— The board of directors of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation today announced the honorees who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in August as the class of 2016.
Jay C. Hesse
In 1985, Jay Hesse became president of Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company, an 85-year-old business founded by his grandfather that manufactured products and equipment for the agricultural market.
The 1980s were a tough time for the company, mostly because it was a tough time for farmers and the agriculture industry. Hesse was looking to diversify and looked at the RV industry. Automatic acquired Hewitt Tubular Products in 1990, and the RV side of Automatic’s business really started to take-off, the release noted.
The line included Blue Ox tow bar assemblies and tow bar accessories, Blue Ox fifth wheel tailgates for full-size pickups and Rock Stopper tandem wheel trailer chocks. Hesse not only proved himself as a businessman, but also, as a dynamic leader, innovator and a generous contributor to industry organizations and causes, both in time and dollars, according to the hall of fame.
He joined and served several industry associations including the Warehouse Distributors Association (WDA). For his outstanding leadership, Hesse was presented with the RV Aftermarket Association’s (RVAA) “Jim Barker Person of the Year Award” in 1998.
He served as a board member and vice president of RV/MH Hall of Fame board of directors from 2011 to 2014, and was actively involved in the Go RVing Coalition.