July '19

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JULY SPECIAL SECTION 28 • RV PRO • July 2019 RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY A t first glance, it might look like John Roba did the math, figured out exactly when he would need to have a youngest son in order for that son to be ready to take over the family business and then went back to work building JR Products into one of the better-known suppliers in the segment. But John was pretty busy building his own RV/MH Hall of Fame career and Brian's interest in the business was born more from watching with fascination as his dad build those busi- ness relationships over the years. John started JR Products in 1970 and Brian joined the crew in 2004, joining sister Sally Moore and brother Doug Roba in the family business. "So, we treat all of employees like family," Brian says. "And I think it drives a higher level of passion in the things we do and more commit- ment to having the best company we can. It probably sounds like it's a cheesy line. But it's true. Every one of our employees feels like family every single day. That's how we treat them. So, I think it shows in the quality of everything we do." Brian says the first 10 years he worked with his dad was mostly learning the ropes. He says he had been working on and off with the business, helping at trade shows and watching his dad traveling, but once he came on full time and started to figure things out, he could tell his dad was starting to move toward retirement mode. At age 81, John still spends plenty of time with the business, but Brian is now at the helm – having bought out his siblings – and is trying to live up to some pretty big shoes to fill. "There's very few aftermarket people that have ever been inducted into the RV Hall of Fame," Brian says. "So, he's kind of almost in a league of his own. It's been big shoes to fill, but you know, that's really what our company has always been about, a family aspect. So, that part of it is really cool having his name in the industry and so many people have known him for 50 years." Brian said it became something of a running joke with his friends in the industry that every time he introduces himself, the response is always, "Oh, you're Brian, John's son." It has come to the point where he is jokingly known as Brian Johnson instead of Roba. "I've always looked at that as an honor just because of who JR PRODUCTS BRIAN, DOUG AND JOHN ROBA AND SALLY MOORE my father is and the path that he's chosen for our company and the tradition that we have," he says. "And I've never shied away from being my father's son." A third generation of the family seems just around the corner. Nephew Michael Moore is handling purchasing activity, and Brian has two children who are at least 10 years away from deciding if they'll jump onboard JR Products. Brian is proud to have followed John in the leadership posi- tion of the company, but he says he knows any time he has any questions, there's a walking RV industry encyclopedia just a phone call away. "We have just that general knowledge to be able to walk in and sit down and talk it out you know, 'What do you think of this business idea or business decision?' and you'll go back there 60 years of similar things a bit of a sounding board," he says. "It's been a great transition. And I've enjoyed working under him. I've enjoyed working with him and I thoroughly enjoy the position of being president and CEO of the company and having to make all the decisions." From left to right: Doug, John and Brian Roba

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