has a very broad administrative and IT background as well. So when I saw the need to improve our customer service to the membership in this office, I saw a wealth of experience in Barb to help me do that. I also thought a number two person should be in charge when I’m not here.”
Kera Tomlin will continue in her current role as director of marketing and communications. Tomlin will also oversee an outside advertising agency for external advertising promotions, while Jeanette Stensgaard will handle advertising for GoCampingAmerica.com, ARVC.org, the ARVC Reporter and ARVC’s Annual Buyers Guide, as well as all ARVC conference and meeting coordination.
Bambei said his next efforts to improve ARVC’s internal management involve improving the handling of incoming phone calls. He said he is implementing systems to measure the volume and type of incoming calls ARVC receives as well as response times. He also plans to hire a part-time customer service representative with a broad range of experience, including accounting, bookkeeping and creative website experience.