D&W Inc.’s 50-Year Run has Strong Family Roots

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June 19, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

D&W President Tony Warning cuts the red ribbon to make the company’s 50th anniversary

A sense of family has always been an integral part of D&W Inc., a supplier of mirror, heat-ducting products, heating and AC outlets, and sealants to the RV industry.

That heritage was proudly on display Thursday (June 15) as the company marked its 50th year of operation since its founding by Dudley Warning with a celebration luncheon at its headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.  

According to Warning’s son, Tony, who currently serves as president and CEO, the company’s roots trace back to his father’s foresight, as he recognized a need in the RV supply chain.

“He worked for a company that developed a compact furnace for RVs but was unable to market the product because there was no supplier for the specialized ducting,” Tony said.   

“My father found an Amish sheet metal fabricator in Topeka, Ind., to make the parts. Then he found the flexible ducting to make the conduit for the heat and started putting that together. It grew fast. He was still selling for the furnace manufacturer and was selling the ducting on the side, so he finally went out on his own, starting the company in his garage.” 

Tony related to that he joined D&W when he was in high school. “I started helping by packing orders and making deliveries after school. At that time you could make deliveries until 5:30 in the evening,  so I would get done with school and load up my station wagon — a real hot car in high school,” he joked. “We had an old horse trailer that we used to pull behind the car and I would load up sheet metal parts and bring them back to our house — it was actually in our garage that we set up production. My mom did the billing and the invoicing.”

While business is strong for its RV products, Tony’s son, Paul, reported that the company has broadened its territory to cover the U.S., Canada and Mexico, while also widening its portfolio with a mixture of RV accounts, hospitality, furniture and other sectors in need of mass quantities of mirror and glass.

“A lot of the mirrors you find in a hotel or the mirrors you find in your bathroom at home or apartments are ours,” said Paul, who also worked his way up and currently serves as sales manager for the mirror and glass business. “Everything is based in Elkhart. We have some distribution facilities that we partner with across the country, but for the most part everything is done right here.”

The company currently occupies a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center and maintains a fleet of delivery trucks for nationwide service at its downtown Elkhart facility. The manufacturing division offers mirror manufacturing, beveling, edge grinding, water-jet cutting, V-grooving, tempering, and vinyl lamination for all types of flat mirror and glass products.

In addition, the distribution division supplies more than 200 products for the RV, manufactured housing and marine industries. The company employs 65 team members.

But, despite the company’s growth, the strong sense of family is still in play today.

“D & W has been a really nice family-centered business to work for over the years,” said Sue Ann West, controller for the firm and 33-year employee. “A lot of employees have been here 10, 15, 20 years. So I think that speaks volumes for what this company represents.”

— Ron Barger

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