Executive Director’s Commentary
By Bradford Koshland, F313666, Executive Director
First, let me express to my fellow FMCA members how honored and privileged I am to be the new FMCA executive director. I submitted my resume back in August 2010 after reading about the search for a new executive director in Family Motor Coaching magazine. I knew that I was well-qualified to serve the association in this position, but when sending my resume from my home in Daytona Beach, Florida, I did not think about the prospect of beginning work in Cincinnati at a time when the area was experiencing above-average snowfall figures and below-average temperatures.
I arrived in my motorhome at FMCA’s Round Bottom Road facility on January 2, where I was met by acting national president Judy Czarsty and her husband, Steve. I had made the decision to live in my motorhome during the first few months until I figured out what I wanted to do regarding other living arrangements. I thought I was well-prepared to live in my motorhome during the winter months in Cincinnati, as I had read and studied the article in the November 2009 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine titled “Winter Travel,” written by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.
During the month of January, it snowed at least three times, and two of those times 5 to 6 inches of snow fell. It was wet, heavy snow, and I learned that the awning toppers for the slideouts do not hold wet snow very well. I don’t really recommend this, but . . . I went up on the roof of the coach during and after the snowstorm to sweep the snow off the slideout covers and, of course, to remove it from the satellite dome in order to get a good signal. For most of the month, the temperature did not go over 32 degrees during the day, and once it went down to 5 degrees at night. My hot water line on the coach froze, leaving me with no hot water for almost three days. I can honestly say that it has been a trying experience living in a motorhome during the winter months in Cincinnati. I have come to the conclusion that motorhomes are not really made to be lived in at this time of year in the northern part of this great country of ours. Give me Florida, Texas, or Arizona anytime during the winter months.
Also, in January, FMCA received a special visitor at the national office. It was the RV Doctor himself, Gary Bunzer, who was in the Cincinnati area and stopped by the office for the first time. The entire staff was able to meet him, and I was able to speak with him about my winter RVing experiences in Cincinnati.
As Judy Czarsty noted in her column last month, I have received guidance from the Mentoring Committee, made up of several Executive Board members. They provided valuable insight into how FMCA works and how each of the 10 areas within FMCA operates. I believe all the officers and the staff directors involved in my transition have provided me with the background information I need to make FMCA successful. This success will be to the benefit of the entire membership. As with any new employee coming in to run an organization such as FMCA, I have faced quite a learning curve, and I’m sure I have more to learn. Rest assured that in time, I will be well-versed in every aspect of this great association.
For those members who have never visited FMCA’s headquarters on Clough Pike and our facilities at Round Bottom Road, I invite you to stop and see us when you are passing through or if you plan on being in Cincinnati for a particular reason. I know you will be impressed, as I was and still am. Remember, as a member you are entitled to stay two nights free at our Round Bottom Road campground facility, provided that space is available. It is best to call ahead and make sure no chapter rallies or committee meetings are scheduled for the time you plan to visit. Also, please do not visit the Clough Pike office in your motorhome. The parking lot cannot accommodate large vehicles, especially motorhomes towing a car.
Since arriving and working for FMCA, I have made one observation that I want to share with all of you: you are in good hands here at FMCA. The FMCA staff includes some of the most hard-working, dedicated people I have ever met and worked with. They are concerned about the same things you and I are concerned with, and that is, ensuring that members receive the best possible service in every way. They care about you and care about FMCA. It is not just a job to them, but a career to serve a membership that means a lot to them. Whether you know them or not, you are like family to them. That is why the acting national president, with the support of the Executive Board, decided to begin featuring members of our staff in an “Employee Spotlight” segment within FMC magazine each month. The idea is to help you get to know them just a little better.
By the time you read this article, FMCA’s 85th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase in Perry, Georgia, will be history and, hopefully, a huge success. I’m sure that Judy Czarsty’s comment in her column about me wearing my running shoes to keep up will ring true. Although I had been to Perry in March 2007 as a convention participant, Perry 2011 will have been my first convention as your executive director, and I hope I was able to meet many of you.
Throughout the year, I will be writing about many different topics related to FMCA in the executive director’s column. I will also be writing about other topics I believe may be of concern to you. As some of you know, I come from a law enforcement background. I was a detective for most of my career in the New Jersey State Police, investigating everything from simple bad checks, burglaries, and robberies up to homicides. I supervised and conducted complex and confidential internal affairs investigations for more than two years. I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy (188th Session). This is a very prestigious law enforcement academy in Quantico, Virginia, where law enforcement officers from throughout the entire country and all over the world are selected to attend to receive advanced training. I am a certified public manager (CPM), which is recognized throughout the country. My last job was with the State of Florida, Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate, where I held the position of Bureau Chief of Enforcement. Our bureau handled all the complaints that were submitted against licensed real estate brokers, sales associates, and appraisers. We also handled the complaints about people who were not licensed but were trying to sell or rent real estate. I will be writing more about the real estate topic in a future article. My one bit of advice for now “” one that my mother always reminded me about “” would be: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Florida is one of those states where it is “buyer beware.” You can go online at www.myfloridalicense.com to check with the state to see whether you are dealing with a licensed real estate professional.
These days, folks from all walks of life have the dream of owning and traveling across North America and even beyond in an RV. RV travel allows you to stop and see points of interest that you would not see by any other means of travel. Many people these days have come to recognize what a hassle it can be to travel by airplane; i.e., getting to the airport two hours early, paying extra for luggage, waiting in long lines for TSA screening, plane delays, full flights, having no amenities but a soft drink, etc. I know I feel this way.
Many of you have recognized the benefits and enjoyment of the RV lifestyle for years. Now it is time for all of us to spread the word, not only to get people interested in RVing, but to encourage them to join FMCA. Over the years, as I traveled in my motorhome from north to south and vice versa on the East Coast along the Interstate 95 corridor, I have seen many motorhomes not displaying the FMCA goose egg. I can only assume that they are not members of this association. So, I know there are many RVers out there waiting for someone to just come up to them and start conversing about FMCA.
Please invite them to your chapter rally. That is how I became a member of FMCA. A former coworker and acquaintance, Jim, learned I had purchased a motorhome. He asked whether I belonged to any RV associations, which I did not. He and his wife, Ann, invited my wife, Diana, and me to attend a Bay Travelers chapter rally at the Vestal residence in Goldvein, Virginia. We met many great people and had a fantastic time that weekend at the rally. We inquired about joining the chapter and were informed that you must join FMCA first. I was not familiar with FMCA and did not even know what FMCA stood for, but we wanted to join the chapter. So, we became members and have never regretted our decision to join FMCA and be members of the Bay Travelers chapter.
Now, as always, is a good time to be a member of FMCA. To help explain the mission of FMCA, we recently adopted the tagline “Enhancing The Motorhome Lifestyle” and have begun to display it in FMCA’s advertising and on membership applications. FMCA’s membership benefits meet and exceed any other club or association. So, please spread the word and do your part to recruit new members. You’ll be glad you did.
In closing, your leadership at FMCA shares the same values and concerns as each of you. Let’s all work together to make FMCA successful and grow. The entire Executive Board and the staff of FMCA are accessible. You can give any of us a call or send us an e-mail and know someone here is listening and will get back with you. That is the FMCA difference you will not get anywhere else or from any other association. Please keep in mind that being a member of FMCA should be all about having fun and creating lasting friendships. Let’s not forget why we joined in the first place.
From your 50 hard-working staff members here in Cincinnati, we wish every member safe travels. Thank you for allowing us to serve you!