Shortly after launching its first new brand in a decade, Keystone RV set about making Arcadia a standalone brand.
The new fifth wheel/travel trailer brand moved from a shared plant to its own standalone facility. Longtime industry veteran Jeff Rank moved from a sales team member to interim product manager, with Dustin Tavernier back to his role as Alpine and Avalanche product manager.
Missy Payne, a former sales manager at a Colorado dealership, will join the Arcadia sales team alongside sales manager Ryan Bailey.
“We wanted Arcadia to have a standalone facility with standalone product managers,” Keystone RV President and CEO Jeff Runels said.
Arcadia’s plant is a converted building that was doing “two or three other things,” Runels said, that were moved to accommodate Arcadia production. The standalone facility has been in operation for nearly three months now.
Runels said production increased, with Arcadias being built in two plants for a time and still not able to meet all the dealer product demand.
The first goal, Runels said, was to have experience atop plant management. Ben Adams is the Arcadia plant manager, with Brad Porter as the assistant plant manager.
“We wanted to make sure our group leaders and plant managers had high experience. We watched Ben grow for a long time now and felt good about putting him in charge,” Runels said. “With Brad Porter, we have another veteran as well. We have guys who are respected within Keystone, but also the entire RV community.”
Next came the ongoing industry challenge of staffing the plant. Runels said hiring employees to build Arcadia RVs started long before production lines began work. Staff was brought in six months to a year ahead of time, training under other plants, to ensure experience and quality work by the time Arcadia was ready for production.
“We like to have Keystone experience in our plants, so we always try to hire people from outside the industry, bring them in and train them the way we want,” Runels said. “We always planned to bring people from other plants together under skilled group leaders. We had to fight a little harder to find them this time.”
Bringing Rank back to head up Arcadia was important, Runels said. Rank spent a decade at Keystone RV, helping develop the Cougar and Montana brands, before an 11-year stint as general manager at Forest River’s Prime Time Manufacturing. After recovering from medical issues, Rank rejoined Keystone RV as part of the Arcadia team.
“We were very lucky to get Jeff to accept the challenge to come back in and build something from the ground up,” Runels said. “His attention to detail is like nothing I have ever seen. That makes this whole process, when you start up, so easy. Jeff is the master of efficiencies.”
Bailey was among the first on board with Arcadia. Runels said leadership liked his breadth of knowledge and the industry, saying Bailey was not just proficient in sales but had a deep knowledge of how the RV industry works.
Payne worked with Keystone for years from the dealership side. Runels said she brings a wealth of retail experience, enabling the team to understand what the retail customers and dealerships are looking for from the Arcadia team.