Accommodating family life turned into a long career.
When a person has spent much of their career in quality and quality management, you might expect them to be a bit of a perfectionist.
But a quick chat with Becky Willis, who has occupied positions such as those at Lippert Components since 2005, doesn’t reveal the kind of stress that might be surrounding such a job.
Instead, Willis happily recounts what she recalls as a journey that started because she didn’t want to miss any of the major events in her two children’s lives.
“I was in sales, so I was traveling a three-state area and I had two young children…” she said. “We had just bought a house with a pool, and it was summer, so I thought I am just going to get a job 6 to 2 and be at the pool in the afternoon with the kids and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I just never left. It steamrolled from there.”
She has spent 30 years in the RV industry including her time in quality control, as a product manager and working with engineering at Lippert. She is now the Director of Product Warranty for Lippert.
“If you had asked my young self at 18, ‘Are you going to work in the RV industry for most of your working life?’ I would have said you’re crazy,” Willis said. “But I love it. I live in Churubusco, so I’ve always commuted to my work area. These days with remote working brought on by COVID it’s kind of been a nice thing to work part of the time from home and in the office part of the time,” still fulfilling my responsibilities.
She said the thing she loves most about the industry is that it can do for anybody just what it has done for her – provided a means to spend time with family and raise kids in the great outdoors.
Willis said her family didn’t do a lot of camping when she was growing up, so it was a new idea for her to adjust to when she joined the industry.
But seeing how camping brings people together, she has become proud of her position in the RV industry.
“I love that commitment to family and to community. Most industries aren’t doing what Lippert and the industry are doing these days to bring families together, which is so important. I brag about Lippert all the time,” she said.
Willis also is proud of Lippert’s Scout Program, in which the company actively seeks feedback from customers and campers in general not only to find out how to improve their products, but also to learn what kind of products they would like to have which Lippert may not offer.
She said the input the company receives from its retail owners provides a real opportunity to impact lives.
Similarly, Willis said anyone wishing to start a career in the industry shouldn’t be meek about what they are looking for but should make sure a potential employer knows what kind of skills they are bringing and what kind of job would suit them.
“Don’t go in shy,” she said. “If there’s something you want to do, make sure you’re vocal about it. Don’t wait for somebody to ask what interests you. Let them know this really interests you and you want to know how to get there. Be that person. Be that force.”
She said that for women in particular, opportunities are growing and with more women in the workforce, more support mechanisms are in place.
“Lift each other up. We’re here,” she said. “If things aren’t going your way and you need some help, call anybody in RVWA and somebody will be there just to listen, share and throw ideas out there. We can lift each other up. We are such a powerful force.”