RV/MH Hall of Fame News
In 1985 Jay Hesse became president of Automatic Equipment Mfg. Co., a 85-year-old business founded by his grandfather that manufactured products and equipment for the agricultural market. The 1980s were a tough time for the company, mostly because it was a tough time for farmers and the ag industry. Jay was looking to diversify and looked at the RV industry. Automatic acquired Hewitt Tubular Products in 1990, and the RV side of Automatic's business really started to take-off. The line included Blue Ox tow bar assemblies and tow bar accessories, Blue Ox fifth-wheel tailgates for full-size pickups and Rock Stopper tandem wheel trailer chocks. Jay not only proved himself as a businessman, but also, as a dynamic leader, innovator and a generous contributor to industry organizations and causes, both in time and dollars. He joined and served several industry associations including the Warehouse Distributors Association (WDA). For his outstanding leadership Jay was presented with the RV Aftermarket Association's (RVAA) "Jim Barker Person of the Year Award" in 1998. Jay served as a board member and vice president of RV/MH Hall of Fame board of directors - 2011 - 2014, and was actively involved in the Go-RVing Coalition.