THE HISTORY OF THE FLEETWOOD MOTORHOME ASSOCIATION
To understand the full history of FMA one must go back in time as far as 2001 when Fleetwood hired Dawn Fann as Marketing Manager and Liaison person for FW Club activities. At that time there were only three FW motor home brand associated clubs including Bounder, American Coach and Discovery. There were no clubs for the full line of RV owners. Fleetwood management recognized that their major competitors had an active club that included all models they manufactured. Dawn Fann was charged with the task to create such a club for Fleetwood.
After a lengthy and careful assessment of the customer base and market conditions FW Management made the decision in 2002 to organize a new club called “Club Fleetwood”. This was to be a manufacturer operated club and a commercial consulting firm was hired to manage the operation and activities of the club. After less than two years this proved to be an unsuccessful endeavor and FW began to look for alternatives. Ray Easter & Sam Whitaker served on the advisory board for Club Fleetwood.
Dawn Fann found a potential alternative evolving within the Avion Travelcade Club (ATC). ATC was a long standing major owner operated RV Club that had been in existence for nearly fifty years. Due to the discontinuance of the manufacturing of Avion products and the aging demographics of its membership, ATC was rapidly losing its membership and was destined for demise. Sam Whitaker was in line to become President of ATC in April 2005 and made the recommendation to Dawn Fann that Club Fleetwood merge with ATC. After much effort on the part of all parties and thoughtful persuasion of the FTC membership, the task of combing ATC and Club Fleetwood into one club called FTC was completed in July 2005.
During these formative years Fleetwood continued to manufacture more and more models of motor homes. They introduced the Expedition, Excursion, Providence, Revolution and numerous other Class C models for which there was no motor home specific club for owners to join. Numerous owners began to approach Dawn Fann about forming a motor home specific association. In 2004 and 2005 an effort was actively underway to create a Fleetwood Motorhome Owners Association. Ray Easter was being solicited by many owners and in 2005 Dawn Fann approached Ray to take on the task. With the full support and commitment of Dawn Fann and Fleetwood management that the new association would be an independent association with financial support from Fleetwood, in August of 2005 Ray agreed to take the leadership role.
Ray Easter's first task was to form an advisory committee to assist with the formation of the association. Sam Whitaker, Dan Gilmore, Pete Pizzano, Larry Crisp, Gary Stratford, Ron Haworth and Dawn Fann served on the committee. Due to the recent formation of the Fleetwood Travelcade Club, it was decided to affiliate the motor home association with FTC. This would allow the association to operate within the legal framework and operating procedures of FTC without duplicating this effort. The new association was to be named the Fleetwood Motorhome Owners Association (FMOA). Dan Gilmore and Ray Easter developed the By Laws for the new association which defined the organizational structure, and officer responsibilities.
In October 2005 Ray attended the FTC Rendezvous in Bloomington, ILL and presented to the Governing Board of FTC a proposal to establish the Fleetwood Motorhome Owners Association within the framework of FTC. Amazingly, this concept was met with much disapproval on the part of the FTC general membership although the officers supported it. It seemed that there was lingering displeasure over the merging of Club Fleetwood with the Avion Travelcade Club. Nevertheless the proposal was approved and voting on the full acceptance of the association and its By Laws was postponed until the next FTC Rendezvous scheduled for Rayne, LA in the spring of 2006.
At the Rayne, LA board meeting approval of the By Laws was postponed again until the fall of 2006. After learning that being affiliated with FTC, the FMOA would not be able to operate as an independent association and have independent financial support from Fleetwood, and the fact the FTC continued to delay approval of the By Laws, Ray Easter took the following action. In a meeting with Dawn Fann, Sam Whitaker, Pete Pizzano and the President and Vice President of FTC, Ray recommended that FMOA withdraw its proposed affiliation with FTC and become an independent association.
After leading the association’s development from the onset, in June of 2006 due to personal family and business issues, Ray Easter resigned from his leadership role and left the transition to an independent association to the leadership of Sam Whitaker who had volunteered to be President of the association.
In September, 2007 Ron and Carolyn Haworth and Bob and Margaret Harker submitted a proposal to Fleetwood personnel which resulted in the formation of an independent motor home organization with financial support from Fleetwood RV. This organization was renamed the Fleetwood Motorhome Association (FMA) and Sam Whitaker agreed to be President. The governing documents for the association were prepared and approved by the interim Board of Directors in May, 2008.
What started as a vision in 2001 became reality in 2008. The efforts of many people over several years culminated in the creation of the Fleetwood Motorhome Association, an organization open to owners of all motor homes built by Fleetwood and American Coach, an organization supported by Fleetwood RV, and an organization dedicated to providing value to its members.