Change Through Connection
Since the age of five, RVing has been woven into the fabric of Heather Jenks’ life. Growing up in Elkhart County, Heather’s parents worked in the RV industry and camped as a family in a pop-up every weekend each summer. The campground became a source of connection for Heather – both to the world outside her hometown and to her nuclear family.
“When you RV it’s like experiencing a whole different world. Meeting kids who didn’t go to my school growing up gave me the chance to get different perspectives and broaden my horizons. At the same time, my parents were very hard workers, so it was tough to truly connect during the week. Those weekends around the campfire brought us closer.”
While Heather didn’t initially plan on a career in the RV industry, that theme of connection continued when she joined the team at Genesis Products, a leading supplier of RV interior components, 16 years ago. There, she fell in love with the opportunity to help create RV interiors that would enable other families to have the same experiences she did growing up. “I want buyers to enjoy their time inside the RV as much as they enjoy their time exploring outside of it.”
That focus on the consumer is of growing importance to the industry as they face a year where enticing new buyers is top of mind, something Heather will be focused on as she campaigns for a seat on the RV Industry Association board. Heather brings a unique perspective to the table that hinges on creating connections throughout the supply chain with an eye on solving problems for the future.
AS VP of RV Sales at Genesis, Heather has championed the consumer experience as a key driver for investment in capabilities and trends. “As today’s RV user continues to evolve, their needs and expectations are evolving as well. The RV interior should never detract from your camping experience.” Heather stays connected to trends in the industry – from functional storage solutions to trending design.
As a supplier to OEMS with a focus on interior design, Heather has her finger on the pulse of what the industry needs. “It’s really a waterfall effect. What the consumer wants will impact what the dealer sells, which impacts what our OEMs create. Genesis is at the wellspring of that flow and we need to have a deep understanding of each player’s needs. That understanding will help me advocate for the industry across the supply chain.” Heather has also experienced working for a small supplier that has grown into a leader in the industry. “I’m able to understand the needs of the little guys and the perspective of the big guys. As an industry we all need each other.”
As the industry looks collectively toward the future, new solutions are needed to address sustainability and functionality. Heather has deep knowledge of alternative materials that can help the industry rethink how RVs are built, from recycled wood content to PET to hemp-based panels.
Heather’s vision for the future is to help the industry build better products with better raw materials. “I am excited to see the industry embrace innovation as a friend rather than a foe.” She plans to use her experience to help drive the industry forward, from shifting expectations in interior design to supporting efforts that will help children fall in love with RVing. “I’m interested in working to instill the love of camping in others at a young age. RVing is about the appreciation of our land and parks while exploring our great country. The key to our future as an industry hinges on creating the desire to see the world through RVing. We can’t do that without committing to always improving their experience. I’ll bring my passion for the consumer, my understanding of needs across the supply chain and my knowledge of alternative materials to my role as a board member to help us build products for a better future.