Thor, Forest River Stepping Up in COVID-19 Fight

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Apr 29, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News

Thor Industries Inc. donated 10,000 KN95 masks for use by front-line first responders and in long-term care facilities in Elkhart County, Ind., according to reporting today (April 29) by WSBT-TV, South Bend.

And South Bend’s ABC-57 is reporting other companies – including Forest River Inc., which provided a travel trailer  – are helping Bashor Children’s Home serve at-risk kids throughout the region.

Jen Tobey, Elkhart County Emergency Management director, made the Thor announcement, saying, “That was phenomenal.” She added that while the donation will greatly help, more masks are needed as demand is on the rise. “I am pretty excited about that. We probably could use 20K, but we are gladly taking 10. It puts a very big dent in the (shortage of) supplies that we can offer to our front-line, first responders as well as our long term care facilities,” she said.

Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

Bashor Children’s Home in Elkhart County has been a residential, educational and preventative service provider for at-risk children for the past 97 years. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state tasked them with creating an isolation zone where kids could live if they or their families contracted the illness, without spreading the illness to others on campus. They say they were able to make the necessary changes within days all because the community immediately answered to help.

“We reached out to the community which has been so generous and gracious to us “said Director of Development, Steve Riikonen “People were making masks, donating face shields, making gowns for the staff to wear. We also reached out to Forrest River who loaned us a travel trailer because the one thing our campus didn’t have was a shower for the kids.”

Since Bashor is considered an essential business – with 70 kids already living on campus plus many staff members – a safe, clean quarantine space was an immediate need. The facility couldn’t just shut down due to the pandemic. “We have 70 kids to look after. We can’t just say everyone is going home and working from home” said Riikonen “We still have to show up everyday.” He said the generosity of Elkhart County businesses “stands the test of time. They respond to the need of the community. They are so very generous and so willing to help out where ever they can.”

Click here for the WSBT story.

Click here for the ABC-57 report.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/thor-forest-river-stepping-up-in-covid-19-fight/

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Dometic Donates Mask Straps to Healthcare Workers

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Apr 23, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News|

During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, many companies have been an aid in gathering materials and making masks for heath care professionals to use; Dometic is doing their part as well, the company announced today (April 23).

Two Dometic engineers have been using this time to create mask straps on 3D printers. The idea came from a student who sent a request for help creating these mask straps that help relieve pressure from behind the ears when wearing them all day.

Clayton Meyers, an engineer at Dometic’s Elkhart, Ind., Verdant office has been able to produce about 300 mask straps so far. A portion of the masks have gone to a local school system as they have been providing free lunches to students. The rest of the masks are intended for local hospitals and nursing homes.

Bill Rimel, an engineer located at one of Dometic’s manufacturing sites in Big Prairie, Ohio, has also been making mask straps, which have also gone to area hospitals and nursing homes.

”We want to do as much as we can to support our healthcare and essential workers during this unprecedented period,” says Scott Nelson, president of Dometic Americas. ”Our Engineers have been dedicating their time and talent for producing these mask straps. They have been able to utilize the resources that Dometic has available and provide relief from the current shortage of masks.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/dometic-donates-mask-straps-to-healthcare-workers/

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RV Tech Institute Launches Website, Online Classes

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Apr 13, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News|

The RV Technical Institute (RVTI) launched a new website today, a key component of which is the opportunity for prospective students to register for online classes as part of the program’s Learning Management System (LMS).

RVTI announced April 8 it would begin offering the Level 1 training course online later this month. The online, interactive classes will be virtually taught by RV Technical Institute trainers through Zoom. The rollout of this new curriculum delivery system will allow RV technicians to continue to be trained and receive the only industry-wide certification while following appropriate social distancing guidelines.

The first online Level 1 class starts on April 20 and will be delivered in four-hour increments on a daily basis from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. As RVTI moves to this virtual setting, hands-on training remains a cornerstone of the brand-new curriculum. The hands-on labs will be demonstrated during the online instruction class and students will then perform these labs on their own.

Textbook support materials will be distributed electronically through the Institute’s LMS.

Class participants will be given two weeks to complete their certification testing (included in the $275 course fee) via an on-line system using Proctor U. Those who pass the test will then become RV Technical Institute Level 1 certified.

Additionally, the online test will be available to experienced RV technicians who choose to test after reviewing the Level 1 curriculum without participating in additional training. This will allow experienced RV technicians to use their existing knowledge and skills to obtain the Level 1 certification.

For questions, please visit www.RVTI.org or email RVTI-info@rvti.org.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/rv-tech-institute-launches-new-website-online-classes/

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Monogram Foods, North Central Indiana Company to Add New Jobs

Elkhart County, Ind. (June 26, 2015) – Two companies today announced plans to expand their operations and create 120 new jobs in Elkhart County.

“Indiana is a Midwest leader in job creation because companies like Monogram Foods and ACC Climate Control are confident in our state and in our workforce,” said Governor Mike Pence. “By building one of the nation’s top business climates, companies are moving forward with their plans to expand and create new jobs, making Indiana a state that works.”

Monogram Foods, a Memphis, Tennessee-based manufacturer and marketer of value-added meats including hot dogs, corn dogs, precooked bacon and smoked sausages, will invest $13 million to renovate and equip its 104,000-square-foot facility in Bristol, where it processes and packages corn dogs that are sold nationally.

“Monogram Foods’ decision to expand their production facilities here in Bristol will be an asset to our community. The Bristol Town Council strives to work with our business community to aid in their success. With the proximity to Interstate 80/90 and the railroad, Bristol and Elkhart County have the ability and locations to avail new and existing companies to prosper. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Monogram Foods,” said Cathy Burke, president of the Bristol Town Council.

Processing corn dogs primarily under store brands, the company plans to add a production line in Bristol, which will produce mini corn dogs. Along with additional equipment and facility efficiency enhancements, the company anticipates converting office space to production space. With construction already underway, Monogram Foods has already begun hiring, with plans to create up to 75 new jobs by 2018 to grow its current workforce of more than 200 Hoosiers. Interested applicants may apply at www.monogramfoods.com/careers.

“We are so proud of the Bristol workforce. All of the team members exhibit a consistently strong work ethic and dedication to food safety and quality products,” said Karl Schledwitz, chief executive officer of Monogram Foods.

About Monogram Foods

Since its formation a decade ago through the purchase of King Cotton and Circle B brand meats from Sara Lee Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee-based Monogram Foods has grown from six associates and two regional smoked meat brands to five BRC-A rated manufacturing plants in five states powered by over 1,400 dedicated team members shipping top quality food products to points of distribution all over North America. Today, Monogram Foods manufactures and distributes brands that include Wild Bill’s, O’Brien’s, Trail’s Best, Hannah’s, Bull’s and licensed brands Bass Pro Shop’s Uncle Buck’s, Johnsonville and Butterball. Monogram Foods also produces a wide variety of private-label brand meat snacks, smoked meats, corndogs and pre-cooked bacon for strategic partners throughout the nation.

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North Central Indiana: ACC Climate Control to Add New Jobs

Elkhart County, Ind. (June 26, 2015) – Two companies today announced plans to expand their operations and create 120 new jobs in Elkhart County.

“Indiana is a Midwest leader in job creation because companies like ACC Climate Control and Monogram Foods are confident in our state and in our workforce,” said Governor Mike Pence. “By building one of the nation’s top business climates, companies are moving forward with their plans to expand and create new jobs, making Indiana a state that works.”

ACC Climate Control, which designs, manufactures and installs custom mobile air conditioning and heating systems for specialty vehicles, will invest $9.95 million to construct and equip a new 135,000-square-foot facility at 22150 Challenger Drive in Elkhart.

“The investment and job creation ACC Climate Control is making in Elkhart County speaks volumes about our county’s competitive resources for companies in the automotive sector. It gives us a great sense of pride to know that the products made right here in Elkhart County will equip automotive and specialty vehicles throughout the United States. We look forward to the company’s continued success here in Elkhart County and around the county,” said David Foutz, Elkhart County councilman.

The new building, which will house a metal fabrication plant, production assembly, a test laboratory as well as offices, will increase the company’s space to meet demands for future growth in the small and transit/coach bus market. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“The new facility allows us to double production and warehouse space. Currently, Spheros North America imports transit bus air conditioning systems from various manufacturing plants around the world. Now they will be manufactured in the United States, reducing time to market and placing Spheros in a very competitive position in the bus industry,” said Casey Cummings, chief executive officer of ACC Climate Control.

Founded in 1948 and acquired by Spheros in January 2015, ACC Climate Control currently employs 110 Hoosiers and plans to create up to 45 new jobs by 2018. The company will hire production and engineering positions as needed. Interested applicants can learn more at www.accclimatecontrol.com.

About ACC Climate Control

ACC Climate Control, which produces bus air conditioning and specialty vehicle climate control products, was founded in 1948 and acquired by Spheros in January 2015. As a division of the international Spheros Group, we are a global trendsetter in the design and manufacturing of economical, eco-friendly and reliable heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for buses. Spheros’ worldwide headquarters is in Gilching near Munich, Germany, and guarantees customer proximity and service with 17 sites around the world, making Spheros the world market leader in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for all types of buses.

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5 Years Later Part III: Elkhart County’s future after the Great Recession

Posted on Dec. 14, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.

Elkhart County is approaching a crossroad.

When looking back on how the Great Recession affected the local economy, three things become clear:

First, at five years later, there’s little doubt Elkhart County has shed its title of “the white-hot center of the meltdown of the American economy” as few believed it could.

Second, while we’re grateful for the robust RV industry, a diverse local job market is necessary.

Third, those hit hardest by the 2007-2009 recession — the workers in the manufacturing sector — expect another downturn.

In the third and final installment of our 5 Years Later series, we look forward to where Elkhart County might go from here by getting stories from the people who could take us there — businesspeople, workers and students.

But, before that, what have we learned?

In Part I, published last July, we looked at how things are today, five years since the “official end” of the recession in June 2009. Things are better but bruises dealt by the blow of the downturn are still evident. The unemployment rate has gone from a peak of 20 percent countywide back down to pre-recession levels, and the RV sector is on more solid footing. Wages, however, have yet to catch up for many, and RV shipments have yet to reach pre-recession highs.

In Part II, published in October, we revisited those rough years. Unemployment rates were among the highest anywhere in the nation and Elkhart County clung to pipe dreams of electric car production and economic diversification to survive.

As projections for RV production climb, most look on with a mixture of anxiety and pride. The push for diversification isn’t as strong as it was in 2009-2012, but fears of another collapse prevent it from being forgotten.

Some say economic diversification means we don’t have to live by the boom-and-bust nature of RV manufacturing forever, that we can learn from our past and make the future a little easier on our children and grandchildren.

Others proudly extol the indelible spirit of the American worker, and no doubt contribute to Elkhart County’s resilience. With a little planning and a little luck, surviving the cyclical nature of the industry isn’t as bad as it seems.

Only time will tell.

Source: http://www.elkharttruth.com/hometown/2014/12/14/5-Years-Later-Part-III-Elkhart-County-s-future-after-the-Great-Recession.html

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