Remembering Jay Hesse, CEO Of Blue Ox
The CEO and president of Blue Ox, Jay C. Hesse, died on June 22, 2014, after battling cancer. He was 61.
The parent company of Blue Ox, Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company, makes agricultural products. Jay guided Blue Ox into the RV industry in the 1980s after a downturn in the agricultural industry. He was responsible for identifying many of the market niche needs that make up Blue Ox’s line of products. The company sells base plates, towing accessories, and tow bars for the RV aftermarket.
An active member of the RV industry for the past 30 years, Jay served as president of Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA) in 1996-97, and prior to that he served the association in several officer and director capacities. Jay was involved in the Go RVing Coalition and served on various committees for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). From RVAA he received the Jim Barker Person of the Year award.
Jay also presided on the board of directors for the RV/MH Hall of Fame and served on the technical advisory board for RVIA.
Jay prepared for the continued growth of Blue Ox, a company based in Pender, Nebraska, before he died, making Ellen Kietzmann CEO and president. Ellen’s 20 years of experience with the company, working side by side with Jay and within the industry, has made her uniquely qualified to build on the legacy Jay put in place.
Jay is survived by his wife, Sandy; son, Mike; daughter, Sonja; and five grandchildren.
Book To Benefit KOA Care Camps
A new book filled with 230 photos related to the world’s largest campground system is now available from Schiffer Publishing.
KOA And The Art Of Kamping is a 104-page, full-color, hardcover book full of artwork that Kampgrounds of America has collected and commissioned over the years. This includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and other art forms. The art can be seen in person at the Art of Kamping Gallery located at KOA headquarters in Billings, Montana.
Subjects covered include folk art, humor, whimsy, civic spirit, the KOA-Airstream connection, the commemoration of KOA’s 50th anniversary, and more.
The book was written by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen, lifelong RVers and FMCA members who have authored three previous books about RVing. It is available from the publisher at www.schifferbooks.com for $29.99 or on Amazon.com at a discounted price of $24.52.
All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit KOA Care Camps for children with cancer. KOA’s 55 Care Camps provide a summer camping experience for these children and their siblings. For more information about KOA Care Camps, visit www.koacarecamps.com.
RV Travel On The Upswing
More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months of 2014, heading to the country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends, according to a recent Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners conducted by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and Cvent.
According to the survey, 66 percent of RV owners intended to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent said they would use theirs the same amount. Only 4 percent said they would use their RVs less.
Top reasons cited for increased RV use include taking more mini-vacations (76 percent), enjoying outdoor activities (72 percent), and escaping pressure of the daily routine (52 percent).
An emerging trend in RV usage is to take shorter, more frequent getaways to accommodate busy schedules. According to the survey, 76 percent of RVers planned to take more one- to four-day mini-vacations this travel season.
Three-fourths of survey respondents cited flexibility as a favorite benefit of RV ownership. Survey responses indicted that 65 percent of RV owners bring pets along on trips. Of them, most bring dogs (93 percent) and cats (14 percent). Favorite activities while traveling in an RV include sight-seeing (79 percent), grilling food (76 percent), hiking (63 percent), visiting with family and friends (58 percent), and fishing (55 percent).