May '16

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28 • RV PRO • MAY 2016 rv-pro.com But Matthew Fidler says the company has plans to keep its customers involved in the process as well. "Part of our training program will involve us flying students and leaders from the Innovation Center from Elkhart to our global locations to educate them on our processes and our product development teams and build up rapport that way," he says. As for production of Furrion goods, a flow chart would look something like R&D takes place at ICIT. Specifications are sent to engineering teams in Hong Kong and China, where prototypes are created and sent back to ICIT for further testing and placement in concept RVs. Feedback is sent from there to wherever manufacturing will take place and the final product is completed. Opening Planned for Feb. 2017 Furrion plans to open ICIT in Feb- ruary 2017 as a fully functional testing facility, innovation center and place of business. "We will be throwing a huge party for the event with many surprises in store," Matthew Fidler says. "I don't want to give to much away right now, but it will be an event to remember. The ICIT will host launch parties and events throughout the year and at Open House Week." When ICIT opens, it could employ up to 80 people including engineers, technicians, sales teams, management, marketing, customer service, business development teams, accounting, training and upper management. Although the job market in Elkhart County has been tight in recent years, with unemployment running well below the national rate, Matthew Fidler says Furrion has no concern about finding the right mix of quality qualified employees to make ICIT function at its highest level. "I think that it will create a positive working environment and attract the best people to work for us," he says. "The Institute of Technology part of the facility will offer internships and training pro- grams for the skills that are not common in Elkhart. With the support of the (Eco- nomic Development Council), we've also begun reaching out to the local tech schools so that we can align our training programs to their curriculum. We will provide hands-on training in the tech lab and perform student lectures in the lecture hall. "There is a lot of potential in Elkhart, especially with so many great schools nearby. Through these programs we can nurture successful careers and enhance the local capacity for innovation." Other Coming Innovations With ICIT construction coming along, Furrion can turn some of its attention onto other projects it has in the works. Anyone who has attended the RV Industry Association's Louisville Show the past two years has seen Furrion's pair of concept vehicles designed to put the company's products on showcase. The fifth wheel and travel trailer soon will be joined by a 42-foot Class A motorhome called Elysium, full of eye- catching – and perhaps even a little bit off-the-wall – ideas and products. "We're developing everything from the end-cap design to the slide-outs to the dash systems," Matthew Fidler says. "We're going to incorporate a lot of new products and a lot of concept products – electrical systems, new audio/visual sys- tems. The unit also will have a staircase up to the top deck where there will be a sun deck and a sun roof and even a heli- copter pad on the back and a helicopter garage. The helicopter can land on top of COMPANY PROFILE

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