Bill Fenech Receives Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award

Ernst & Young LLP has selected Bill Fenech, president and founder of Barletta Pontoon Boats, as its Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 Midwest Award winner. A former Thor Industries executive, Fenech was a co-founder of Grand Design RV Co.

The award recognizes those entrepreneurial leaders who are excelling in overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management, a news release from Ernst & Young states. Fenech was selected by an independent panel of judges. The award was announced through the program’s first-ever virtual awards gala Oct. 7.

“This is an award that I wholly accept on behalf of the entire Barletta Pontoon Boats team,” Fenech said. “This team has worked tirelessly from day one to meet the needs of all of our customers, internal and external. We’ve built a company that we can all be very proud of — a company that has successfully navigated all that this past year has thrown at us. And we’re not done yet … we will not rest until we are the best pontoon boat manufacturer in the country.”

As a Midwest award winner, Fenech is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 National Awards.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Oct 21, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| Source: https://rvbusiness.com/bill-fenech-receives-ernst-young-entrepreneur-award/

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RVBusiness Names Top 10 RVs of the Year, Other Honorees

“RVB’s Top 10 RVs of the Year” is a new feature generated this year by the staff and contributors of RVBusiness magazine, the Elkhart, Ind.-based trade journal that in recent years had dedicated the spine of its Nov/Dec issue’s coverage to one “RV of the Year” and four finalists along with a series of “Top Debuts.”

Because key trade/consumer events like September’s Hershey Show and Elkhart RV Open House weren’t held this year due to pandemic circumstances, however, our editorial crew was unable to review units as closely as we’d like in order to make a finite decision regarding one new model above all of the others.

So, our response, based in part on a pretty exhaustive canvas of new models on display at private dealer shows around Elkhart’s RV-building zone this fall, is to highlight – in no particular order – “RVB’s Top 10 RVs of the Year” along with 25 “Top Debuts” and another 33 “Must-See” models in an effort to recognize those manufacturers that are truly pushing the envelope with regard to the latest technological, engineering and design trends.

At the same time, for the second issue in a row, we’ll be digitally promoting this product-rich section to a vast consumer audience of more than four million people across 30 different RV-focused websites operated by the RV Life Network, a 15-year-old, Texas-based, digital media firm.

So, congratulations to the winners – but also to an industry that, once again, has not only proven its resilience but, from all appearances, soared to new heights.

TOP 10 RVs of the YEAR

  • Alliance Paradigm
  • Dutchmen Yukon 400RL
  • Fleetwood Discovery LXE 25th Anniversary Edition 36HQ
  • Forest River River Ranch by Palomino
  • Forest River Ibex 20BHS
  • Grand Design Solitude 346FLS
  • Jayco Jay Feather Micro
  • Keystone Arcadia
  • Newmar Canyon Star 3719
  • Winnebago Hike

TOP DEBUTS

  • Airstream Basecamp 2.0
  • Bowlus Endless Highways Performance Edition
  • Coachmen Sportscoach SRS
  • CrossRoads Cameo 3701RL
  • Dynamax Europa
  • East to West Tandara 320 RL
  • Entegra Ethos 20T
  • Forest River Cedar Creek 345IK
  • Forest River Impression 270RK
  • Grand Design Transcend Xplor 240ML
  • Gulf Stream Conquest 63111
  • Heartland North Trail DBS
  • Holiday Rambler Nautica 33TL
  • Jayco Seneca Prestige / Entegra Accolade XL
  • KZ Escape Hatch E17
  • Lance 1770 Ultra-Light Travel Trailer
  • Leisure Travel Vans Wonder Rear Lounge
  • nüCamp Barefoot
  • Prime Time Crusader 305
  • Roadtrek Zion Slumber
  • Thor Motor Coach Tellaro
  • Tiffin Zephyr
  • Winnebago Revel 44E
  • Woodland Park PMRV
  • Xtreme Outdoors Little Guy Micro Max

MUST-SEE RVs

  • Aliner Family Camper
  • American Tradition 37S
  • Coachmen Encore
  • Cruiser Radiance R-28BH
  • Droplet Teardrop
  • DRV Mobile Suites 41 FKMB
  • Forest River Sierra C-Class 3770
  • Forest River Sabre 37FLL
  • Forest River Wildcat 336 RLS
  • Jayco Eagle 24RE
  • Coachmen Catalina
  • CrossRoads Sunset Trail 268RL
  • CrossRoads Zinger 280RB
  • Dutchmen Voltage
  • Grand Design Momentum G-Class 30G
  • Gulf Stream Envision 25RLD
  • Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 23TWS
  • Heartland Big Horn 3120RK
  • Heartland Cyclone 4006
  • Highland Ridge Open Range Roamer
  • Holiday Rambler Armada 44LE
  • Keystone Cougar 345UMR
  • KZ Durango Half Ton D27BHS
  • Lance 2445 Travel Trailer
  • Marathon Show Coach #1317
  • nüCamp Cirrus 820
  • Roadtrek Chase
  • Roadtrek Play
  • Shasta (sanitizing station)
  • Thor Motor Coach Sequence
  • Venture RV SportTrek Touring 343VIB
  • Winnebago Micro Minnie 2108 DS
  • Winnebago Solis 59PX

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Oct 13, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| Source: https://rvbusiness.com/rvbusiness-announces-top-10-rvs-of-the-year-other-winners/

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Governor Holcomb Adds Additional $25 Million to Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant Scholarship Program

Governor Holcomb Adds Additional $25 Million to Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant Scholarship Program, Employer Training Grant Program Closed to New Applications

Indiana is allocating an additional $25 million from the CARES Act toward the state’s Next Level Jobs program, which is the second expansion of the Governor’s signature workforce development initiative, using federal pandemic relief funds.

More than 600 employers have used funding from the Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant to train new or existing workers for jobs. This grant provides Indiana employers with reimbursement for approved training costs, up to $5,000 per employee and with a cap of $100,000 per employer. The Department of Workforce Development has obligated all of the funding currently available through the Employer Training Grant and will not be accepting any new applications.

For individuals wishing to take advantage of the Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant program, including incumbent workers and new hires, please have them visit www.nextleveljobs.org

The EDC of Elkhart County offers training delivered by Purdue MEP, an approved training provider. Contact us today for your training needs:  Cara@elkhartcountybiz.com

Visit our website at www.elkhartcountybiz.com

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Elkhart company wins $8 million contract with US Department of Defense

A small Elkhart company has landed an enormous government contract.

It’s come a long way over the past 20 years when it started with only two employees.

Transhield Inc. on Elkhart’s north side has grown by leaps and bounds since being founded in the 90s.

They make tarps and fitted coverings for use in aviation, boating, rail, automotive and the military.

Each tarp is custom engineered, not off the shelf.

“We started with two employees, originally Greg Todt and myself, and now we’ve grown to over 70 employees here within the community,” said Transhield President Jim Glick.

Their hard work paid off for military products.

Some have unit emblems or logos on them. They’re made for everything from ships and tanks to track vehicles and weapons systems.

The Department of Defense just awarded Transhield a nearly $8 million contract. They’ll make tarps and fitted covers for the Army and Navy.

It’s a contract they’ve been looking into for the past year and a half.

“We’d been working on it, we weren’t sure of the timing on it, and we weren’t sure, you know, exactly how it was all going to play out, but we had had been working on it, so we’re very excited to actually get the award,” said Glick.

He says the new DoD contract runs from now through 2023. Currently there are 70 workers employed, but he new contract could mean that more could be added.

“We look forward to fulfilling this contract and look for further contracts going forward,” said Glick. “We are always looking to increase our employee count here in Elkhart.”

He says the new military contract bodes well for Transhield employees, as well as the future of the company.

Source: https://wsbt.com/news/local/elkhart-company-wins-8-million-contract-with-us-department-of-defense

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Elevate Ventures Awards $20K to South Bend Tech Startup

SOUTH BEND – Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures has awarded $20,000 to a South Bend startup that develops high school curricula on emerging technology.

Digital Leader Academy was started in September 2019 through the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame. The company says it is trying to make complex topics, such as application development, tangible for high school students.

“We’re excited to move forward and develop new courses that will modernize how our students learn in high schools across the country,” said Ellen Joyce, Digital Leader Academy chief executive officer.

DLA also won a $20,000 pre-seed investment from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in October 2019. The funding allowed the company to create a minimum viable product and begin creating test lessons to send to teachers.

The academy is beta testing a course at Riley High School in South Bend, the district’s computer science and engineering magnet. The course, Data Science in Manufacturing, combines math, computer science, and business entrepreneurship.

Digital Leader says the new funding will allow it to refine the course based on teacher and student feedback.

Wednesday, September 23rd 2020, 10:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 24th 2020, 10:04 AM EDT
By Wes Mills, Content Manager
https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42671232/elevate-ventures-awards-dollar20k-to-south-bend-tech-startup

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Indiana Colleges & Universities Ranked Among Best

INDIANAPOLIS – Butler University has been named the top regional university in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.  This is the third straight year the Indianapolis school has been ranked number one in the category of the publication’s annual ranking of 389 universities and colleges.

“These rankings reflect the ongoing excellence of our academic programs and exceptional student experience,” said Butler President James Danko. “As we continue to pursue our goal of expanding student access and success through the Butler Beyond strategic direction, we are committed to extending this valuable, quality education to a broader set of learners for the good of our community.”

The publication’s annual report ranks institutions in a variety of categories, such as national universities, regional universities, regional colleges, and assorted subcategories. The state of Indiana is represented in many of those fields.

In terms of national universities, the University of Notre Dame finished the highest among institutions in the state, coming in at No. 19. Purdue University comes in at No. 53, Indiana University-Bloomington is No. 76.

In addition to Butler’s No. 1 ranking among Midwest universities, the University of Evansville comes in No. 4. The region covers 12 states that stretches from South Dakota to Kansas and from Nebraska to Ohio.

Among Midwestern colleges, the U.S. News survey places Taylor University in Upland at No. 2. The school said it is the 24th consecutive year for Taylor to be ranked in the top three positions.

Goshen College comes in at No. 7 in the list of best regional Midwest colleges.

Click here to view the list.

Monday, September 14th 2020, 10:46 AM EDTUpdated: Monday, September 14th 2020, 12:39 PM EDT
By Wes Mills, Content Manager

Source: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42625066/indiana-colleges-and-universities-ranked-among-best

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Ivy Tech iFlex Lab in Elkhart to Boost Advanced Manufacturing

Ivy Tech’s new iFlex Lab will be located immediately east of the existing building on the Elkhart campus. (Artists rendering)

Construction is under way on the new Ivy Tech iFlex Lab, a facility that will help transform Elkhart County, Ind., and make the area a national leader in advanced manufacturing, according to reporting by Rasmus S. Jorgensen in The Elkhart Truth. as well as a video report (above) by WNDU.

That was the consensus Wednesday morning (Sept. 10) at the official groundbreaking on the Ivy Tech campus in Elkhart, where leaders from the community college and the community at large celebrated the impact they foresee, as well as how fast the project, proposed last summer, is moving.

The iFlex Lab, located immediately east of the existing Elkhart campus building, will allow Ivy Tech to embrace new technologies that local employees will need to learn for Elkhart County to lead the nation in manufacturing, according to several speakers. One of those speakers was U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2, who spoke via video link.

“By the charge of who we are, we obviously want to lead and not follow when it comes to manufacturing, and the iFlex Laboratory is right on point to be able to do that,” she said. “Our present and future workforce will require advanced technical and computer skills to remain second to none.”

The threat automation poses to workers is real, she said. But by embracing technologies such as mechatronics and robotics, the local workforce can stay ahead.

Photo by Gregg Fore

Ivy Tech’s new 10,000-square-foot facility will offer training for people seeking to follow those and other paths, including industrial maintenance and computer-aided design. The space will also allow Ivy Tech to “flex” over the next 10 to 15 years and become more future-focused, especially as Industry 4.0 and the “internet of things” expands.

Construction of the iFlex Lab is estimated to cost $3.8 million. The Community College has received funding for the project from multiple sources, including the tax increment finance fund of C.R. 17 and C.R. 6, from which the project received $1.47 million. From the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, funded by the Lilly Endowment, the project received $1 million.

The hope is to have the facility fully operational by the fall of 2021, according to the chancellor for the South Bend-Elkhart campus, David Balkin. Meeting that goal has required the community college and its collaborators to work at an unusual speed, he said.

“No Ivy Tech building, since the founding of the college in 1963, has been conceived, designed and constructed faster than the one that’s going up behind you,” he said. “We’re moving so fast, I’m thrilled that we’re able to squeeze in this groundbreaking before the building opens for classes.”

Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick praised the collaboration between the many involved community stakeholders who all see the need for keeping the local workforce ready for the future.

Elkhart County, known as the RV capital of the world, is dependent on RV manufacturing to a point that many local leaders share a belief that the local economy must become more diverse. The RV industry offers many employment opportunities in good times but was hit hard during the Great Recession, resulting in high unemployment rates locally. Weirick said that, with the workforce being developed at Ivy Tech’s new facility, Elkhart County will further its ability to attract new businesses, which should result in a more diverse economy.

Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said the project is not just about the community as a whole, but also the individuals who will come through the iFlex Lab programs. “Together we really are changing lives, one student at a time, while building a stronger workforce, stronger industry, stronger employers, stronger local economy,” she said. Though construction had already begun, officials “broke ground” for the new iFlex Lab at Ivy Tech in Elkhart on Wednesday.

See The Elkhart Truth report here.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/ivy-tech-iflex-lab-in-elkhart-to-boost-advanced-manufacturing/

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MITO Corporation Partners with Elkhart Schools, Notre Dame

Elkhart, Ind.-based MITO Corporation, innovators in bringing mobile technology for comfort, convenience and safety to the RV, marine, automotive and bus industries, announced its collaboration with Elkhart Community Schools and the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) Summer Internship Program at the University of Notre Dame, to outfit at least 25 buses with WiFiRanger Teton C-19 broadcast units and Core interior routers to provide internet access for several hundred students in the Elkhart area, according to a press release from the company.

Jason Inman, director of Technology Services for Elkhart Community Schools, who oversees the deployment of technology used within the school district, began working with the CCI interns to identify a solution for distance e-learning challenges Elkhart faced in the last few months of the previous school year due to COVID-19.

Four interns, representing Elkhart High School and Goshen College, worked on the project through CCI, including Irving Suarez, a senior psychology and biology double major at Goshen College. Jose Chiquito Galvan, CCI internship program manager for Elkhart, managed the team.

“Anecdotally, we knew there was a need (for affordable WiFI), and even more so now with the pandemic. But we didn’t know exactly where it was concentrated.” Galvan said. “The goal of the surveys was to get an understanding of the overall need for WiFi access.”

“Once we saw the results of the surveys, the primary goal was to provide reliable internet to students in South Central Elkhart,” said Suarez, who was born in Elkhart and grew up in Goshen.

Coincidentally it was their survey that ultimately led MITO Corporation to reach out with a solution that fit their mission.

“While we had been marketing our WiFiRanger C-19 bus product line since the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t until we received the intern’s demographic survey of Elkhart County that MITO learned of this initiative.” said Dan Maloney, president of MITO Corporation. “I approached MITO owner, Mike Stock who is an Elkhart high school graduate and he was 100% on board for doing whatever we could as a company to help our local community and his alma mater.”

The outdoor WiFi hotspots Elkhart Community Schools will be deploying through the CARES Act, will have an omnidirectional range of about 2,000 feet. Verizon will provide the internet service for the hotspots under a program that offers discounts to school corporations. MITO is offering its own discount on the broadcast hardware, which, according to Inman, is already more affordable and reliable than competing products that are being used elsewhere in the area.

The outreach by MITO was facilitated by Andrew Tate, owner of Three Fires Creative and the marketing representative for MITO Corporation.

“We immediately knew this would be a golden opportunity for MITO to do some goodwill in our own backyard in these uncertain times. We knew we had a hyper-competitive product that could translate the Notre Dame CCI interns’ hard work and study into a real-world solution.” Tate said. “It gives myself, and I’m sure, all other parties that came together, great satisfaction to help our community, but also by showing North Central Indiana entities can come together to solve major problems will reinforce the innovative strength and economic development of the Norther Indiana area as a whole.”

For more information on the WiFi Solution, visit www.student-wifi.com, email oem-sales@mitocorp.com, or call 574-295-2441.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Sep 10, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| https://rvbusiness.com/mito-corporation-partners-with-elkhart-schools-notre-dame/

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Liegl Signs ‘Pledge To America’s Workers’ at VIP Event

As reported yesterday by RVBusiness, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt was joined by U.S. Senator Todd Young and U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) as they highlighted the importance of outdoor recreation and the resurgence of the American economy during a Wednesday (Aug. 19) visit to East To West RV, according to a release from the Interior Dept.

Following a tour of the facility’s manufacturing operations, Forest River Inc. and East To West RV signed President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to invest in their workforce and expand job opportunities in Indiana.

Since 2018, more than 440 companies have signed the Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to support more then 16.3 million job and training-related opportunities for American workers. More Americans are getting back to work as the economy continues to rebound and reopen. Over the past three months, 9.3 million jobs have been added.

“The Trump Administration is working to enhance the visitor experience on our public lands – places like the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge – so more Hoosiers can enjoy recreating in the great outdoors,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Many recreational visitors utilize RVs to experience national parks, refuges and campgrounds throughout the country. I applaud these business leaders’ commitment to support the Pledge to the America’s Workers and for providing great job opportunities in Elkhart, the RV capital of the world.”

“The Great American Outdoors Act will support tens of thousands of jobs in the state of Indiana,” Senator Young said. “Aside from National Parks themselves, no other industry will benefit as much from the GAOA as the RV industry. When parks are well-kept, when facilities are maintained and improved, and when conservation is prioritized, people naturally will want to visit these national treasures, many of which are right here in Indiana.”

“Manufacturers in Elkhart – the RV Capital of the World – know the importance of investing in the current and future American workforce,” said Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02). “Their commitment to building opportunities and creating jobs for hardworking Hoosiers will be key to our economic recovery. As we continue to rebuild our nation’s economy, the Great American Outdoors Act will improve access to our public lands and give Indiana’s outdoor recreation industry an added boost. I’m grateful for the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt in protecting our national parks, defending the American worker and supporting Hoosier manufacturing.”

“Our country’s iconic national parks are one of the most favored destinations for RVers. We are grateful to the leadership of Secretary Bernhardt in ensuring these public lands receive the funding they deserve,” said RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and his team as they implement the Great American Outdoors Act to identify projects that will make the biggest impact to improve the access, safety, and enjoyment of RVers for generations to come.”

“East to West RV is excited to sign President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers as we are committed to hiring more great employees and helping them grow with our company,” said Lisa Rees Co-General Manager of East to West RV.

At East to West RV, Secretary Bernhardt discussed the Department of the Interior’s (Interior) role in facilitating outdoor recreation across the country, managing approximately 500 million acres of land, and how RVs help the public visit America’s national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

More than 80 percent of RVs sold in the US are manufactured in Indiana with demand increasing throughout the United States amid COVID-19. In Elkhart County, the RV Industry has an annual economic impact of $14.5 billion and supports nearly 35,000 jobs, 178 businesses and pays $2.5 billion in wages.

Following the tour and signing at East to West RV, Secretary Bernhardt traveled to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to meet with National Park Service employees and inspect facilities that have deferred maintenance needs. The Great American Outdoors Act, recently signed by President Trump, provides $1.9 billion a year for the next five years to address deferred maintenance needs at national parks, refuges, American Indian schools and other public lands throughout the country.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Aug 20, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News|https://rvbusiness.com/forest-river-signs-pledge-to-americas-workers/

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