EDITOR’S NOTE: Several times a month RVBusiness will post an “RVWA Spotlight,” which will highlight a member of the RV Women’s Alliance (RVWA) in each instance. Provided by RVWA, the member spotlight series interviews many of the women who make up the RV industry, highlighting how they got into the industry, what they currently do, and advice for other women. The series also dives deeper to better understand these women and what drives them.
Lori Chubb – A focus on wider knowledge makes a more valuable employee
There’s obviously something important about being in the right place at the right time.
But there’s also something to say for being as prepared as possible when an opportunity comes along.
Lori Chubb, who works for Phoenix USA RV, a manufacturer of small Class C motorhomes, can attest to the value of both situations, as she has worked her way up from a sales coordinator with Skyline to now assisting in running the production line for Phoenix.
In between time, she was able to build her skills and her self-confidence working for about 15 years with Dutchmen, where she said the president, Rich Florea and vice president, Steve Paul gave her an ear and presented her with opportunities to learn as much about the industry as she could.
“They actually took my advice on some things as one of the girls because it was mostly men,” she said. “We’d have product meetings and I was the only girl in the product meeting so I’ve been very fortunate in who I’ve worked with.”
With that background, Chubb said she is particularly excited for Lisa Liegl, who founded a new division at Forest River, East to West.
“It’s still a dominated men’s club. I love seeing more females involved,” she said. “I love the RVWA being involved in all of this. Us girls have a lot to say, we just haven’t been heard. But I think it’s mostly that women are getting more involved and getting a say in being promoted. We have a lot to say and a lot to offer.”
At Phoenix USA, Chubb said she finds herself in a similar situation.
The company features a husband-and-wife ownership team, but Chubb said Tina Cooper is involved in much of the day-to-day management of the company.
“She has a majority of say in the product and then she looks to us, to me, which is nice.
Although she loves her current role, Chubb said that if she had it to do all over she probably would become an architect because she finds the creation and release of new floorplans fascinating.
She said she used to sketch out floorplans when she worked at Dutchmen and get a great deal of excitement seeing the new models once they were built.
But for anyone starting in the industry, Chubb encourages them to learn as much as they can about the industry in general in order to make themselves as valuable as possible.
“For example, when I was at Dutchmen if a director of a department was no longer with the company, I would be asked to go run that department until a replacement was found” she said. If you have an opportunity to learn things, learn as much as you possibly can because I think that makes you more valuable.
“One of the reasons I came here is because they needed someone who could do a lot of things,” she continued. “I’ve learned to create bill of materials, I’ve learned purchasing. I’ve been involved in everything and I think the more you learn the more valuable you are.”
She stressed that it is also important for RV employees to save their money.
She points to the downturn of 2008 and calls it a nightmare for everybody. Even though current pay is good, there’s little reason to think that a few economic missteps couldn’t lead to another downturn and more tough times.
“Save your money and learn as much as you can so if there is a time for layoffs, if you’re just focused on your job and that’s all you can do they may have five different people who all do the same thing,” she said. “But maybe they can move you over to do something else. So learn as much as you can.”