Podcast episode 56 was recorded in the rain at a campground near Humboldt, Iowa, the headquarters to Born Free motorhomes, which was hosting more than a hundred Born Free owners for a homecoming event this week.
The company, which is in transition following the sale by owner John Dodgen to an investment capital firm, manufactures about five custom-built motorhomes a month. The owners are fiercely loyal to the brand and for good reason — the Class C motorhomes are meticulously handcrafted and customized to each owner.
John Dodgen, who is battling cancer, spoke to his fans for a while on Wednesday to thank them for their support during the 40 years he has been affiliated with the company. Born Free’s new leadership didn’t want to do a podcast or story during homecoming week, but several people who spoke to the executives noted that the company was beginning to develop a dealer network to carry the products.
Host Greg Gerber, the editor of RV Daily Report, talks briefly about a new high-tech security device he has been testing called Guardzilla. It detects motion in the RV, sounds a siren and immediately sends three high-quality photographs of the interior to the RV owner’s smartphone.
Technology is the focus of this week’s podcast with guest Jon Manley, the president of Winegard, which makes a variety of high-definition over-the-air and satellite antennas for the RV industry.
Manley talks about how the company embraces lean manufacturing to source every component from American firms as it builds its high-tech products from satellite dishes to circuit boards from its headquarters in Burlington, Iowa.
Manley describes how the transition to high-definition has impacted the RV industry and why he thinks television will remain a viable entertainment option for RVers since it is nearly impossible to stream video in a campground.
The company has invested heavily into creating automated processes to build the components, yet the quality of finished products attests to the value of that investment, he explains. Manley also provides some insight into the direction of the RV market, at least from a component supplier perspective — and it’s good news for consumers, especially where satellite Internet is concerned.
For more information on Winegard’s high-definition satellite and over-the-air antennas, visit www.winegard.com.