Kampgrounds of America Inc.

Pat Hittmeier Reflects On 38 Years With KOA

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"It was a very male - dominated place with a lot of focus on the details of this business," he remembers. "There was certainly a division between the Company Owned Properties and the Franchising sides of the busi ness, but they really worked toward the single purpose of building more campgrounds." In the early 1980s, KOA was nearing the end of an intense phase of new construction and development. In fact, most KOA University classes for new owners focused on how t o build a campground, and very little on park operations. "It was a very transitional time for this company," Hittmeier said. KOA CEO Darrell Booth had died in 1979, Art Peterson had taken over as CEO and new owner Oscar Tang had just taken the company pri vate. KOA had also purchased the Sir Speedy Company out of bankruptcy, and longtime KOA executive Don Lowe left for California to take over that firm. "Up until then, KOA had been a sales - oriented company, but it quickly transitioned into a marketing compa ny as we rolled into the 1980s," Hittmeier said. "There were a lot of staff transitions. They were hiring new people and setting up a new structure." By January 1983, Hittmeier had been named Assistant to the Vice President of Franchise Services, and then transitioned into the same position for the Company Owned Properties Division in 1984.

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