July '18

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Don Gephart, Marketing Manager, REV Group I was hired by Fleetwood as a temp in the summer of 2002. I started in the paint department and have been with the company for more than 15 years now. Originally, I was just looking for a job that paid well and had security; I wasn't looking for anything permanent. I honestly didn't think the job would last long. I enjoyed the paint process and quickly learned all aspects of it that I could. I was hired on permanent just a few months later. My first show was a Fleetwood rally in 2011. It was a great experience meeting our customers firsthand and interacting with them. My first industry event was the RVIA National Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., in 2013. This also was a great learning experience. A turning point for me came in 2009, when the industry had a big down- turn and the Recession hit. I decided to go back to school and earn a degree. I tried working full-time while attending classes and it just wasn't working. In 2011, I transferred to the marketing department as an intern. I started out as a graphic designer helping any way I could while attending classes. In 2015, I was promoted to marketing manager. I put myself through college during one of the most chaotic times for the industry. I worked really hard to learn everything I could both in class and at work. I wanted to make myself valuable to the company: To start out in produc- tion as a temporary employee and now to be in management is something I am pretty proud of. To this day, I try to be a sponge and to learn and soak up all the knowledge that I can. We have some great industry veterans here at REV that are a great source for growth and learning. Dean Wiltshire, Manager and Founder, Colorado Teardrops I n the summer of 2011, my 11-year-old daughter and I tent camped from Boulder, Colo., to Kauai. By Day 7, we arrived at Yellowstone. Next to our site was a sign nailed to a tree, "Danger Bear Activity, Do Not Cross!". That morning when we left Yellowstone, we heard on the radio that a grizzly had killed a hiker. We were heading up Glacier National Park next, but based on this report, we changed our minds and headed west instead of north. Driving my Honda Accord Crosstrek, I started to think we needed a light, hard-shell towable. At the time, I couldn't find a decent teardrop to buy. My goal, when we first started was just to build a teardrop for personal use. As the son of a British boat maker and carpenter, I had the skills. I applied those skills and built a teardrop. Our first camping trip, we stopped by a local grocery store to load up on supplies for our camping trip. When we came out, people were all around our teardrop and one couple opened the doors and were sitting inside. Our first formal showing was at McGuckin Hardware, a Boulder, Colo., local hardware store. We joined their "Camping Expo" and had a place in the center of the store. Their marketing manager shared the post of our showing. It was the largest social media views and interaction for the store, ever. We were on to something. For our first teardrops, we didn't know the quality of components or manufacturing. So, we started with a rental fleet. I interviewed rental customers to see what they liked, what they didn't like and how they'd make it better. That led to the incredible model line of light, tough, well-insulated teardrop trailers. 54 • 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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