Celebrating 50 Years at Winnebago Industries

Created: 02/24/2014 6:00 PM
By: Justin Thompson-Gee

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Can you imagine working for a single employer for 50 years? Harlan Rodberg at Winnebago Industries celebrated that milestone Monday.
“The first one we built was $5,900 and we were getting $1.25 an hour,” says Rodberg on his 50th year on the job. Harlan starting working at Winnebago Industries at the age of 19 on February 24th, 1964.
“It’s very unusual for an employee to work in any job for that long, but it certainly says a lot about Harlan Rodberg,” says Winnebago Industries President and CEO Randy Potts.
Rodberg worked through many ups and downs, “the energy crunch really hurt us, slowed us down for a while.”
Rodberg has survived lay-offs, the crash of the motorhome industry and seen how national events impacted production. “Rationing gas back in 70s, that was the worst one. They were going to give you $10 in gas, well, you can’t go very far on $10 of gas in a motorhome,” Rodberg says.
He still works on the line, putting his hands to work making Winnebago motorhomes and has no desire to climb the managerial ladder because he “doesn’t like shuffling papers”.
Rodberg did work as a supervisor for 35 of his 50 years but stepped down once the kids were out of college. And retirement? Don’t even ask.
“People say, are you going to retire? No. There are motorhomes to build and I want to be a part of it!”