I was born/grew up in: Lethbridge, Alberta
I now live in: Lethbridge, Alberta
I completed my training/education at: I completed a Recreational Vehicle Service Technician apprentice program at SAIT.
Describe what you do at work.
My main job at work is to make sure my team is accessible to provide the best customer service experience possible. I organize schedules of technicians and make sure they have the tools and materials needed to solve our customers’ RV problems. I review and approve all orders and invoices for our department. In this way I manage our budget and make sure we are spending money on things that will make our business work better. I use a lot of math skills doing this. I also use math when we do our ordering. For example, a lot of our parts come from the US. I have to calculate the exchange rate, compare the cost of various parts and the shipping costs to make sure we are spending the company’s money wisely.
I often engage in a lot of trouble shooting and problem solving. This could relate to mechanical problems that a technician is working on with some customer’s RV. We might have to engage in problem solving to identify the cause of the problem so the technician can fix it. In the summer months, we are a very fast paced industry. People want their RV’s back as soon as possible. This requires a lot of thinking on your feet and quick decision making. It’s stressful at time but when you develop the confidence in your abilities it becomes easier.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
People who enjoy RVing generally have this as their only type of holiday recreation. They don’t go to Disney or places like that. So they expect us to give them good service. If we said their RV would be ready at a certain time and it wasn’t that might ruin their whole vacation. It might not be a life and death situation, but most people only have a set time for their holiday. If they are planning on using their RV then they are counting on me and my team to make sure it is ready, and in great working order, when they need it.
What motivates you in your career?
The thing that motivates me and gets me excited is contributing to the success of our dealership and our staff. When the dealership does well and when customers are happy that means I’m doing my job right. When our staff are successful at their jobs that means I’m being successful too. I love teaching them something and then seeing them use it to do their job better. It helps them in their career. I work hard to make sure our staff is successful. This means I have to take on different roles – motivator, coach, friend and sometimes, counsellor. It all adds up to a great job!
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I didn’t start out with a career in the Recreational Vehicle industry in mind. I actually had a good job in the Oil and Gas sector working first as a well tester and then as an oil battery operator. These were good jobs and they paid well. But I wanted a more scheduled and structured life that would let me spend more time at home with my family.
I looked around and learned about the Recreational Vehicle Service Technician apprentice program at SAIT. It’s a great program and covers aspects of 7 different skilled trades’ areas. Recreation vehicle service technicians install, repair and maintain interior and exterior components on motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, truck campers, tent trailers and van conversions. An RV is really a mini home so all the stuff you have in a regular home are there and you have to be able to service it all. I worked really hard and completed the program in 2 years, ending up with both my Red Seal and Journeyman credentials. It was difficult at times because I had to travel to SAIT in Calgary for two months each year for more course work. It was hard being away from my family for those periods. And it was really difficult the time my baby daughter was born while I was away at school.
I worked as an apprentice technician at first here at Prairie Sky RV. This involves a lot of on the job learning as you work with a journeyman technician to apply the stuff you learned in class to different situations. I then became a journeyman technician where I shared my learning with apprentices. I always liked dealing with people so when the opportunity came along to move out front as a Service Advisor I took it. My main role in this position was to act as the contact person between the customer and the service technician.
Now I’m the Service Manager at Prairie Sky. I enjoy the management role as it lets me keep up with the technical side of service and at the same time allows me to work with the team members to help them be the best they can be. And, as a bonus, I get to use my RVST skills and knowledge doing work at home or for my parents and friends.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Working in the RV world eats up a lot of your time. We are super busy about 8 months of the year. I golf when I have time. But most of my free time is spent with my family. I also use some of my RVST training to do repairs for my family and friends.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Give it a chance! You never know the opportunity you may have until you try it out. And if you decide to try it out, give it 100%!