Another long term employee ticks over another anniversary, 38 years in the caravan industry.
Noel began his working career as a 17-year-old. Straight from school and after studying design and having a great interest in woodwork, he applied for a position with Windsor Caravans and worked there for 10 years in a variety of roles but predominantly in design, production planning and purchasing. Certainly a man of many talents. He also reflected on his mode of transport back then, being his trusty push bike.
Like our current production manager, Mick, Noel decided to be part of the new company, Roadstar, which was formed in 1988. Continuing in his role as a designer, production planning, he became part a formidable team, soon to become renowned for the high quality of the Roadstar product, and the standards set for the workforce was in line with the quality of the vans produced. A real caring and nurturing philosophy was being built into the DNA of Roadstar Caravans, which continues today. Every new employee quickly understands the culture here.
Noel says that if you didn’t care, then you wouldn’t stay in the industry or with Roadstar Caravans for 38 years.
We asked Noel what changes he has seen during his years at Windsor and Roadstar.
• The vans in the early part of his career were more basic – items, such as air-conditioners and roll-out awnings were options, not standard.
• Simpler wiring systems.
• Customers' buying patterns; the only difference in the vans back then was the colour scheme and with less models, dealers stocked more vans and the customer’s only decision was the colour scheme.
• Regulatory changes in the fields of electrical and plumbing, incorporating gas regulations, were significant improvements.
• Moving from traditional-style furniture (picture frame doors and meranti-framed cupboards) to modern CNC-cut furniture using solid ply carcasses, doors, bench tops and partitions.
• Changes in what customers want in their vans as they became more adventurous, with more free camping being explored as opposed to traditionally staying in caravan parks back in the early days of caravanning.
• The introduction of smooth cladding and the challenges in keeping the weight down when introducing this product, which Roadstar has successfully done.
• The introduction of many varying suspension styles, types and brands.
Happy anniversary, Noel, we know there are many more ahead!