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Cole Davis, founder of Keystone RV Co., was the featured speaker for a 10th anniversary luncheon today (Aug. 10) at the company’s manufacturing complex in Goshen, Ind.
Davis, now a director for Keystone’s parent company, Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, spoke to around 400 employees and vendors gathered for the event.
“From our first day, we recognized the importance of putting the right people in the right job,” Davis said. “Keystone’s strength is its people, and that is why I see a bright future for Keystone. They have by far the best team in the RV industry.”
The company was founded by Davis and several other industry veterans in 1996 and has grown from under $1 million in sales the first year to well over $1 billion in fiscal 2005. It is now the nation’s largest builder of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
Keystone currently employs 3,200 people, manufacturing 17 different brands, ranging from lightweight economy travel trailers to luxury fifth wheels. The company operates 15 assembly plants at their original location in Goshen as well as three plants in Pendleton, Ore., and their newest facility in Howe, Ind.
Ron Fenech, Keystone president and CEO, addressed the company’s future, noting the industry’s “challenging” business environment.
“We can expect challenges in our industry over the coming year and this plays to our advantage at Keystone,” he said. “As our competitors struggle for direction, we already know where we are heading, because we have spent the past 10 years building our company’s culture to embrace, and even welcome, change. Looking ahead, we have the right people, the passion, and the direction to keep giving our dealers the money-making products which are needed to thrive during uncertain times.”
Fenech also recognized 11 employees who have been with the company since its inception, including: Davis, founder and original CEO; Caroll Elliott, plant 18; Charles Emery Jr., plant 4; Bill Fenech (now president of Damon Industries, another division of Thor Industries), original executive vice-president; Bob Gaff (retired), original vice-president of purchasing; David Pollock, plant 1; Kim Price, executive vice-president, administration; Doug Rheinheimer, executive vice-president, manufacturing; Sonya Stanage, payroll manager; Donnie Wallace, plant 5; Charles Weeden, plant 12; and Richard Winrott, customer service.