Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a story by KIM TV, Mason City, Iowa, examining the local employment situation. Winnebago Industries Inc.’s Randy Potts offers comments on the builder’s outlook.
Winnebago Industries Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Randy Potts is looking forward to the day he can bring on a large number of workers at the company’s Forest City complex.
“Where we’re at right now is very slight increases in manufacturing levels. Going into the spring we’ll be watching that carefully,” Potts says.
Winnebago currently has about 2,000 workers right. Before what Potts termed the ‘Great Recession,’ the company employed well over 4,000. He says what his business needs is what any business needs: demand.
“At some point we’ll add staff to accommodate production changes but the business has to come here first,” Potts says. “We need to see the orders for the product, we need to have the need for the production people before we’re going to hire them. We’re not going to hire them on speculation.”
Potts says there are a few indicators that will let him know the economy is improving enough for him to expand his work force. The main indicator is housing. He says he looks not only for the number of people going through foreclosure, but the number of people who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.
Potts also looks to housing starts. He says when that part of the economy solidifies, spending – and demand – will pick up across the economy.
For now, though, there are jobs to be had for those looking for work. Potts says it’s up to the worker to be the most ideal candidate for a job.
“It’s important for job seekers to present themselves in such a way that they’re attractive to employers, that they build the case for why they’re the right person to hire – very fundamental things – and that hasn’t changed at all,” he said.