CEO, General RV Center
As Chief Executive Officer, Robert Baidas leads the expansion, growth, and investment opportunities for General RV Center. In conjunction with the directors and management teams, Robert heads the strategic planning for the organization in order to keep General RV Center in the forefront of the RV industry.
General RV Center was started by Ambrose “Abe” Baidas in 1962 as a gas station and small utility trailer shop in Detroit, Michigan. Robert, along with his brothers and sister, worked weekends and summers through high school at the gas station and later in the dealership: “We did a little bit of everything from the office to the back of the shop.”
After graduation, Robert’s first entrepreneurial endeavor was a mail-order parts catalog for the growing RV industry that he started along with his wife, Nancy. The catalog became what is now Salem Distributors. Today, Salem Distributors is one of the top 10 largest distributors for the RV industry and continues to be operated by the Baidas family.
In 1991 Robert joined the family business: “We moved a little mom-and-pop business into the 20th century.” Robert played a role in making the decision to move General RV Center to Wixom, as well as branching out and opening multiple locations across the state of Michigan. He implemented computer and accounting systems that allowed General RV to grow into the largest RV dealership in Michigan.
In 2006, General RV Center began expanding outside Michigan and is currently the largest family-owned RV dealership in the country with locations nationwide. With the continual development, the Baidas family formed other standalone companies including finance, insurance and reinsurance. “The growth of our companies are fueled by the people we have working with us, from our management team on down. We all focused on customer service and treating people with respect.”
Currently Robert and his wife of 38 years enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. In his personal time, his enthusiasm for sailboat racing has taken him around the country. As the third generation plays more of role in General RV, the Baidas family is turning its focus to industry and civil concerns along with future expansion of the business.
Robert attended college at the school of business at Western Michigan University and acquired a finance degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1981.
*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.