July '18

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RV PRO: Origins July 2018 • RV PRO • 33 Jeremy Chase, President, Laurelhurst Distributors I started my career in the RV i n d u s t r y d u r i n g t h e summer of 1988, my junior year of high school. My grandfather, Mark Chase, operated a heating and air con- ditioning shop that had moved from mobile home specialty into the RV sector and needed some grunt help. Everyone has to start somewhere, so I eagerly took the position as a summer installer of air conditioners, refrigerators, water heaters, runner for parts, clean up the mess and pick up tools helper. This continued through col- lege and ended once I graduated college and moved off to the cor- porate world for a spell. During this time, Laurelhurst had mor- phed a bit more into being a supplier of parts, not just service. My grandfather was an ace at mobile home appliances and Ed Sheppard, the service manager, was building a reputation in the RV market as the "go-to" guy when you need technical help. The combination of their combined knowledge were the building blocks of us being more than just a shop, but now we were becoming better known as a supplier. My father, Jerry Chase, started working at the shop around 1985 taking care of bookkeeping, but also helped to build the shipping and receiving side of the company. Unfortunately, he passed away at the young age of 45. Before his passing he and my grandfather asked me to come back to the company and help continue building the company into something more. In 1995, I came back to Laurelhurst and began working on building a catalog and working the phones to help with taking orders, ordering parts, and building relationships with our vendors and customers. My grandfather passed away at the age of 91 in 2011. He had never retired and was still coming in daily up until he became ill. At the point of his passing, I took over as president. During my time with the company, I have watched us grow out of a garage into something much more, using every nook and cranny until bursting at the seams. We have gone from a company of four people to 20-plus and from five product lines to 75 lines and still growing. I firmly believe in continuing to build upon and carrying on the tradition of what got us to where we are now. We take pride in knowing our product lines, the product functions, and giving tech support for the OEM product lines we supply and giving the best customer service we can offer. Like others in the industry, I started on the ground floor and have given my blood (68 stitches when building our shop in 1990) sweat and tears to get where I am now and would happily do it all over again. Jeremy Chase (left in both photos) pictured with grandfather, Mark Chase, and wife, Kim.

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