In our member spotlight series, RVWA interviews many of the women who make up the RV industry, highlighting how they got into the industry, what they currently do, and advice for other women. We also dive deeper to understand these women more and what drives them both in and outside the industry.
Growing up in Southern California as part of a family with a small popup camper turned Amanda Bungartz into an adult who “gets it”.
Those experiences in the outdoors, the quiet time – and not-so-quiet time – with her family, the road trips all equipped her for her current position as an associate creative director on the THOR Industries marketing team.
Of course ,she has all of the requisite training to plan out articles, videos, photo and video shoots and how to plan out solid marketing campaigns. But if she ever got in a bind for how to convince someone to consider RVing, she only needs to turn back to clock a bit.
“RVing is a bit nostalgic for me,” Bungartz said. “Those trips are truly some of my most fondest memories. Being in the outdoors is so healing and beneficial on so many levels. The RV industry is encouraging people to get outside and experience that. In my current role at THOR I get to interact with a lot of RVers. The sense of community and acceptance among RVers is unparalleled.”
“The RVing community is truly unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I love that,” she continued. “The industry has been able to bring these people together and they’re so helpful, so welcoming, so accepting. I think that’s pretty special.”
With a background in psychology and journalism, Bungartz knew she wanted to do something creative to make a living. She started out with an assortment of advertising jobs and worked for publishers creating branded content.
More recently she worked for a company that produced content for THOR, which introduced her to the RV industry and the possibility of being part of the outdoor recreation community.
“When the opportunity came up to work directly at THOR, I thought, ‘Wow, this is so great. I can do some more work with this awesome team that I already know and be solely focused on the RV and outdoor space,’” she said. “I kind of slowly evolved into my current role through the various companies that I’ve worked for. I’ve just been able to hone in on exactly what I wanted to do, which is oversee creative for THOR brand.”
Bungartz describes herself as being passionate about the environment and “keeping green spaces healthy”, so her interests definitely fit in with the idea of the RV industry being a part of the greater outdoor recreation community.
She said watching the industry making strides toward production of electric vehicles has been an exciting development for her and something she believes THOR has become a leader in promoting.
“I’m very proud of THOR and all the work they’ve done around that,” she said. “In a similar vein, I’m really excited to see how technology in RVs will continue to evolve over time. You see it now with touch screens and apps that can turn lights on and off or pull the awning out. But I think it will be really cool to see how things like voice technology or connected technology or 5G will continue to shape and impact the industry. Those things touch every aspect of our lives, so it’s inevitable that it’s eventually going to touch the RV industry.”
The changing nature of the technology and general outlook of the industry are two things that Bungartz says she believes should attract a new generation of worker to the industry = a generation that is willing to take the things that have gone before and meet the challenges of a new direction.
She encourages anybody who might be interested in working in the industry to reach out to people within the industry and learn more.
“I have done that in the past and am always so appreciative when people have agreed to jump on the phone with me for 15 minutes and talk about their career,” she said. “It’s really valuable to hear that from someone who is in it. It sounds intimidating to reach out to a stranger on LinkedIn or ask a friend who is connected to them to reach out, but networking is so important and sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.”
She said that even if someone speaks to an industry person who is not immediately in their field of interest, it still helps the newcomer to become engaged outside of just work.
“I feel more inspired when I do these (creative) things and that inspiration really carries over into my job,” Bungartz said. ‘Even if you’re not in a creative role, doing something that feeds your soul will make you a better, happier employee.”