March '20

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70 • RV PRO • March 2020 rv-pro.com "We thought that if we could bring a real brand power into the industry with a suite of products it could improve the overall quality of what's going into coaches today," Wechter says. And, he adds, the ability to create the volume needed by the RV industry was also an important consideration. "We knew we couldn't do it on our own, so we went to some of our vendors – and we ended up sitting down with GE," he says. The timing couldn't have been better. Jim Skaggs, vice president of sales for business development for GE Appliances, explains that in early 2016, General Electric had sold its appliance business to Haier Group Corp., a Qingdao, China-based company whose own experience manufacturing refrigerators dates back to the 1920s and had survived Mao's Cultural Revolution. "That really created an opportunity for us to look at our business in a different way," says Skaggs. "Not only were we given access to more capital investment, but we were also challenged to say where else we could grow within the North American market." It didn't hurt that each group was already familiar with the other. "They had been a customer of ours," Skaggs says. "We supplied whatever it was they needed, but more than anything it was for residential spaces." To help make his case, Wechter took more than 30 people to Louisville, Ky., and made a presentation introducing the RV Brandon Campbell (left) and Ernie Campbell maneuver GE Hotpoint refrigerators into place at the Midwest Sales and Service warehouse. Brandon Campbell uses a forklift to bring a pallet full of GE products into the Midwest Sales and Service warehouse in South Bend, Ind. The appliances are ready for shipping to OEMs.

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