ELKHART, Ind., -- Four years ago on March 9, 2012, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation (Foundation) board of directors selected Darryl Searer as the new president of Foundation and the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall). Bill Garpow was the chairman at that time, and woes from the past was clouding its future making a change necessary.
Searer said, "As I reflect back to that day when I volunteered to make a one-year commitment to help the Hall out of its difficulties, I didn't expect that one-year commitment would become four and more. Little did I realize that the Foundation would become my passion with a renewed pledge to see the Foundation through to our debt-free goal."
Without exception industry leaders have applauded Searer's focused leadership and accomplishments during his tenure as president of the Foundation.
RVDA President Phil Ingrassia said, "Darryl has done an outstanding job uniting the industry behind the RV/MH Heritage Foundation and the RV/MH Hall of Fame. His knowledge of the industries, as well as business acumen have put the foundation on a solid path for the future.
"As a volunteer, it's amazing the amount of work he has done to improve the visitor experience, make the hall more inclusive of all industry segments, and diversify foundation revenue. Congratulations Darryl on a job well done!"
Cavco's President and CEO Joe Stegmayer who also serves as vice chairman of the Foundation's board of directors echoes Ingrassia's sentiment. He said, "Darryl Searer is one truly amazing person. How many people give up their precious time as completely as he has to help an organization and expect nothing in return? During my 43 years in the business world I have witnessed only a few instances where people even came close to the level Darryl has achieved.
"Darryl, a successful businessman in his own right, offered to be president and chief staff person of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. This meant responsibility for all operations, finances and construction/maintenance activities of this 44 year old nonprofit foundation. The selfless part of all this is that Darryl took on these responsibilities as a true volunteer--no salary, no incentive bonus, no compensation of any sort, no perks, no benefits!"
Searer list of accomplishments while leading the Foundation is impressive:
1. "Boots" Ingram Family's loan paid in full
2. Settled with the city of Elkhart
3. David Woodworth paid in full
4. Standard mortgage rate at 3.5%
5. Debt reduced from $5.5 million to $1.6 million (minus valid pledges of $400,000) = Net debt of $1.2 million
6. By registering the name Northern Indiana Event Center (NIEC) in the summer of 2012 it has become the number one contributor to our actual income over the last four years. NIEC now covers more than 50% of our total operating expenses each year.
7. The land to the East on our nearly 40 acres of property has been cleared and leveled adding an additional 8 acres of useable land for all types of outdoor events.
8. The process for nominating and selecting inductees into the Hall has been updated making the process easier to understand and adding professionalism and integrity to become a member of the Hall. Many thanks to Gary LaBella.
9. We have continued to maintain the property to ensure its beauty.
10. A manufactured home is now part of the museum as well as a story board about the MH history.
11. Several units have been added to the RV collection including the personal unit of Charles Lindberg.
12. Too many other amenities and upgrades to mention have been made during the past four years. Please come see for yourself.
Barry Cole, president of MH Insurance Services and immediate past chairman of the board, said, "The RV/MH Hall of Fame is thriving and the building will be debt free shortly because of Darryl Searer. Not only has Darryl committed himself to erasing the debt, hired and managed an incredible staff, maintained the property to the tens, politicked with government and state associations with awareness while still having enough energy to make public relation calls to insure our industries have and will continue to have an incredible Hall of Fame. Not bad for a guy who would not accept any salary compensation in the four years since he took over."
Stegmayer added, "The Foundation's debt has been reduced to manageable levels. Darryl set a goal several years ago for the total elimination of all debt by the end of this decade and now that has become a realistic objective. The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum has gained much respect during these years both within and outside the industries it represents. The list of people who have worked and contributed to make this happen is long, but Darryl Searer is certainly among those on top of the list.
"Fortunately, many people want to help their industry and specifically RV/MH Hall of Fame, and we can all be thankful for such support. Still I believe we owe a special debt of gratitude to Darryl Searer for taking the helm at a particularly tough and challenging time for the Foundation. The Foundation was mired in debt and was generating operating losses each year. Now, after four years of his volunteer service, the Hall operates in the black."
Searer said, ""In closing, a great big thank you to all of you that have already supported the Foundation and are continuing to support this, our "Shining Star" of the RV/MH Industries--our beautiful RV/MH Hall of Fame and Northern Indiana Event Center.
"We need $1.2 million to complete the debt-free process.
"Although we have made great progress in only four years, we still have some work left to do. I challenge each of you to dig down deep in your soul and ask the question, 'Has the RV and/or manufactured housing industries been good to me and my family?' If so, please find it in your heart to support the Hall at whatever level you can afford and help us take the final step to our debt-free goal."
To make a donation or to volunteer at the RV/MH Hall of Fame visit: www.rvmhhalloffame.org/
by Hall of Fame