Class of 2015 Inducted Into RV/MH Hall of Fame

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney

The Class of 2015 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., in a gala ceremony before nearly 350 family members, friends, and colleagues from across the country.

The Class of 2015 includes: Bert V. Alanko, MBA Insurance; Patrica A. Fiederer, Latham Oneota Homes; Sherman Goldenberg, RV Business Magazine; Paul E. Hanser, HWH Corporation; Jerry W. James, Franklin Homes, Inc.; Joe Kelly, Iowa Mfg Housing Association; Richard A. Mendlen, Manufactured Housing: Marlene A. Sine, Marlene Sine & Associates, Inc.; Bill Thomas, and Bill Thomas Camper Sales; Robert West, Affordable Community Living.

Before the induction ceremonies, Hall President Darryl Searer, said in his “Annual State of the Hall” address, “I am extremely happy to report to you that your Hall has continued to improve financially for the third straight year and is now in the best shape it has ever been. It also is my pleasure to report to you that this year the Hall of Fame has continued its upward trend of improving its overall operations.”

Searer reported that the Hall’s debt has been reduced from $5.5 million three years ago to approximately $1.5 million today.

Another bright spot is that two years ago, the Hall borrowed $600,000 from the bank to pay off the commitment made to David Woodworth for the purpose of acquiring his famous antique RV collection. Searer said, “That debt now stands at $75,000 and we expect to eliminate that debt within the next few months.

Spirit Award

Hall chairman and master of ceremonies, Darrel Searer presented the annual Hall of Fame Spirit Award to Don Magary, Hall of Fame member and publisher of RV News.

The Spirit Award is an annual award to honor the person who has demonstrated his or her desire and dedication to further the legacy of our great heritage.

The Class of 2015

Bert Alanko

MBA Insurance of Arizona, Inc.


RV Rental Insurance

In a career of nearly four decades, Bert Alanko developed the first viable and sustainable RV rental insurance for rental dealers so they could rent RVs to consumers without the burden of total liability. Among his achievements, Bert established and hosts the annual MBA Rental School, tailored to dealers and individuals planning on a starting an RV rental business. Since its inception in 1999, the school has educated approximately 1,000 students. As far as volunteerism, few can match his record. For 20 years, he served as chairman of RVDA’s RV Rental Association. He earned the RVDA Chairman’s Service Award and also RVDA’s highest honor, the James B. Summers Award.

Sherman Goldenberg

RV Business Magazine


RV Journalist

For nearly 30 years, Sherman Goldenberg has worked tirelessly to support and promote the RV industry and is known for his journalistic honesty and integrity. He joined RV Business magazine in the mid-1980s as Midwest editor and worked his way up to become editor and then publisher. He is now co-owner and publisher of RV Business and Woodall’s Campground Management magazines and is the only RV trade journalist to receive both RVIA’s ‘David Humphreys RV Unity Award’ and the ‘Distinguished Service in Journalism Award.’ He has been the driving force of the successful RV Industry Power Breakfast and helped create the “RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards” program, developed to recognize the nation’s best RV dealers.

Paul Hanser

HWH Corporation



Paul Hanser is an engineer, inventor, innovator and a manufacturer of quality products unparalleled in the RV industry. He pioneered using computerized hydraulics to level RVs, and has developed many more quality products since 1967. He holds more than 56 patents. His volunteer works include writing and editing a hydraulics manual for the RVIA and was instrumental in helping the RVIA develop the CAN specifications and language. He also provided training for thousands of technicians in basic and advanced hydraulics as well as electronics. Universally known and respected for this honesty, fairness and hard work, Paul Hanser is thought of by many in the industry as an engineering rock star and a visionary entrepreneur.

Marlene Sine

Marlene Sine and Associates


Manufacturer’s Agent

As the first RV industry woman manufacturer’s agent, Marlene Sine introduced thousands of products to the industry by educating and training others on how to promote products to the distributor, dealer and consumer. In her more than 50-year career, she volunteered thousands of hours to serve and support many industry associations such as WDA, RVAA, MARVAC, and RVIA, and she’s a driving force of the professionalism in today’s aftermarket. In addition to being manufacturer’s agent, she’s also an aftermarket parts and accessories store owner and developed new products for the industry as a supplier. Marlene earned the respect of her colleagues as a person with the highest degree of honesty and integrity.

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas Camper Sales


RV Dealer

As founder of Bill Thomas Camper Sales in St. Louis, Bill has been a leader in the St. Louis RV community helping organize and manage the Missouri RVDA and the St. Louis RV Dealers. His more than 48 years as a dealer pays tribute to his integrity, and respect he’s earned among the thousands of customers he’s served over the years. His volunteer work through RVDA is nearly unprecedented. He has held virtually every elected position within the association including a term as national chairman. He is one of the co-founders of the RVDA Education Fondation. RVDA honored Bill with its highest recognition bestowing upon him the prestigious ‘James B Summer Award.’

Patricia Fiederer

Latham Homes of Oneonta New York

New York

MH Dealer and Park Developer

Patricia is respected and admired by her peers for her high level of professionalism, trust and an unwavering commitment to her customers and the industry. Since 1972, Patricia has worked at Latham Homes of Oneonta New York and now serves as president. She has also been the park developer of several MH communities. Her volunteer work includes being a member of the New York Housing Association for 40 years and on its board of directors for 33 years. She served in all executive and leadership positions from president to secretary and treasurer; and she served on the Town Of Worcester Planning Board for more than 20 years. She was inducted into the New York Housing Association Hall of Fame in 1997.

Jerry James

Franklin Homes


MH Manufacturer

Jerry W. James, who founded Franklin Homes in Russellville, Alabama, is a man of vision and leadership ability. For more than four decades, he has been both a trailblazer and innovator, pressing manufactured housing forward to reach its full potential, and offering homes that are not only affordable, but also renowned throughout the industry for their advanced designs and features. Jerry worked tirelessly to improve and promote manufactured homes serving on the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission, as well as the boards of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and the Southeast Manufactured Housing Institute.

Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association


Association Executive

As executive director of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA) for over 33 years, Joe Kelly is universally respected by members, home owners as well as Iowa legislators for his innovative leadership and service to the industry in Iowa. Joe is responsible for 114 changes Iowa laws that support the MH industry and ensure access to safe, affordable housing for Iowa’s working class. A few of his notable accomplishments include reduction of sales/use tax on pre-owned manufactured homes to zero percent, de-regulation of mobile home parks, and tax reductions for low income, elderly or disabled MH homeowners. In 2009, Joe was the recipient of the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s ‘Spirit Award’ that recognizes individuals that have made significant contributions to the Hall of Fame through their service.

Richard A Mendlen

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Washington DC

Government Administrator

Rick Mendlen served with integrity and professionalism during his four decades of service at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As the chief engineer in the Office of Manufactured Housing, Rick was the primary author of the HUD Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards, which became effective in 1976 and contributed immensely to the high quality and acceptance of manufactured housing as a significant source of single family housing in our nation. Rick was the government’s ambassador to the manufactured housing industry. Above all, Rick has always strived to create standards for a safe and durable product while also allowing for innovation and creativity within the industry.

Robert West

Fuqua Homes/ California Manufactured Housing Institute


MH Manufacturer and Association Executive

As a manufacturer, a founding board member of the California Manufactured Housing Institute (CHMI) and board member of the national Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Robert West’s laudable accomplishments cover nearly four decades. As president of Fuqua Homes, and later, Westway Homes, in California, Robert’s products were not only known and respected for their quality and innovative designs, but also for their standard-setting commitment to customer service. In 1995, he became president of CMHI and successfully led the association until his retirement in 2004. For his many contributions he was the recipient of CMHI’s highest honor in 1985, the Jack E. Wells Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.