ARVC Agenda: Bambei Reorganizes ARVC Staff
Paul Bambei, the new president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), 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.
As part of the transition, Bambei is 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 Education 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,” said Bambei.
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 in ARVC itself. “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, who chaired ARVC from 1997 to 1999 and served on the ARVC Foundation board, grew up in the campground business and co-owned and operated Compton Ridge Campgrounds, Lodge & Convention Center in Branson, Mo. More recently, last year, he and his wife, Susie, traveled over 38,000 miles and visited over 1,800 parks to raise awareness about the benefits of ARVC membership.
As a result, Sims earned ARVC’s 2010 Chairman’s Club Award and became quite familiar with the concerns of park operators across the country.
So, 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.
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 and 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.
National School Classes Convening in February
Marking the 18th year of education excellence, the National School of RV Park and Campground Management will be conducted Feb. 22-27 at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W.Va. Park owners and operators are encouraged to join the nearly 1,500 professionals in the RV park and campground sector who have benefited by attending the School.
The school’s curriculum is offered over the course of two years in one-week sessions at Oglebay. The first year’s topics include business operations and planning, human resources, risk management, marketing and advertising, and operating standards and service levels, all tailored to the campground arena.
Courses offered in the second year of instruction build on the first year sessions and address many park ownership issues such as maintenance operations, regulations, ancillary income, retail strategies, advanced communication skills and insurance.
And an afternoon of feature classes are available to all participants to address trends and topics that may have specific applicability to parks such as tax planning, rental units, social media, and seasonal employees. The school environment is structured to facilitate interaction with faculty and students at meals, after-hours fireside chats and other social functions.
All industry professionals are invited to learn more and register for the school at www.campgroundschool.org or call the National Training Center for Public Facility Managers at Oglebay at (800) 624-6988, ext. 4126.
ARVC Leads Two Important Industry Coalition Initiatives
ARVC is leading ongoing efforts to form two national tourism industry coalitions addressing major policy challenges of significance to RV parks and campgrounds – one dealing with the future of the federal highway program and another focusing on the national parks.
National Highway Policy: On Dec. 6, at ARVC’s invitation, representatives of eight other national tourism organizations met with John Horsley, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), to discuss the outlook for reauthorization of the Federal Highway Program.
National Parks and Tourism: ARVC is also leading industry efforts to make tourism a higher priority for the National Park Service. Working with the American Bus Association, National Tour Association, Southeast Tourism Society and Western States Tourism Policy Council, ARVC is urging the NPS to implement fully its own 2008 National Parks Tourism Strategy.