Being a large factory in a small town
Forest City has a population of about 4,500 people. Winnebago is by far the largest employer here. This makes some things easier and others more difficult – like finding employees. Having a skilled workforce is crucial and, for a factory of this size, it is a challenge. Because of this they have also some plants spread out in the area, in other small towns, such as van production in Lake Mills, 20 minutes away. Winnebago also has facilities in Minnesota, Indiana and Florida.
Forest City is the main facility, where it all started, and it is huge! As I said before, I have been to many European motorhome factories. But this is the first factory where I have been driven between the different factory buildings. It is more like a small town than a factory. And as all small towns, it has its own water tower.
One thing that I came to understand during my visit is that people enjoy working at Winnebago. Many I spoke with have worked there for decades. As did their parents. In many cases their children also work there. You could think this is of necessity, that they have no other options, but no. Actually, Winnebago needs them just as much as they need Winnebago, so the company treats them well.