Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. reported that its line of Solera awnings are now carried on more than 65 recreational vehicle brands, according to a press release.
Assembled entirely in Indiana’s Elkhart County, the product is an example of LCI’s vertically integrated production capabilities, with certain parts created in its Indiana-based aluminum extrusion plant. More than 250 awnings are now being produced daily at LCI’s facility with capacity for additional volume.
“OEMs are attracted to Solera Awnings for several reasons,” said Lippert Vice President of Sales Andy Murray, “First, we’re dedicated to building the best quality product on the market, and second, we will continue our research of industry-first innovations to add to the Solera Awning. The industry is moving towards all-electric products and we are taking the lead by creating awnings that are of high quality and easy for consumers to operate. In addition to the Solera power awning, we are also producing slideout awnings of the same quality.”
Josh Miller, product manager for Keystone RV Co.’s Sprinter, noted, “Lippert’s awning enables the camper to shed rainwater left or right, depending on the campsite. RV owners like the manual override because, in case of a power failure or motor failure, all it takes is a power drill to retract or open the awning.”
LCI’s Mobile Outfitters aftermarket division has been receiving similar feedback about Solera Awnings. “The unique design features of Solera also make it popular among our network of dealers and distributors,” said Mobile Outfitters’ General Manager Steve Paul. “Our Solera aftermarket sales and replacement parts program is now ready to go for 2013-2014. These parts are currently available through warehouse distributors in the United States and Canada.”
RV Product Manager Steve Christenson from Bell Industries added, “We’re getting more and more calls from dealers every day asking about the Solera Awning product. We’re in the distribution business and our goal is to fulfill our customers’ wants and needs. We’re seeing a lot of great things coming down the pipe with Lippert Components and we’re excited to continue building this relationship.”
The Goshen City Council approved Tuesday (May 7) tax phase-ins for two RV companies that could bring more than 400 new jobs to the Indiana city.
According to a report by the Goshen News, Lippert Components Inc., which produces chassis, chassis parts, galvanized steel roofing and components for the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, received approval for a tax phase-in to expand its operations at three Goshen facilities.
According to Mark Brinson, community development director for Goshen, new manufacturing equipment, painting equipment, lathes and dust collectors will be added beginning this month. The cost will be $10 million, resulting in up to 376 new jobs being created by 2016. All the jobs created will be for production positions, which will average $13 per hour.
Ocala, Fla.-based Falcon Corp., a distributor for electrical, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning, doors, windows, electronics and appliances, received a seven-year tax phase-in for real property and a five-year tax phase-in for personal property investments.
With the approved phase-in, the company plans to build a 170,000-square-foot distribution facility which will also serve as a regional headquarters. The $3.9 million facility will be constructed along Century Drive beginning this month. The company will also spend $502,000 for equipment.
About 27 new jobs will be created with the approved phase-in and the company will move 37 jobs to Goshen from its Elkhart facility. Wages for the new positions will range from $33,280 a year for production workers to $148,000 for sales positions.
Saturday’s (May 4) 2013 “Bids for Kids” charity dinner and auction benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen, Ind., was reportedly a huge success, largely due to local RV industry supporters.
Boys & Girls Club Director of Resource Development & Stewardship Michilah Miller said the local RV industry’s participation has made all the difference in bringing “Bids for Kids” to a new level in recent years. She said Jason Lippert, chairman and CEO of Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier Lippert Components Inc., past president of the board of directors and chairman of the “Bids for Kids “committee, has encouraged fellow members of the local community’s RV industry for their support of the event — and the RV industry has responded.
More than 550 ticket-holders and upwards of 30 volunteers were in attendance at the Northern Indiana Event Center at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. The Event Center has been the auction’s home for the last four years after the program outgrew its previous location in Goshen.
The 2013 event included 56 live-auction items, a number that swelled to around 100 when including the IU & Notre Dame and Ohio State & Purdue silent auction tables. Live-auction items included such big-ticket packages as two tickets to the French Open tennis quarterfinals in Paris with air travel vouchers and five nights in a hotel near the Champs Elysees; tickets to the Country Music Association Awards with a hotel stay; tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Show in New York City; and a sports package to a Miami Heat NBA playoff game with a hotel stay, first-class air travel, parking in the players’ garage, VIP seating at the game, a meet-and-greet with players and a pair of shoes signed by LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
Some items were subjects of such heated competition that sponsors doubled their donations so both of the two contending bidders could have one.
The enthusiasm and volume of support was overwhelming to club representatives.
“Humbled is not a strong enough word and grateful cannot quite capture the magnitude of thanks, awe, and joy I am filled with,” stated Miller. “To our volunteers, bidders, sponsors, donors and our many cheerleaders at ‘Bids for Kids’: Your generosity is a loud proclamation of hope, and I, speaking on behalf of many, am thrilled to work by your side to better enable our kids to live a full life. Thank you for investing so boldly in a new generation of stories.”
Miller, who is also on the “Bids for Kid”s committee with Lippert, said it’s all part of a larger picture that transcends one fun night’s worth of good deeds among business people who happen to work in the same field.
“People understand that ‘Bids for Kids’ is bigger than any one company. At the end of the day, after the business meetings, the contracts, and the competition within the industry, we are all just people and we are meant to live life together,” she explained. “Bids for Kids allows the RV industry to live life together, and for a whole lot of kids who need to know that they’re not alone.
“It was an amazing night and we could not be more thankful to live in an area that stands behind the kids who need us the most.”
Drew Industries Inc., parent to RV and manufactured housing suppliers Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., reported record sales during its first quarter, ended March 31.
Sales during the three-month period increased 13% to $253 million compared to $223.5 million a year ago. First quarter net income was $8.4 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, versus $11.1 million, or 49 cents per share, in the previous year.
“Our operating profit margin was below the first quarter of 2012 due to production inefficiencies and costs incurred as a result of our significant growth and expansion over the past year; however, profit margins improved sequentially in the 2013 first quarter,” said Fred Zinn, Drew president and CEO. “Our operating profit margin for the first quarter of 2013 was 5.8% before executive succession charges, compared to 4.1% in the 2012 fourth quarter. This sequential margin gain was less than originally projected, primarily due to higher material costs, substantial fixed costs invested in customer service and in anticipation of further sales growth, and seasonally higher payroll taxes.”
“In the first quarter of 2013, our labor efficiencies continued to improve, with labor costs as a percent of sales declining more than 1% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012,” added Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components and Kinro. “We are also implementing additional efficiency improvements. As we previously reported, we expected the cost of implementing facility consolidations, realigning production and improving production processes to continue in the first quarter of 2013, although to a lesser degree than in the 2012 fourth quarter, and this was the case. These costs are expected to decline further in the second quarter of 2013. We remain confident in our ability to achieve further profit improvement, particularly during the second half of 2013, as these costs return to more normal levels, and as the bottom-line impact of the efficiency improvements gains momentum.”
Sales in the first quarter of 2013 increased despite a temporary slowdown in RV industrywide production levels in late March 2013. The increase in Drew’s first quarter net sales was a result of a 15% sales increase by its RV segment, which accounted for 89% of consolidated sales this quarter. RV segment sales growth was primarily due to a 10% increase in industrywide wholesale shipments of travel trailer and fifth-wheel RVs, Drew’s primary RV market. Sales of recently introduced components for towable RVs, as well as motorhome components, also increased, as did sales to adjacent industries and the aftermarket.
In April 2013, RV industrywide production levels improved following the slowdown in late March, and Drew’s consolidated net sales reached a monthly record $100 million, 20% higher than in April 2012.
The company’s content per travel trailer and fifth-wheel increased 11% from the year-earlier period as a result of recent product introductions, product improvements and market share gains.
As previously announced, Fred Zinn will retire as president and CEO in May and Lippert will become Drew’s CEO while Scott Mereness will serve as Drew’s president. Drew will also be relocating its headquarters from White Plains, N.Y., to Elkhart, Ind.
As a result of the company’s executive succession and corporate relocation, Drew recorded a pre-tax charge of $1.1 million in the first quarter related to contractual obligations for severance and the acceleration of equity awards held by certain employees whose employment will terminate as a result of the relocation to Indiana. The Company will record an additional pre-tax charge of $0.7 million related to contractual obligations in the second quarter . No other related charges are expected thereafter. Once the transition and corporate office relocation are completed, the company will save approximately $2 million annually.
The Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, Ind., will hold its 13th annual “Bids for Kids” dinner and auction fundraiser Saturday night (May 4) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart. According to a press release, attendance and donations have increased in recent years due to expanded participation among local RV-related companies, with this year’s head count expected to be around 500.
Michilah Miller, Boys & Girls Club director of resource development and stewardship, credits much of the auction’s growth and success to the influence and leadership of Jason Lippert, chairman and CEO of Elkhart-based supplier Lippert Components Inc. and chairman of the club’s board.
“Jason and Lippert Components have done a great job of getting the whole RV industry involved,” she said. “It’s definitely become much larger since he came on board.”
Auction items this year include guided private fishing tours, tickets to a recording of “Saturday Night Live” and private jet transportation to a concert in Nashville. Attendees are invited to wear their favorite teams’ jerseys in keeping with the event’s tailgate theme. Sponsors include Lippert Components, Consolidated Metals, Ruth’s Chris Steak House Inc., Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co., Wildman Business Group, Standard Industrial, Lakota and Patrick Industries Inc..
“Bids for Kids” will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, contact Miller at (574) 533-4793, ext. 111, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that Grand Design Recreational Vehicles LLC is now installing the Correct Track trailer alignment system as standard equipment on its Solitude fifth-wheel trailers.
According to a press release, the patent pending Correct Track alignment system is integrated into the suspension system of the recreational vehicle chassis. Correct Track enables the manufacturer or dealer to customize the wheel alignment to the end user’s specific requirements.
Out-of-alignment RV and trailer suspensions can create excessive tire wear and failure. The resulting vibration can cause excess wear of other components such as electronics and appliances. Correct trailer alignment can improve gas mileage and reduce wear on suspension components.
“This is just another innovation Grand Design is offering consumers,” said Grand Design General Manager Marc Hauser. “The LCI Correct Track system will allow our owners to fine tune their alignment for years to come.”
“We are extremely pleased that Grand Design has adopted the Correct Track trailer alignment system,” said LCI Vice President of Sales Andy Murray. “This product will help Grand Design owners take full advantage of the latest development in RV suspension technology and benefit from improved towing performance.”
Drew Industries Inc., a key supplier to the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, will release its first quarter 2013 financial results before the market opens on May 3.
Drew also will host a conference call on May 3rd at 11 a.m. (Eastern Time) to discuss its results and other business matters. Participation in the question-and-answer session of the call will be limited to institutional investors and analysts.
Individual investors, retail brokers and the media are invited to listen to a live webcast of the call on Drew Industries’ website at www.drewindustries.com.
Lippert Components Inc. is seeking to expand operations in Elkhart, Ind., and add more than 100 jobs in the process.
The Elkhart Truth reported that the company, based in Goshen, is seeking tax abatement from the city of Elkhart for a three-year period.
The company has been in a growth mode for several years and wants to add 106 jobs by the time the expansion is complete is 2016, said Gary McPhail, chief financial officer for the company.
Expansion in Elkhart involves its operation on C.R. 6. The company hopes to invest $500,000 in real property and $2 million in personal property.
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Two companies have pledged to bring 403 new jobs to Goshen, Ind., in exchange for tax phase-ins spanning seven years each.
As reported by The Elkhart Truth, the Goshen City Council will review requests on April 9, from Falcon Corp. and Lippert Components Inc. to expand, invest in real estate and hire new employees. Both companies supply products for the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries.
Lippert Components wants to expand its operations in Goshen, which include three plants at 2703 College Ave., 2473 Kercher Road and 1701 Century Drive. The company produces RV frames, chassis parts and galvanized steel roofing, among other products. Beginning in May, the company hopes to add $10 million in new manufacturing equipment, largely painting equipment, lathes and dust collectors.
Lippert, a division of Drew Industries based in White Plains, N.Y., employs more than 4,000 people in Elkhart County along with its affiliated company Kinro. By 2016, Lippert wants to add up to 376 production workers at its three Goshen facilities. The new employees would earn an average hourly wage of $13, not including overtime or production bonuses.
While Lippert would still pay about $295,620 in additional property taxes, a phase-in spanning seven years would save the company $484,380 in personal property taxes, according to a memo to the city council from Goshen Community Development Director Mark Brinson.
Falcon Corp., operated by Dave Carter and Associates, hopes to relocate its distribution center from 1136 Verdant Drive in Elkhart to a new facility on Century Drive in Goshen. The company, headquartered in Ocala, Fla., has been around for three decades with a dozen offices and distribution centers across the country, including its plant in Elkhart. Its product lines include electrical, plumbing, ventilation and air conditioning, windows, electronics and appliances.
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As part of its succession planning, Lippert Components Inc. has hired Frank Perna as vice president of operations for the company’s manufactured housing windows division.
Over the next twelve months, Perna will be succeeding Jim Chamberlain, who has served Kinro, LCI’s sister company, for over 17 years.
“Frank will assume the position immediately. Jim will stay on with the company for a year in an advisory role and will help oversee several high-level projects until his retirement,” said LCI President Scott Mereness in a press release.
Perna is a 25-year veteran of the vinyl and aluminum window industry, most recently working for Silver Line Building Products LLC, a division of Andersen Windows.
Perna holds a mechanical engineering degree from Penn State University and is a Six Sigma yellow belt. “I look forward to joining the LCI team and creating new, innovative products for the manufactured housing market,” said Perna.