Nearing Completion! The RVWA 'Drab to Fab' Project
Susan Carpenter: This week is a very exciting week for us because we’re finally making the cabinets, putting them all together, and installing them. We’ve been waiting to do this for a couple weeks. And we’re just waiting for the last of the materials and having the talented workforce to be able to do it. Behind us is a group of ladies putting together the cabinets that were donated to us from a subsidiary of Patrick Industries by a company named Adorn. We have Ashley who works for Patrick back here who orchestrated the whole thing of getting them built and delivered here. And then she’s accompanied by other ladies within the industry that are putting it together.
I’m Ashley Pletcher. I work for Adorn and what Adorn does in the industry is, we manufacture all the pieces and parts that go into building the cabinetry like we are today. Why this is unique is because we do all the components. We don’t actually manufacturer, you know, finished cabinet bases. So, I’m actually learning a lot about what we do as well because we are learning how all of these components go together to, you know, make the finished product. So, getting all the pieces and parts here has been a learning curve for me to understand, how everything comes together in the end.
None of us have ever put cabinets together, other than like IKEA or something like that. It comes with instructions, has the holes, pretty easy to put together. What we got were just slabs of wood. They were finished wood, but nothing else. So, we all just kind of looked at it and thought, okay, how are we gonna do this? So, we called in experts. And today we have Tracy from East To West, who works in their cabinet department, has worked with cabinet for 28 years. And she’s come and volunteered, and she’s showing us the ropes.
Tracy Barnhart: I’m here today to help build cabinets. To anyone off the streets, it looks like pieces of wood. But if you’ve done it for a long time, it’s like oh, this goes here, this goes here. And as long as you got some kind of idea or a picture or something, then you can put it together, you can piece it together. I’ve been doing cabinetry in the RV industry and mobile homes for about 27 years. And there was hardly any women when I first started. And now, this day and age, you see a lot more women being put in charge, supervisors, group leaders, team leads, and everything. And then go to East West and CEO Lisa Leeple.
So back here is exactly the example of what our RVWA is about, uniting people within the industry. So, we have somebody from East To West. We have somebody for Crane Composites, somebody from Patrick Industries.
Nancy Rapp: What I’m doing here today is helping for the third or fourth time on the project, learning all the different ins and outs of the steps as we go along. So, today we’re building cabinets for the interior office and bedroom areas, and certainly not my expertise area, fiberglass, but willing to help out and learn as best I can. Crane Composites’ role in the Drab To Fab project was we came in as a product sponsor back when they initially started building the unit, or rehabbing the unit I should say, probably that August, September timeframe. We were product sponsors supplying some of our FRP called Phylon Max for the front and rears of the rehab Drab To Fab unit.
Ashley: It’s been a lot of learning. You know, I never knew how to install a heated floor. We did the heated floors, the rubber roof. Never been on a roof of an RV, seen plenty of them, but–. So yeah, I mean tearing it apart, it’s been a fun process, but definitely a lot to learn.
Nancy: Getting to work with all these unique individuals, females in the RV industry, has been a very learning experience. We don’t get to interact very often on our day-to-day jobs. You run into a few of them here and there. You see a familiar face, but you just don’t get to learn who they are, what’s your name, what’s their role, what’s their area of expertise. It really has been a fun educational experience for me just, getting to know some people. We’ve actually helped each other out in other areas since the Drab To Fab project has started. I see that being a continuing thing.
Ashley: I can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many people I’ve, met through this process that I wouldn’t have met outside of it. You know, just different people from maybe people that aren’t necessarily customers that I deal with on a daily basis or just depending on where their level of expertise is. We may not have crossed paths, had it not been
for this specific project. So, it’s been great getting to know other people. And I mean, I’ve even ran into them outside of it. And so, it’s been a cool experience.
Nancy: The RVWA’s importance in the RV market is bigger than I thought it was. I’ve been in the industry now for 20 years. I was one of very few females back, back in the early 2000s. And I think now, more than ever, because there are more and more females coming in, that having an organization to try and help manage, recruit, educate, unite, inspire, is really important.