EDITOR’S NOTE: Several times a month RVBusiness will post an “RVWA Spotlight,” which will highlight a member of the RV Women’s Alliance (RVWA) in each instance. Provided by RVWA, the member spotlight series 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. The series also dives deeper to better understand these women and what drives them.
Courtney Wallis – In on the ground floor and launched for growth with Alliance
Courtney Wallis kicked off her career in the RV industry with Keystone RV, but after the company moved her to its Pendleton, Ore., facility it was a leap of faith over to newly founded Alliance RV that sent her on a whirlwind path of growth and exciting new challenges.
Wallis had been working in Keystone’s HR department when she joined Alliance in a similar capacity in January 2020.
Since that time, the Elkhart, Ind.-based company has grown from fewer than 50 employees to more than 700, with Wallis overseeing Human Resources, payroll, safety, and environmental aspects.“We actually started production officially in our new plant when we opened it on Jan. 13, 2020” she said. “The following January we opened Plant 2 and the Lamination Plant in July of the same year and then the January after that we opened Plant 3.”
Almost as fast as the staff grew, Wallis’ responsibilities grew.
But that fast pace is what kept her engaged and loving life.
“I love dealing with all aspects of situations,” she said. “I could deal with an employee’s complaint one moment and then turn around and attend the meeting to plan their insurance. It’s unpredictable as far as what my schedule looks like for the day. But I love that. I don’t want to just sit in an office and be stuck at the computer. I’m currently planning our annual safety training and it’s pretty crazy just trying to get everything coordinated and get 700+ employees into two different meetings – and chairs and all of that – I have to roll with the punches no matter what it is, and it becomes fun.”
But don’t think that’s it.
As Alliance builds its customer base with a reputation for quality, innovative towables, it looks like more growth is on the horizon.
And that’s just fine with Wallis, who says she’s excited to see where Alliance goes and how much it grows.
“We’re not done growing yet,” she said. “We will be faced with different challenges because we’re still developing, so it will be interesting to see how we adjust to those changes and how we will grow as we are adjusting.”
Wallis said the RV industry is a different world from most professions. Not only is recreation the end goal of the products, but there are such a variety of people working in the industry from skilled professionals to talented production workers.
Wallis said she encourages anybody interested in the industry to give it a shot.
“I personally think there’s something here for everyone, no matter what your skillset is,” she said. “We are a functioning business, so we need accountants and people in HR and sales people. But we also need the people who build the units. They are just as important as everyone else. If you have any type of mechanical skills, there’s a position for you.”
Take that advice from somebody who knows how to find her niche.
After all, Wallis played the Sousaphone in the Marching Hundred at the Indiana University-Bloomington.
But now she has gone from hitting the low notes during halftime shows to hitting the high notes on the corporate lineup.
And she encourages other women to join her on the ride.
“I think the RV industry a lot of times tends to be male-dominated,” she said. “I think my advice would just be to have a voice. I think it’s awesome when I see a woman in a role even on the production floor that is typically a male role in floors or electrical I think it’s breaking molds and I love seeing that. We have 160 women out of 700 people working for us. We can do all aspects so I think we should.”