Amy Verwey – The long way around the block is sometimes the best way
Amy Verwey is probably right where a lot of people would expect her to be, filling the general manager job at her family owned dealership.
But when you hear the full story of her career and understand the options that she has had at various stages, you get to see that her job is a labor of love and goes a lot farther than just a job that has been sitting there waiting for her to come home.
Verwey, of Owasco RV Centre in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, had something of the typical upbringing for a lot of kids in the RV industry. She spent years taking the bus to the dealership instead of home after school.
There she spent time cleaning the lot, adjusting signs on motorhomes, washing and cleaning the units. You name it, she probably did it.
She even spent time helping in the rental business, in customer service and managing the parts department before her path diverged from the stereotype.
“At that point I was offered the opportunity to go overseas as a travel agent selling motorhome vacations back to Canada,” she said. “That was another cool experience for me. I spent six months doing that.”
She returned to Owasco’s parts department until an opportunity to work in a British Columbia service department came up.
“I was young and didn’t have a family at the time, so I was like ‘why not?’” she said. “I did that for 2½ years and came back and ran our rental division and sales department and got promoted to GM in 2018 when we opened our new RV store here.”
So it might seem that home is where Verwey was meant to be, but she has picked up a lifetime of experience and travel along the way while exploring the opportunities life presents for a woman of energy and a drive to succeed.
She credits the relationships she has built with customers over the years as being one of the biggest draws to the RV industry.
“It’s great to be around overall happy people,” she said. “You’re selling a lifestyle. Families come in and are super excited to pick up their rental or their motorhome. Being a part of that is a great feeling.”
She said she also enjoys seeing the new technology and new design aspects cycle their way into the RV industry.
Owasco RV also has an automotive element to its business, so Verwey often sees some of the technology on the automotive side before it works its way over to RV.
“The innovation is what I’m most excited about,” Verwey said. “Seeing what’s coming down the pipes with smartphone apps and things like that adapting to customers’ needs. It’s such a demand from people now and to see the manufacturers adapt to that is really cool.”
She said she considers the industry something of a hidden gem.
It’s not something everyone knows a lot about and it’s not an industry that requires a lot of job-specific related experience.
Verwey said many of the people she hires at her dealership are from outside, but they’re outdoorsy an adventurous and are looking for a great experience.
“It’s really, really fun. It’s definitely something you should explore if you haven’t already,” she said.
As for women considering a career change or just a new start, she encourages them to go for their dreams and don’t hold back.
She said there will be risks involved, but the end result is worth the challenges faced along the way.