July '18

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12 • RV PRO • July 2018 RV PRO: Origins J U LY S P E C I A L S E C T I O N ✪ Eric Roberts, Dealer Development Manager, Blue Ox R andy Biles is the owner of Pikes Peak Traveland. I grew up across the street from him and his kids, Eric and Tim. There came a time when I was looking for employment. Randy and I were chatting, and he afterward talked to Tim about hiring me. They hired me, and I absolutely enjoyed working for them. I started in the receiving area and my goal was to do my absolute best to increase their profitability while providing the highest levels of customer care. Working for them was excellent, as they made it possible for me to further my knowledge of the industry through training and going to conventions like RVDA and RVIA. The first show I went to was RVDA. It was eye opening to see the comradery between the dealers and the stories that they had to share. The friendships that were built over years of seeing each other at events like RVDA/RVIA/distributor shows makes you want to be a part of it. A turning point for me came the day Tim pulled me in his office and told me "Eric, I want you to run service also." Before then, giving good customer service was easy. The new challenge of taking care of customers who really didn't want to be there in the first place was new for me. I realized people just want to feel validated that you understand what they need and that you are the best person/place to fulfill those needs. I am most proud of doing what I set out to do, which was to increase the profitability of the parts department and then service department while making sure our customers were satisfied and taken care of how I would want to be taken care of. Jeff Stickfort, Dealer Development Manager, Blue Ox I graduated from college, came back home and applied for a posi- tion at Winnebago. I always remembered my dad talking about Winnebago stock and how he wished he bought it back in the '70s. He also talked about the quality of the company and how it treated its employees. I was a 24-year-old from Iowa who had not traveled much outside that area. I started to travel the states meeting many dealers. I had great mentors that helped me during my years at Winnebago. Wes Lastine in part sales, Ron Hanna at Winnebago Acceptance, and Steve Evenson on the service side. They were all very patient, took interest in my work, and were willing to share their knowledge with me. The first distributor show was Stag-Parkway in the mid- to late- '90s while employed with Ancira Motorhomes. They were smaller shows back then, but I met a bunch of great people and I'm still friends with many today. One of the group of people I met back then was Jay Hesse, Ellen Kietzmann and their Blue Ox team. I was always impressed with the quality of the product, how they treat the dealer network, and the end user of their products. Eventually, it led to a position with them today. In between Winnebago and Blue Ox, I worked for a dealership for 18 years. Crossing over wasn't that hard. I had worked in both the back and front end of the dealership. During my years at the dealership, I had the chance to meet and work with many of the vendors and their reps. Today, I enjoy working with the dealer network in providing the best service I can, along with training and offering quality products.

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