Ron Lichtsinn, Owner and Dealer Principal of Lichtsinn RV was featured in the July issue of RV Pro Magazine. The July special edition featured the “origins” of several professionals in the RV industry. You can see a digital copy of the issue here.
Ron Lichtsinn, Owner and Dealer Principal Lichtsinn RV
My father, who at that time owned a GM dealership in Forest City, Iowa, started selling Winnebago conversion vans in 1979 after a conversation and a handshake with John K. Hanson (Winnebago Industries Founder). I grew up in the business. I started by doing odd jobs, including detailing RVs in 1984. I left the business in 1989 when I went to college, then had a career in public accounting and then in financing for Pillsbury Inc. in its previous headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. I then came back to the family business in 2001, moving back to Forest City with my wife and buying the dealership from my father. I looked at the future of the RV industry, looking at demographics, and the number of baby boomers entering retirement. I knew there was a huge opportunity in the RV business. When I came back in 2001, I brought the entire team of Lichtsinn Motor employees together (at that time, a total of 13 including GM and RV employees) and explained I wanted to continue to build upon what my father had already started and become the true force in the RV industry. During the recession in 2008 was a very challenging time. We sell to guests throughout the country, so we saw the struggles of our guests in the places hardest hit, like California. We saw our friends and neighbors lose their jobs at Winnebago Industries. During this time, we evaluated what we needed to do to help insulate dealership family from events like this. We evaluated processes, everything from every touch point in guest interactions to our lender partners, we brought down to the very basic level and focused on improving these processes every step of the way. We focused on parts and service, increasing our staffing and our facility. We focused on training our entire team not only on their specific job skill requirements, but on guest service, focusing on internal and external guests. This groundwork is the foundation for what we continue to do each and every day. With the team of Lichtsinn employees, we have taken Lichtsinn Motors, with a staff of 13 (GM and RV) and average Winnebago Motorhome sales, to a team of 40 at Lichtsinn RV, in a new state-of-the-art RV facility built in 2014. We have been the largest volume Winnebago parts dealer in the country for the past several years and for the past four years we have achieved the Top Winnebago Dealer in North America award.