July '17

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62 • RV PRO • July 2017 rv-pro.com O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T ELKHART, Ind. – Helicopter blades cut the wind as passengers buckle into their seats. A momentary jostle later, five passengers are whisked away as the heliport shrinks below. It's from this elevated vantage point – near Interstate 90 and the RV/MH Hall of Fame on Elkhart's north side – that Furrion's new 35,000-square-foot Innovation Center and Insti- tute of Technology (ICIT) comes into view below. Hovering hundreds of feet above the ICIT, Furrion's high-tech emphasis becomes obvious, as glints of sunshine streak across the blue solar panels on the building's rooftop. These industrial panels are part of Furrion's Net-Zero ini- tiative to run 100 percent on renewable energy. Should the building exceed its usage, generators will return power to the grid on, say, weekends or holidays during low power usage and will later draw back from the grid during peak times. This speaks to the technological giant Furrion has become during the past 10 years as a major supplier of cutting-edge kitchen appliances and audiovisual entertainment to the RV and marine industries. In late May, the ribbon cutting of the ICIT marked the company's grandest achievement thus far – a $5 million facility complete with a virtual reality room, a 6,000-square-foot ser- vice bay, a sauna, a heliport, and a 14-foot-tall, 7,700-pound "exobionic" mech suit dubbed the "Prosthesis." Step Inside For the official grand opening of the ICIT, several dozen invited guests gathered in front of the floor-to-ceiling win- dows of the massive facility for opening remarks from company co-founder and CEO Aaron Fidler and Mark Dobson, presi- dent of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County. "I recall the quote you used describing this (facility) as a Google campus," Dobson remarked to Fidler. "Well, I think Google needs to come and learn lessons from you." Fidler used giant ceremonial scissors to cut the grand opening red ribbons at the front of the building before welcoming the crowd inside to view the ultra-modern décor and many tech- nological marvels. In the ICIT, nearly all the walls are glass, and what solid walls there are, are adorned with canvas portraits of celebrities Furrion's new Elkhart R&D facility is designed to usher in a "new era of mobile living" with high-tech electronics, residential-style appliances and more. A 'One-Stop Shop' for Innovation By David MacNeal PHOTO BY DAVID MACNEAL

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