RV/MH Hall of Fame News
For over 50 years he has been an active promoter of the manufactured housing industry in both the U.S. and Canada. He has served as a key leader of product development and national sales manager for housing manufacturers and as a successful retailer, always maintaining a high level of activity with, and support for, local, national, and Canadian industry associations. He received the coveted J.E. Wells award from the Trailer Coach Association in 1971. In his retirement, he continues to travel the country by RV as an ambassador for the manufactured housing and RV industries and a highly valued communication link between many of the industry pioneers.
An RVIA board member and Past Chairman, also serving on the Standards, and Public and Legislative Affairs committees, he is recognized as a key leader in the development and implementation of programs to promote the RV industry. He was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award. His company is recognized for its attention to innovation and quality, and a high level of integrity with its dealers, consumers, and employees. He is a second generation Hall of Fame member, his late father, Lloyd, having been a member of the class of 1994.
A 23 year Vice President of Technical Activities for the institute, he is recognized for his leadership and knowledge of engineering, design, and construction issues in the industry. For over 2 decades, he has been recognized as the leading authority on HUD Code home matters. He served 7 years as Secretary of the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance, formed to further advance technology in manufactured housing. For more than a dozen years, he escorted Housing and Urban Development Department staff members on tours of manufactured housing plants to give them first hand knowledge of the industry. He is a recipient of the Earl Swett Standards Award for outstanding technical contributions to the industry. Upon his retirement, the award was renamed the Frank Walter Standards Award in his honor.
He is recognized for building the nation's largest RV dealership and for his years of dedicated support to the Florida RV Supershow, the Go RVing campaign, and many other RVDA and RVIA events for over 30 years. An early promoter of the Go RVing campaign, he conceived and built the nation's first RV retail Super Center with over 1,000 units on display, over 250 60-foot service bays, a Camping World store, a 300 site RV park, a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and a Flying J Travel Plaza included in his complex. He is recognized for having set an industry standard for professionalism, customer service and product training that is emulated by dealers coast to coast.
He is recognized as having been a dynamic industry leader as a housing retailer, association officer, Florida's representative on the National Manufactured Housing Federation, and Assistant Executive Director of the Florida MH Association. He was identified as a consummate ambassador for manufactured housing and was the 1992 recipient of the MHI Chairman's award for his contributions to the industry. He was a founding member and 18 year board member of the Manufactured Housing Education Institute.
He is the founder and Chairman of Thor Industries having built his company into America's largest RV and small bus manufacturer by acquiring Hi-Lo, Airstream, General Coach, El Dorado, National Coach, Dutchman, Four Winds, Komfort, Champion Bus, Keystone, Damon, Breckenridge, Crossroads RV, Goshen Coach and the start up of Thor California. It is also recognized as the leading small passenger bus manufacturer making innovative fuel cell powered, zero emissions, transit buses. He is a strong supporter of industry training and educational programs and, from its inception, has been a key promoter of the Go RVing campaign.
A long time promoter of the RV industry he has served over 20 years on the RVIA Public Relations Committee, as President of the RV Aftermarket Association, member of the Go RVing Coalition and board member of the RV/MH Hall of Fame. AS Vice President of Sales & Maarketing, he led Dometic to record sales and profits in the 1980s. He has been a Member of the Consumer Care Commission, FMCA Commercial Council, RVIA Public Relations Committee and Committee on Excellence, RVAftermarket Association Board of Directors, and the Go RVing Board of Directors.
A strong promoter of the RV lifestyle as a writer and editor of RV News magazine, he is recognized as a champion of many industry causes always focusing on what is best for the entire RV industry. He is also recognized as the key pioneer in the industry's use of the Internet designing and developing web sites for hundreds of industry companies and associations. He is also co-founder of one of the most successful portal web sites for the RV industry - rvamerica.com
A long time champion for the manufactured housing industry, he has worked with numerous manufacturers to develop and promote a great many HVAC products to enhance the comfort and livability of affordable housing. He was an active member of MHI from the time of its inception. He has been an advocate for the industry to the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. He developed the only 90+ percent efficiency Energy Star furnace to fit in a manufactured home footprint. He was The Journal's "Manufactured Housing Industry Person of the Year" in 2005.
A champion of legislation supporting the housing industry and protecting its consumers, he has led the campaigns to update the HUD code and was the key leader of the effort which passed the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. A long time board member and now Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. He is an active member of many state and national associations and has represented the industry before the US Congress on many occasions. Ed was recognized in 2003 as The Journal's "Manufactured Housing Industry Person of the Year." He is a second generation Hall of Fame member, his father Edward Sr. having been a member of the class of 1995.