February '18

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32 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T its biggest year. Crawford worked 16 to 18 hour days to keep up, he says. Then, Torklift's manufacturing facility moved to Sumner from Kent, Wash., around 2010. Like Bonita, he asked to be trained up from plasma cutting to a managerial role running an internal division of Torklift's production unit, and later in sales as the EcoHitch came into fruition in 2011. "I'm a person who likes to have their hands on everything," Crawford says. "I do well with challenge – that's one of my gifts." After overseeing shipping and produc- tion for five years, and raising up another manager, Jack Kay approached Crawford and offered him the job of vice president. That kind of investment in employees continues today. Torklift executives bring classes taught at the SEMA Show to employees. It's part of the thousands of hours teaching marketing and leadership to employees. As a requirement, new employees read, or at least listen to the audiobook of Earl Nightingale's Lead the Field. No, there's no book report. Torklift does, however, ask employees to take a written test afterward to ensure they did read it. "We want to look at people's gifts and talents, and where they have the oppor- tunity for growth," Crawford says. "We have a long list of curriculums that tar- gets human relations." Outside of SEMA classes, employees are shown ways to better communicate to one another and influence people positively. Each employee is prescribed a custom curriculum that Torklift believes will harness their strengths and exploit new potential. "Ninety-nine percent of the time our goals that we give people have nothing to do with physical, mechanical work aspect," Crawford says. "It is all personal growth." All of that ceaseless encouragement has a very direct, underlying message: Take my job. "You can read a book and you can take a test and you can pass it," Craw- Torklift founder Jon Kay and his wife, Peggy, founded the business in 1976. Torklift produced tie-downs and turnbuckles in its early days before branching out to manufacture a variety of RV products, including steps and handrails, towing products and the Stableload vehicle suspension system. Torklift's theme for 2017 was "Simplify", as emblazoned in this large steel sign placed in the shop. The company's goal was to concentrate on in-house efficiencies, machinery acquisition and adding to its growing workforce. PHOTO BY DAVID MACNEAL

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