In a few weeks, I will be departing for the southern United States for nearly 2 months to become an Advanced Certified RV Technician.
It’s not every day an Engineer leaves his Ivory Tower, padded office chair and ergonomic mouse to become a blue-collar fix-it man. So what gives? Am I undergoing a masculine midlife crisis, or is there something deeper at work?
Now, I have never referenced my personal-professional life on this blog, and I don’t intend to start now (also why I write under a pseudonym). But if you’ve read my About Me page, here’s what I’ve written about the RV industry:
“The industry suffers from lackluster reliability of the supply chain, a chaotic distributed warranty system, insufficient dealer technical training, and a race for the lowest price.
“Now … I work 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.
“And ultimately, it’s the customers who pay.”
Over the past two years of growing this blog, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a lot of my Readers. Most of you are (rightfully) frustrated with the RV industry, and many of you are further frustrated with the RV itself. Why do tires blow out, water lines freeze, door hinges droop, windows sweat, mattresses mold, sealants peel, batteries die, sewer slinkies stink, walls delaminate, and roofs leak? Why can your house endure for centuries and your car trundle along for 200,000 miles with minimal maintenance, but your RV can’t make it to Grandma’s and back without blowing a fuse?
Let me be the first to say: We can do better. Yes, I know the RV industry faces unique challenges. But I don’t doubt for a second that we – the OEMs and suppliers and dealers – can raise the bar. We can do better!
… I can do better.
Hence, my departure for the Land of Sun. I’m going to the other side of the tracks. There’s no better way for me to become a better RV design engineer than to fix other engineers’ mistakes, is there?
Plus, as a design engineer, there are certain practical holes in my knowledge I’d like to fill. For instance, I know very little about awnings. I’d like to learn more. I know a lot about tires and axles; not so much about hydraulic leveling systems. While I am a camper trailer owner myself, I’ve never owned a 40-ft 5th wheel. And you can only learn so much from factory tours, campgrounds and RV shows, after all.
How long will I remain an RV Technician? I have no idea – between 1 and 5 years? I’m excited about the opportunity. And even though I will be leaving my job as a lead design engineer employed by an RV manufacturer, I will still call myself “The RV Engineer” because the “The RV Engineer-Turned-Temporary-RV-Technician” lacks a certain panache, doesn’t it?
Most importantly (I flatter myself), this blog isn’t going anywhere. I will continue to post content and grow this free resource. I welcome you to join me on this new chapter of AskTheRVEngineer.com. I’m excited to share my newfound knowledge with you. You’re the reason I have a job (past and future). Thanks for reading!
Continue to The RV Engineer Goes to RV Tech School (Part 2)!