September '15

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62 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2015 rv-pro.com V ariety may be the spice of life, but for towing accessories maker Blue Ox, it's also a proven way to bring more customers – from both in and outside of the RV market – to the doors of its dealers. "The one thing we have tried for the last eight years is to get the message across that we're not just a tow bar company anymore," says CEO and President Ellen Kietzmann, who took the reins of the northeastern Nebraska manufacturer led by the late Jay Hesse. "I think that we're finally making headway, and that was Jay's dream all along: To make sure that we were very diversified in a variety of different products." Hesse, a prominent industry figure who passed away in 2014 after a long illness, joined the company then known as Auto- matic Equipment Manufacturing in the 1980s. The business, started 90 years ago this October by Hesse's grandfather, made products for the agriculture industry. Unfortunately, the 1980s were a Big Blue Ox The Pender, Neb.-based supplier continues to grow by developing new products and seeking out new markets. By Mike Harbour PHOTOS COURTESY OF BLUE OX Above: Blue Ox CEO and President Ellen Keitzmann assumed the top spot at the company in 2014, succeeded industry veteran Jay Hesse, who passed away. Top: From its offices in northeastern Nebraska, Blue Ox has become a major player in the towing market.

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