August '20

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14 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com Profiles of Remarkable Women Shelly Ditmer President DUO FORM PLASTICS As the president of Duo Form Plastics, Shelly Ditmer counts among her most crit- ical achievements modernizing the look of the company's bath products and ushering in a phase of growth. During the 14 years she has worked for the company, Duo Form's sales have climbed from $15 million annu- ally to more than $25 million in the com- pany's RV sector alone. "We've brought more modern colors and prints – including a print that looks like marble – as options for the standard white plastic shower," says Ditmer, who began her career with Duo Form as office manager in 2006. Founded in 1968 in Edwardsburg, Mich., Duo Form Plastics has been a long-time sup- plier of RV OEM parts. Today, the com- pany specializes in heavy-gauge plastic sheet thermoformed products for an expanded range of key markets, including automotive, trucking, medical, food service, aerospace, gaming, signage and – most recently – the RV aftermarket. In her role at the helm of the company, Ditmer is working on a plan to continue driving Duo Form's RV OEM sales and its push into the RV aftermarket over the past year. The roll-out, says Ditmer, has included a mix of Duo Form bath products – tubs, showers and sinks – and new products like skylights and RV slide-outs. Ditmer's career success with Duo Form comes on the heels of a long career in RV and manufactured home component man- ufacturing. As a young professional home from college for the summer, she took a temp job at Design Components, which offered a college tuition payment program for employees. She transferred from Purdue University to Indiana University South Bend, where the company paid for her to complete her degree in business administration, management, and operations. After 10 years with Adorn Components (now part of Patrick Industries), Ditmer transitioned into an office manager role at Duo Form Plastics, where she moved into leadership roles in customer service and sales. She credits industry mentor, Mike Wagner, director of the Middlebury Hardwood Products Division of Patrick Industries, and Duo Form Director of New Product Development Dave Rheinheimer with helping her acquire the knowledge she needed to lead the organization. "Mike Wagner's background is in inventory control and accounting," says Ditmer. "He mentored me to learn more about the manufacturing process of a company." Rheinheimer became an important mentor for Ditmer when she came to lead the customer service department at Duo Form. Relationships like these have remained important to Ditmer, as she has continued to grow her role within the RV industry. "No matter how big the industry becomes, it continues to have a small, family feel," she says. "Everybody knows everybody, and you get excited when you get to go to shows and see people in person." While the industry has historically been male dominated, Ditmer says she has always felt respected and supported – although she also acknowledges that her leadership role remains outside the industry norm. To women coming up in the industry, Ditmer offers the following words of encouragement: "Don't sell yourself short. Know your voice, and know your worth."

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