July '18

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Chris Baird, Managing Director, FUSION Entertainment A s part of the team at FUSION, 12 years ago we decided to take on the embedded "car-audio" players in the marine industry and we can confidently say that we are the No. 1 entertainment supplier worldwide to this industry. We entered into the RV market in Australia around eight years ago and from there moved into the U.S. and European markets. My first trade show was the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, Germany. This show really impressed on me the size of our market and the poten- tial to grow a business successfully. Again, I came away thinking that with well-designed and engineered products, you could find success in the RV markets. When I took over a company that was losing money but had the right brand and good marketing, we welded together a strong team of smart individuals who were dedicated, passionate and willing to go the extra mile. About four years ago, we were lucky enough to be purchased by Garmin, which brought its innovative technology and leading manufacturing capa- bilities to FUSION. This is my third business that we experienced strong growth during a Recession and I really hope that we don't have another one before I retire. I'm most proud of taking on major international brands that have been in business for decades and doing that from New Zealand with a very small budget compared to the competition. In business, relationships are as relevant today as they were in the past. It is important to build an organization on the fundamentals of business and focus on growth and sustainability. Luckily in RV and marine, there are great companies that look at the long term and strive to become enduring businesses in the market. Paula DuMont, Manager of Chemical Development, Thetford Corp. I 'd been at an aerosol company for five years when a position came open at Thetford and it represented an interesting new challenge that was also much closer to home. I knew the Thetford name because of an RVer in the family. Still, when you're studying chemistry, you don't imagine ending up at a toilet company. Having grown up on a farm, I wasn't squeamish to work for the industry leader in RV toilets and holding tank products. When I first started, I wanted to be well-versed in the chemistries used at Thetford and in the industry. After all, I have been something of a "mad scientist" since age 6, when I set my mother's sink on fire with a new chemistry set. But chemistry hadn't always been my point of study. Early in college, I switched from studying to be a physician to studying industrial chemistry. I've been fortunate to have many accomplishments so far: playing varsity volleyball for the University of Michigan, being well-published early in my career, having a patent, singing with an orchestra, and talking to 200 people at a rally, which is pretty neat. However, I'd like to think that my best accomplishment is yet to come. 36 • RV PRO • July 2018 RV PRO: Origins J U LY S P E C I A L S E C T I O N ✪

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