No Longer an Alias! Farewell, “Ross”!

I’m not as young as I look, unfortunately.

I started this blog under a private pen name. Here’s how I used to introduce myself:

Hey, I’m Ross.*

*Actually, I’m not. But as a professional in the RV industry, I use a pseudonym. Names-changed-to-protect-the-innocent-and-avoid-junk-mail and all that. I’m not cut out for celebrity; the paparazzi give me the willies.

Plus, having an alias makes me sound like a Mission-Impossible agent, infiltrating manufacturing plants and dealer parking lots in pursuit of closely guarded industry secrets, and that sounds a lot more badass than “RV blogger, Anon.”

You can read the details of my personal story below (it’s full of gun runners, scantily clad women, fireball explosions, and other typical how-I-became-an-engineer origin stories).

I wrote under an alias because at the time I was employed by an RV manufacturer, and I preferred to keep my digital life separate. Since then, I’ve returned to self-employment, and I’d rather write under my own name in perpetuity. Living a double life is so stressful!

Confession: The RV industry has not kept pace with modern manufacturing.

I love RVs, and I love the RV industry. But IMHO, the industry has some problems: lackluster reliability of the supply chain, a chaotic distributed warranty network, insufficient dealer technical training, rushed design engineering (cough, cough), and a race for the lowest price.

Now, we can’t point the finger at one or two companies. It’s an organic, cyclical problem. Anyone who wants to crucify a single company is missing the forest for the trees. 

Lots of companies are bucking the trend. They work hard to introduce new technologies and overhaul their supply chains. I’ve worked with (and for) some excellent companies that couldn’t be more honest, hardworking, and customer-centric.

But when the bulk of the industry is controlled by a dozen companies, progress remains slow. We’re toddlers, not sprinters.

Ultimately, it’s the customers who pay.

  • RV sales people are primarily hired for their ability to close the deal.
  • RV service dealerships have 3, 4, even 6-month waiting lists!
  • Most RVs are not designed for year-round, long-term use in 4-season climates. Warranty claims are rampant.
  • Your $40 Bluetooth headphones come with more comprehensive instructions than a $40,000 RV!

How this blog helps you, the RV owner.

  1. You now have direct access to an industry insider! Read my column, my blog posts, or send me an email. I love hearing from my readers.
  2. Secondly, the purpose of this blog is to demystify some of an RV’s workings. Not sure what the difference is between a converter and an inverter? I have an article for that!
  3. Thirdly, as most of you know, RV mods can become an addiction. This is your home-away-from-home; for some of you full-timers, it’s home, sweet home. This blog has a metric tonne of information about popular mods, how-to’s, and product upgrades.

How did I get into RVs anyway?

I built my first camper when I was 17. I saw somebody selling a homemade teardrop camper for nearly $20,000 on eBay, and I said to myself, “I could do that, and pay my college tuition besides!”

So I borrowed my parent’s jigsaw, palm sander and corded drill, and I got to work. I built the teardrop camper on a 4×8 “Harbor Freight special,” made every mistake in the book, spent $2,500 and sold it for $4,000 (a bit shy of my original target) – and then spent the next 10 years feeling bad for selling the harebrained contraption at all.

Eventually, I became a design engineer and engineering manager at a medium-sized travel trailer manufacturer (hence my moniker, “The RV Engineer”). I hobnobbed with hundreds of distributors, OEMs, and suppliers. I spent time drawing CAD models and floorplans, maintaining NFPA code compliance, writing CNC programming, working with modelmakers and mechanical designers, and assisting with supply chain management.

In April 2023, I voluntarily left my position to pursue self-employment as an advanced RV service and repair technician (The RV Engineer Goes to Tech School, Part 1). But I keep “The RV Engineer” moniker because, well, rebranding is expensive. Plus, I like to think of myself as more “RV field engineer” than “RV technician” (The RV Engineer Goes to Tech School, Part 2). 

Most of my professional design experience is in towables, although as a technician I often work on motorhomes. (Confession: I secretly yearn to convert my own Class B van and become a #vanlife bum). And I’ve camped over a thousand days of my life in everything from a bivy sack to a pop-up, from a travel trailer to a van, from mountains to beaches and everything in between. If you want to know more about what I do/did, you can read A Day In the Life of an RV Engineer.

Over the years, I’ve made many, many mistakes. Some big, some bigger, some shameful. Hopefully, I’ve learned something valuable from each one. Engineers have a reputation for being stubborn as mules (not undeserved, I admit), but as someone both blue- and white-collar, I hope I can share my experiences from both sides of the desk. 

Noodling on a problem?

Send me an email. I don’t have time to answer every question that comes my way, but I’ll try to assist with your technical issues.*

*There is a catch, of course. I get boatloads of email every day. I’m still training Clone Ross to answer my/his emails correctly, so in the meantime, if you want a GUARANTEED ANSWER to your question …

Just sign up for my email list.

You can do it right here:

You’ll get an email every 1-2 weeks:

  • Highlighting new RV mod and upgrade products
  • Helpful RV and camping travel tips
  • Stories of successful RV owners like yourself!

And you can unsubscribe at any time. There’s a little blue button at the bottom of every email. You’ll hurt my feelings, but I’ll recover with time and therapy.

Helpful Links

I know everyone wants to skip over the legalese, but it’s actually really important stuff!

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