Senator Mike Braun has taken a look inside the RV industry for himself after he was given a personal tour of an RV manufacturer in Elkhart County.
On Wednesday, Braun visited Grand Design RV in Middlebury to learn more about the industry.
Senator Braun seemed to hit it off with Grand Design CEO and President Don Clark, as both men have experience in starting a small company and growing it to employ thousands of people.
“The fact that he cares enough about not just our company, but our industry to get more involved and learn more about it, is fantastic,” said Clark. “It bodes well for us, but it also bodes well for him. He’s got a better understanding of something that’s very important to our state, and that’s the RV industry.”
Senator Braun says the manufacturing of RVs and motor homes is one of the largest industries in the country with Indiana at the center of it all.
That’s why the senator paid a visit to Grand Design RV, a manufacturer that was founded in 2013, just after the recession.
“We left the largest RV manufacturer on the planet and the three of us had great jobs that you’d give your right arm for,” said Clark. “But we believed in what we could accomplish, we believed in a different way of doing business.”
Senator Braun says he can relate to the difficulty of starting a business.
“For many years, I questioned if I made the right decisions,” said Braun. “Reinvesting everything that we made, I’m always preaching: invest in your employees, they are your best asset.”
As the RV industry appears to be slowing, both Braun and Clark remain optimistic about the economy and what’s to come.
“We’re in a lull right now, but we’ve been in an economic growth in the industry for the last nine years,” said Clark. “So at some point in time, it’s got to level off just to keep it in reality. So, it’s leveled off and maybe it’s softened just a little bit, but certainly not like an economic downturn.”
“You’re going to find that if you run your business in a good way, you’ll get through it, find more opportunity than you will trouble,” said Braun.
Clark says his advice to other entrepreneurs is that if you’re ready with a business plan and are in an industry that is growing, you should take the risk of starting a company.
He says even if his company hadn’t been a success, he would’ve been happy he at least tried.