Thor Replaces Chief Innovation Officer

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Josef Hjelmaker, who led Thor Industries’ eMobility work to bring an electric concept travel trailer and motorhome to the Tampa SuperShow in January, is transitioning out of his role.

Hjelmaker, who was hired as Thor’s chief innovation officer in September 2020, will be replaced by Airstream’s McKay Featherstone.

A picture of Thor Chief Innovation Officer Josef Hjelmaker
Josef Hjelmaker

Thor stated Featherstone, Airstream’s vice president of product development and engineering, will become Thor’s senior vice president of global innovation.

Hjelmaker has begun transitioning duties to Featherstone, Thor stated, and will provide “continuous advice for a seamless transition and execution.”

Hjelmaker helped Thor execute a memorandum of understanding with ZF Friedrichshafen AG that outlined their joint development of a proprietary electric drive system for towable RVs.

“Josef joined us in the middle of the pandemic and we assigned him the very specific and difficult task of bringing our eMobility strategy to life,” Thor President and CEO Bob Martin said. “The first step, from design to actual product in complicated vehicles like our electric RVs, is an incredibly challenging one. Josef fully met that challenge and delivered what is best in class electric RV designs to our industry, setting the standard on which our industry will build. He has been a great team member and will undoubtedly continue to have many successes in the space of innovation.”

A picture of McKay Featherstone, Thor's new senior vice president of global innovation
McKay Featherstone

Featherstone will join Thor’s team effective May 1, the company stated. Todd Woelfer, Thor’s chief operating officer, said the company was looking to the next phase of its eMobility strategy.

“A sharp understanding of the importance of the RV customer experience and the challenges of delivering a viable go-to-market strategy for our electric RVs was essential,” he said. “McKay has led innovation at Airstream for a number of years. In doing so, McKay has exhibited the skill set and awareness of the need to deliver products that maximize the user experience which is unmatched in our industry.”

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