June '18

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64 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T but instead were fixing what they had. One year, sales almost doubled, he says. Still, Pines RV is a small operation. Miller's company keeps up with the work with a crew of six, including himself. One worker mostly does the welding, another sandblasts, paints, pressurizes and tests the units, while yet another does the foam packs and gets the units ready to ship. Two of those employees are sons Derek, 22, and Jared, 17. "I'm just floating around here keeping everything going," Miller says of his role in the process. "I like to do a little bit of everything. … I guess you could call me the maintenance man. I troubleshoot and fix it. "I kind of like to keep my nose in all the different things to make sure every- thing's working properly and producing like it should," he adds. "I like to have my hands dirty and work." Pines RV Refrigeration has expanded five or six times in the 15 years that Miller has owned the company. "The first building that I worked in was a 24-by-44-foot building, 1,056 square feet," he says. Now, after an expan- sion for a loading dock was completed a few months ago, the company has more than 20,000 square feet in two buildings. One building is an office-warehouse, and the other is the production building. At Home on the Range Pines RV is based on the 40-acre family farm where he grew up and where he lives with his wife, Lisa, and their six children. Every time Miller wants to expand, he has to go through the county variance process. "I could keep on building, but there might be a time when we move every- thing to a more commercial, bigger building," he says. "But I kind of like it here. It's my home. "I can remember when we had dairy cows that we milked and 15 acres of hay and corn that we grew every year," he says, "and us and the neighbors helping each other farming." Not only is Shipshewana in the region of the country where an estimated 80 per- cent of American RVs are built, but it's also in the middle of Indiana's Amish country. Miller, who is Amish, says he got his first steady job at age 16 with his brother-in-law, who was fixing the refrigerators that the Amish families in the area use. The Amish's propane-powered refrigerators use absorption systems, rather than compression, and are similar to the units installed in RVs. After about four years, Miller got married and spent some time building RVs in the Jayco and Keystone factories nearby. By 2003, Miller's brother-in-law was getting so busy that he offered to sell part of his company to Miller, who then went into business for himself. Miller's 17-year-old son, Jared, cuts wood pieces that are used in the shipping process for cooling units. Given that Pines RV only employs six people, workers perform various jobs during their workday. Pines RV operates out of several buildings on Miller's farm in Shipshewana, Ind. Miller has converted some of the buildings on his property from farming to manufacturing over the years as his Pines RV business has grown.

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