ELKHART, Ind. – Despite heavy winds throughout the day Thursday, nearly 100 people lined up for an exclusive look at Furrion’s Innovation Center and Institute of Technology (ICIT). The grand opening ceremony kicked off on Thursday afternoon with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the sleek, $5 million facility across the street from the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“We came here about eight years ago,” said Aaron Fidler, CEO and founder of Furrion. “We’ve met a lot of great friends, great partners – a lot of them are family to me. It’s been a great adventure, and I’m hoping this technology center will spark innovation for the local industries and take things to the next level.”
To see more photos from the event, view the slideshow at the bottom of the story.
Built by Majority Builders of South Bend, Ind., the ICIT is a daring venture into the future of the RV industry. In fact, the facility is entirely operated on renewable energy.
“I was very happy to be able to work on this project,” said David Behr, regional director for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. “Elkhart County has gone from having the worst unemployment rates in 2009 to one of the best in any county.”
Behr then handed Aaron a folded Indiana flag as an “official” welcome to the state.
Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County President Mark Dobson said, “The amazing EDC team led this effort. … I recall the quote you used,” he said, turning to Aaron Fidler, “describing this as a Google campus. Well, I think Google needs to come and learn some lessons from you.”
Novelty-sized ceremonial scissors were then used to cut the ribbon, and the celebration promptly began with helicopter rides, virtual reality demonstrations, as well as the newborn steps of a 7,700-pound, 14-foot, human-driven mech robot. Dubbed the Prosthesis, the mech is a prototype for a new racing sport the company hopes to start. The hydraulic behemoth, scratching the asphalt with its feet, is an example of innovation the new ICIT represents for the RV industry.
“The ICIT will unite everyone and create some innovation, not only here in Elkhart, but the world,” said Matt Fidler, company CMO and Aaron’s younger brother. “Our intention is to unite everyone to steamroll a product development engine.”
And the number of impressive appliances shown through the keynote, including a 12V refrigerator, was debuted in an all-new showroom, and will surely catch the attention of OEM buyers starting Sept. 1, when they’re released.
Blue LEDs have been added into the knobs of Furrion’s “Professional Chef Collection” oven as though touched by the sci-fi hands of Tron. Two new RV models will be added to the Chef Collection in 2018 with electric/gas, built-in combination ovens – an “industry first”, Director of Specialty Vehicle Sales Chase Healey said during his presentation.
But this is only a taste of what was announced by Furrion, and of what the company plans to launch this year.
For more coverage of the upcoming line of innovative products, read the July 2017 issue of RV PRO and watch for the upcoming “Furrion Grand Opening” video next week.