The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Thu Mar 16, 2017
A golden anniversary is a milestone to celebrate. To be in business for 50 years in a competitive marketplace is a feat that too few businesses can claim.
D&W, Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, as it looks to further position itself as a major player in the RV industry as a supplier of HVAC ducting and venting.
Dudley Warning received a degree in sales engineering from Purdue University in the late 1930s and was involved in the refrigeration business for nearly 30 years before he found a void in the RV industry that he thought he could fill.
In 1967, Warning established D&W, Inc. as a supplier of over-the-floor ducting systems for the RV industry and started to develop the business around a heat rotator that would be flexible enough to be installed in the space through the cabinets in an RV unit.
Lacking a facility or any revenue from sales, Warning set up shop in his own garage on Eastlake Drive in Elkhart, Indiana, where the company’s headquarters were located for nearly five years.
Current General Manager Jay Riblet has been with the company for five years and says Warning had the vision and determination to get the company off the ground.
“He was in talks with business industry leaders at the time who were looking for a way to move the heat through the unit,” Riblet says. “He (Warning) did some research and came up with the round flexible duct.”
In the early 1970s, the company moved into its first building, a small facility on Oak Street in Elkhart. About 10 years later, the company had been successful enough to move into a larger 110,000 square-foot facility down the street, where the company still calls home.
In 50 years, the world has changed significantly. Man landed on the moon, technology is accelerating at an unprecedented rate and the RV business has reached its best year since D&W had barely moved into a new building.
In that time, it is astounding to see how little D&W has changed the way it does business and the products it offers to its customers and dealers.
The formerly metal vent has been transitioned into a plastic vent, which is what the company uses today. However, the marketing and actual manufacturing of the product has remained basically the same since Warning built the first one.
“The actual makeup and design and style of the product hasn’t changed a whole lot other than going into plastics,” Riblet says. “We expanded from the original ducting and heating. We’ve done a good job of meeting our customers’ demands and needs and incorporating the technology with the times and what’s being driven. We are keeping up with the changing times and putting things into place to help us grow and adapt to the ever changing needs of the industry.”
The fact the offering hasn’t changed much is a testament to the Warning’s modern vision. Warning passed away in 2000, at the age of 81. His son Tony got involved, working at the plant in his high school years. He returned to the company in 1985 and provided the genesis for adding the mirror and glass fabrication lines, for which he has several patents in his name.
Tony Warning now owns the company that his father started. The true American dream story for the Warnings began in a garage in northwest Indiana and has developed into a $14 million company, whose primary focus is to meet the customer and offer them the products they’re looking for.
“Our on-time delivery and meeting the customers’ needs and listening to what they’re looking for is our mission,” Riblet says. “We’re looking to grow with the customers. For Tony – a family atmosphere is important to him and to us. We’re making sure the customer is taken care of.
“We’re trying to create new products and niches in the market, where we find what the customer is looking for and try to fill that void that they’re looking for.”
As the company looks to the future, there’s a third generation of Warning that is waiting in the wings. Paul Warning received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Purdue and then a Masters of Science in Biology from IUPUI. He now serves as the sales manager for D&W, Inc.
Additionally, the company features five employees, in addition to Tony Warning, who have spent more than 15 years with the company.
“There is very little turnover here,” Riblet says. “People seem to come here and find a home. We had our past general manager just retire after 29 years. We have multiple 25-year-plus employees.”
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, D&W has a vision for the future. Just like the products today, not much is likely to change in the high quality of products the company produces. It will continue to keep the same methods of customer service, family atmosphere and high quality manufacturing that kept them surging forward in the last 50 years to make the next 50 just as good.
Because, in business, consistency is key.