Shootout in Dallas
Don Magary, Editor
It seems fitting to us that the WDA Annual Executive Conference is being held in Dallas, a city steeped in western tradition. The city certainly can conjure up visions from the last century of cowboys strolling onto dusty streets with holstered, single action Colt revolvers hanging precariously close to experienced hands, ready to spring into action. But it won't be 45-caliber bullets flying in Dallas when the RV aftermarket association meets, it will be philosophies and ideas.
It all stems from a controversial proposal being pursued by some members of WDA to merge that association with RVIA. RV News broke the story in a July editorial where we stated our opinion about the merits of the proposed merger so we'll not rehash those ideas here.
At presstime, we were picking up bits and pieces of information about how the idea of a merger was going to be handled.
If our information is correct there will be presentations - pro and con - on the merger, followed by roundtable discussions and then an opportunity for an open discussion from WDA members.
From what we understand, Mike Keller, president of Keller RV and Marine, a large regional warehouse distributor serving the Northeastern United States, will speak on behalf of the merger; while Dave Prest of Unlimited Quality Products, an aftermarket supplier, will present the opposing viewpoint.
When the group breaks out into roundtable discussions, it appears that WDA board members will be assigned as moderators to lead the discussion for each of the tables.
Following the roundtables, the moderators will present the ideas from each table to the group as a whole. And finally, there will be an open discussion period where individual members can express the views on the proposed merger.
RV News believes this is a positive approach to a controversial subject. It gives both factions an opportunity to express its views and persuade others who may not have an opinion one way or another.
Coincidentally, I just returned from an event where I had the opportunity to talk to several regional distributors. As a group they were unanimous in believing that the proposed merger with RVIA was not in their best interest. One distributor had resigned in protest; another said they were boycotting this year's event to protest. Some of the others said they were coming to hear what the WDA leadership had to say about the plan.
Our message was and is that this is not the time to sit on the sidelines. You cannot influence the decision if you are not there. And you cannot influence the decision if you go but sit idly by. You have to speak, speak loudly and forcibly, so the leadership of WDA knows that it's your association too.
Further, RV News believes that this is primarily a warehouse distributor issue. As such and before any action is recommended by the board of directors to the general membership, we believe that WDA should form a distributors committee made up of all member warehouse distributor companies and charge that committee with looking at the issue. And let this committee come back to the board with a recommendation for either pursuing the merger idea or abandoning the idea altogether. As a matter of fact, we believe that distributors should demand this. If the board of directors truly believe that they represent other companies other than their own, it would have no problem with listening to its members and act accordingly
The upcoming WDA conference promises to be more exciting than any in recent history. And whether you agree with the proposed merger, oppose the idea or want to hear more so you can make an educated decision, its imperative that you participate. And the only way to participate is go to Dallas. When the shootout ends and the smoke clears, the future of an RV aftermarket association will be probably be decided. But if you are not there to voice your opinions, you'll have to live with the decisions that others make for you.