May '19

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18 • RV PRO • May 2019 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S cess. Still, "the reality was we could never speculate what we were joining was soon to be such a major player in the industry." Though Thor doesn't reveal sales for individual com- panies, Keystone is believed to be Thor's largest company with annual sales exceeding $1 billion for each of the past several years. During his 20-year career at Keystone, Zimmerman, now Keystone CEO, has reported directly to five of the men fea- tured in this series: Cole Davis, Ron Fenech, Bill Fenech, Don Clark and Bob Martin. He considers himself "a student" of them all. "Part of what I believe makes a successful company is great systems and processes. It starts with great leaders in the beginning that make personal growth part of their overall management plan and coaching them along the way," he says. "I have been fortunate to have worked for each of them and had the opportunity to learn from them." Each of the five brought a unique style to the industry, according to Zimmerman. "Bill Fenech was a very energetic, high-energy leader. He taught me always to be 'up' and 'smile through the phone.' Don taught me about strategy. Ron was also a good strate- gist – but to a whole other level. He would tell me, 'As good as it seems in front of you, look beyond that.' He would say, 'Walk before you run.' He was right. "Bob Martin has been just really inspirational in his lead- ership roles," adds Zimmerman, who's been 'a student' of Martin's the longest among the quintet of leaders. "He's taught me how to focus on the big picture. He is very encour- Former Keystone RV employees that have gone on to greater things include: Aram Koltookian (top), president of KZ RV, and Nate Goldenberg (right), Grand Design general manager of the Momentum and Solitude brands. aging. He is the guy who you can sit down and have a conversation with. He's a good listener and able to guide you through common sense in fair and reasonable approaches. He's the guy in the boat rowing with you." Zimmerman adds, "I want to believe Key- stone and Coachmen not only have grown great leaders for our industry – think of their leader- ship qualities from a community aspect. Their outreach goes beyond just their businesses and into their communities. That's the real take- away: If these great companies weren't here, where would our communities be?" Clark Marvels at RV Industry Talent Don Clark, who has been a key leader at three of the great RV companies (Coachmen, Keystone and Grand Design), con- tinues to marvel at the success of his colleagues past and present. "Matt Zimmerman was a young man when I was at Key- stone. I saw a tremendous amount of ability and raw talent in him. He was an up and comer. I was blessed with having people with a lot of raw talent like Matt and Bob Martin at Keystone. I knew Bob was going to be something greater, but he needed the platform to grow. "I hired Nate Goldenberg when he was 19 years old. Today, Nate is one of the top designers and sales executives in our industry. He came from Keystone, joined me at Dutchmen and now he's over here at Grand Design. He's another protégé of what a company can develop." Looking back now, Clark maintains that companies like Coachmen and Keystone have played an important role, not just in the lives of the people who worked there, but also "moved the needle for our industry through those people." The Leadership Factories, Part 1 https://rv-pro.com/features/leadership-factories-part-1

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