July '19

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JULY SPECIAL SECTION I t may be hard to picture Lippert Components as a family business these days. After all, from its founding in 1956, it has grown to become one of the biggest suppliers of OE and aftermarket parts in the RV industry and has a sizeable presence in the manufactured housing and marine industries as well. But a trio of brothers who bear the company name – CEO Jason Lippert, VP of Marketing Jarod Lippert and Assistant General Manager Jayde Lippert – keep an eye on where the company came from, even as it has been publicly traded since 1997. "There is an overwhelming sense of pride that goes into working for a company with your last name on it," Jason Lippert says. "Not only do you want to do right by the ones that came before you, but you also want to make sure that the generations to come have an even better experience than we did. Being able to share this ride with your siblings is just the icing on the cake!" The brothers' grandfather, Larry Lippert, started the business in 1956. Their father, Doug, took over in 1977 and ran the business until Jason took over in 2003. "It's a pretty huge responsibility to take over a business that has flourished for two previous generations," Jason says. "It's also truly rewarding to see it grow to the lengths that it has grown. In the end, the most rewarding part of it all will be that we know that we gave it our all, that the company grew and flourished under our watch, and that we set up the next generation of leadership to be successful." Jason says that if there is a downside to having family members working alongside, it is that they are all very involved in the work. It becomes hard sometimes to get together and talk about their lives outside of the company. But in the end, "Brothers will be brothers – we don't always agree on everything!" U nlike most teenagers, when Tera Grengs got grounded she wasn't sent to her room. Instead, she was sent to the shipping department at Valterra. "You learn a lot," she laughs. Tera's, father, George Grengs, is the CEO of Valterra, a com- pany started by her grandfather, Bert Grengs. The company was originally named GrenTec and it made RV toilets and other RV accessories. When Bert decided to retire, George and his siblings bought the family business and renamed it Valterra. Once her uncle retired, her dad became the CEO of Valterra. Tera worked for the company while she was growing up. During summer breaks in high school, she would work as a receptionist. She has interned, worked in the factories, on the line, and of course, done her time in shipping. "Growing up and being around this industry was always fun. I had a lot of very interesting experiences," she says. "Being attached to the RV industry my whole life has been great. It's really nice to be with your family." As Tera ventured out on her own into the world she worked for a few other manufacturing companies doing sales and product development. Then she got into art. When Valterra needed some marketing help, she came back as the marketing manager. That was five years ago. Even though she's older now, Tera says she still had to remember her dad is CEO – and not just dad. "It's interesting working together because I don't have the same filter I would with normal CEOs," she says. "I realized when I first started working and looked up during a meeting and said, 'Are you kidding me?' to him. I was like, 'Oh yeah, that's right. You're the boss. Let's work on this.'" One way they've combated this is by creating a buffer. Tera has a boss she reports to, and if either she or her dad have issues, they address them with the boss, but she says issues don't come up often. "It's fun to spend the time with him and go to shows," she says. "It's different. I've been with other manufacturing companies and done a lot of presentations. Doing it with your dad next to you is a different experience. It's great to see how well-liked and well-respected he is in the industry. Watching him work is great." One of the best parts of working at Valterra is the sense of family Tera gets. "It's been really great working here," she says. "We have employees in this building who have been here for 15, 20, 30 and 40 years. There is a handful of people around here I've known since I was 5. It always kind of feels like your home." LIPPERT COMPONENTS JASON, JAYDE AND JAROD LIPPERT 26 • RV PRO • July 2019 RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY VALTERRA TERA & GEORGE GRENGS Jason, Jayde and Jarod Lippert

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