RV PRO

July '18

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42 • RV PRO • July 2018 RV PRO: Origins J U LY S P E C I A L S E C T I O N ✪ Matt Clauss, National Sales Manager, Aftermarket, Lippert Components D uring my time as a board member at The Boys and Girls Club of Elkhart County, I met and had the opportunity to work with Jason Lippert. I never seriously thought about getting into the industry, until he asked me about it one day. LCI was just forming a new aftermarket division, and my sales back- ground and energy were perfect fits. I like to say the RV industry found me. My early goal was just to prove that I belonged. As an industry new- comer, I knew that I needed to gain as much knowledge and education as quickly as possible. So, I dedicated myself to studying, asking questions, and being involved. I probably drove my manager, Steve Paul, crazy in that first year. My first big introduction was at the RV Aftermarket Association meeting in New Orleans with Steve Paul. Setting up a hotel room with products to display, and then going through 20-minute meetings and presentations with warehouse distributors, one after another all day like you're at a speed dating event was mind blowing. I remember when I made my first LCI seminar presentation at a show all by myself; I'm not sure I've been more nervous in my life. But I realized I knew exactly what I was talking about, and that I had information to help these guys grow their business. With the confidence and support of my team members, the presentation went great and now it's tough to get me off a stage when given the chance to speak. Earning the opportunity to lead a team is so rewarding. I'm so blessed and thankful. Being promoted to national sales manager for our outside sales team is the highlight of my career. It helped validate the hard work and effort I've put in and is a humbling moment in my professional life. Braden R. Weldy, General Manager, Lippert Components I n 2014, after leading some of the finest members of our U.S. Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams, I was seeking an opportunity to bring my U.S. Navy leadership experiences back to my home community. Near the end of my two-year MBA program at Notre Dame, I wanted to be a part of a new team that was growing, taking on new challenges. My goal was to create value within the company that I started with, truly leveraging the broad experiences I had garnered from my time in the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal community, as well as the education from my graduate degree. I grew up in Elkhart County, but I never really knew how big the RV industry was, what it really meant to the community, nor what it was like being a part of it. I have found out that it is dynamic, fast-paced, challenging, and full of great opportunities. The opportunity to take a leadership role as a general manager has been a great challenge and afforded even more great experiences to me as a leader. I absolutely enjoy leading, coaching, and mentoring my team, and am also challenged to always be a better leader, person, father, brother, son, and member of our community. Serving our amazing country in the Armed Forces, within a community of dedicated team members whom are rarely recognized for their skill and risk they take executing their mission is the highlight of my life. Many people are not able to serve, and many who do serve do not come home. I have been given the opportunity to serve, to return home, to give back, and with all my experiences, to have and grow a family, and be a citizen of our great country.

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