July '18

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16 • RV PRO • July 2018 RV PRO: Origins J U LY S P E C I A L S E C T I O N ✪ A fter completing college, studying business and marketing, I moved back to my small hometown in Manitoba. In rural Manitoba, I wasn't expecting to find a position in my field in short order. However, I found ICON quickly. The company was offering a paid internship for the term. I applied and interviewed with John Loewen, the company's founder/president. I toured the plant with him and talked about the direction of the company. It seemed like the company was already liked and known in the industry, so I jumped at the opportunity to help expand on that. I think I may have made an impression in my first year, as the internship completed, and John kept me on to manage the eCommerce and marketing. I was keen on helping to continue to expand the marketing of the ICON and AeroShield brands. I wanted to see the customer service of ICON modernized with new tools and insights. I spent a lot of time working directly with customers to get a feel for their needs. John and my predecessor had laid a lot of inroads in that respect – so the main idea was to expand on the current strategies and make ICON a findable resource for RVers and dealers. Eventually, my goal was to overhaul of the brand including logo, website and eCommerce software to help with the expanding business. A turning point for me was helming the technical and creative process of our 2015 catalog in-house. We just finished closing on our 20th Anniversary Catalog and I'm very proud of the result and how well the process works. That catalog and the Lookup-Our-Skirts.com initiative are two of the biggest achievements I had a part in. They've both been immensely successful in terms of providing resources to our customers and advertising/marketing our brands. Howard Sawatzky, Production Manager, ICON Technologies I n 1993, I was working as a plumber and installing air makeup units at the Leisure Travel Vans facility. I also had a home-based business building custom kitchen cabinets and restoring antique furniture. I submitted a portfolio of some of my work and was offered a job at Leisure the next day. However, I took a substantial pay cut. As a family, we had to make several sacrifices to make ends meet. I set a goal for myself to be running the cabinet shop in two years. Within the first three months, I had rede- signed the assembly and construction methods and 18 months after starting, I oversaw the cabinet division. In late 2003/ early 2004, I had a conversation with John Loewen over breakfast. He was looking for someone to help run his facility. I thought it over and declined, telling him the timing didn't feel right on my part. I had just accepted a position in the leading cabinet manufacturer as a process engineer and felt I needed to follow this path. Fast forward seven years and fate left me without a job. I remembered my conversation with John and called him to see if he wanted to revisit the offer. We met for lunch and, over the course of the next three hours, a deal was made. I've never looked back. I am most proud of the place I work, the freedom I'm given to do my job, and the people that I get to work with. We've worked very hard to build a positive culture and have hand-selected each employee more so for their personality than the skills they bring to the table. The result is a group that works well together and understands each other's strengths and weaknesses. We have a strong work ethic and it shows in the caliber of our employees. Jordan Martindale, Marketing Manager, ICON Technologies I was a farmhand during my school years on a potato farm. I loved running the equipment and didn't mind the labor aspect of that job, but it was hard to do when it was -10 or -15 degrees outside. I wanted a full-time job not on the farm because I hated farm hours and seasonal work. I also wanted a job working with wood. Right after I graduated from high school I started looking for a job. I applied and went for an inter- view at ICON Technologies and two weeks later I was hired. At that point, it was more of a job where I was looking to make a good paycheck. I never expected to be there five years, let alone 20! When I first started, the owner and partner were the only employees at ICON. I was their first full-time employee hire. In 2002, we moved out of the original building and by 2004/2005 I became the production super- visor of the entire facility. Since moving again in 2018 to a larger facility, my role has expanded from being on the floor 100 percent of my day to adding in a lot more time in the office. I am proud of the fact that I oversee every single project that flows through the manufacturing facility. I like to make sure it's done right. Even if it's not my favorite order/project, I give 100 percent attention to every order we get in and take ownership of making sure it's met with speed and accuracy. My favorite part of ICON is its people. A job is a job, but the people I work with make all the difference. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities and knowledge I've gained from working at this company for 20 years. John Fehr, Production Supervisor, ICON Technologies

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