July '19

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48 • RV PRO • July 2019 RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY JULY SPECIAL SECTION D ebbie Druien and Chuck Fleischer attribute their completely opposite personalities to the success of their company, Minder Research, a Florida-based supplier firm that makes tire pressure monitors for RVs. "Getting into it we knew we were opposites, so we were like, 'How are we going to survive?' Druien says. "Maybe that's why we did survive," Fleischer adds. The couple have been together 24/7 working and living since they got together 17 years ago. "When you're a husband-and-wife team, that in itself is not an easy thing to do, because you're more or less spending 24/7 working the business and personal relation- ship. Especially when you're inde- pendently employed," Druien says. "Any entrepreneur will tell you that when you're starting a business it doesn't stop. It's not a 9-to-5 job and it takes a pretty special rela- tionship in order to survive." But those differences are what have helped to make Minder Research so successful, according to Druien. "If one of us has difficulties in a specific area of the business the other one tends to be good at," she says. "We're so opposite that it just worked. We went to bat for our customers and employees and treated them as our family." Besides their complementary personalities, the couple says it takes plenty of respect and trust to make their business and their relationship work. "It's not easy to work and live together. Respect and honesty are huge. We felt that way about the treatment of our employees, too. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' Give what you want to get back and treat others with respect, integrity and honesty," Druien says. Fleischer came from Canada, where he started Minder in 2001, and Druien came from a background in the automotive industry. She made the switch to the RV industry and found support from Fleischer as a woman in the industry. "Growing up as a girl, it wasn't said that you can do these things. I had the ambition to learn and he was a man who taught me respect and took my knowledge as true," Druien says. "I think why we lasted so long and worked well together is because we both worked to make Minder the company it was. He respected me and I respected him." Part of that respect meant neither one of the two had ultimate say or final decision. "We were 50-50 partners legally and financially," says Fleischer. "The staff knew we both were responsible for decisions and we both had to agree when a decision had to be made." Although the couple sold the company to Valterra a couple years ago, they have stayed on as consultants through July of next year to assist in the transition. As they back away from the business and begin to embrace retirement, neither knows what to expect or how it will feel to simply be a couple and not a couple and business owners/consultants in the RV industry. "Check back next year in July," says Fleischer with a laugh. "Then we'll tell ya." MINDER RESEARCH, div. of VALTERRA DEBBIE DRUIEN & CHUCK FLEISCHER

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