This blog appears on the Jayco website.
The beginning of Jayco was truly a family affair. Bertha Bontrager still remembers how telling her husband Lloyd, “I think you should go out on your own,” in 1968, helped motivate him to break away from the Starcraft RV division he had helped start years before.
Having started Jayco on the family farm, the six Bontrager children were engrained in the business from day one, helping out where they could. The eldest child, Wilbur, made his mark on the business early and often, helping to set up the original facility and make parts for the next day’s production after school let out for the day. Wilbur officially became an employee in the spring of 1971.
In December 2018, after nearly 48 years, he announced his retirement from full-time employment. Because of his innovative engineering, vision and longevity, he’s thought of as a giant in the RV industry today.
He’s been even more to the people at Jayco: a steadying force during times of tragedy and economic turmoil, a relentless proponent for living and working by The Golden Rule, and, maybe most importantly, a friend and mentor to the many who have worked in the plants and offices here in Middlebury. You won’t hear him boast though, instead, you may hear him sum up this approach as the “Jayco Way”.
His contributions have been countless, but let’s take a look back at some of the milestones and achievements of the fruitful career of the now former chairman of the board.