Huntington University alumnus Jeff Fought sits in the driver’s seat of Cruiser RV in Howe, Ind. Fought, the general manager and part owner of Cruiser RV, is a 2004 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in business. Cruiser RV employs 110 people, and Jeff anticipates that number will continue to climb.
“Management of the company is a daily challenge, but has been rewarding as Cruiser RV has grown immensely,” Jeff said.
Sales in 2006 were an estimated $40 million, and Jeff had expected 2007 sales to be $50 million. Despite a great deal of success, Cruiser RV still experiences challenges. Several RV manufacturers operate in the same area, and maintaining employee loyalty can be difficult. Because of a bonus incentive related to production, Jeff says it’s not easy to balance speed with quality. Merging faith and business has been another challenge for the young alum.
“I believe that business is probably one of the toughest work environments to apply faith to,” Jeff said. “The business professors at Huntington University did a wonderful job of teaching me how to apply faith to business. Things like servant leadership are used each day in my job. My opinion is that the key to applying faith to business is having a strict code of ethics to live by. An ethical mindset serves as a guideline that all decisions are based on. Ethical decisions are a great way to apply faith to the workplace.
“My Huntington education helped prepare me for my position by providing me with a skill set and knowledge base of business. I believe that nothing can prepare you for the actual workplace except hands-on experience. However, having a solid understanding of business principles and ethics to apply my experience to has been the key. The Department of Business at Huntington is second to none. The skills and knowledge I gained, especially from Professor Dave McEowen, will be with me forever.”
Professor McEowen had used the Cruiser RV for a study he is conducting. Jeff says he has told his former professor to send any bright business students to apply for positions at Cruiser RV. Three other alums currently work at Cruiser RV – Jeff’s wife Mylana (Leatherman) Fought (’04), Ryan Thwaits (’04) and Chase Verba (’06). “I wouldn’t hesitate to hire another Huntington University alum if that person was a good personality fit,” Jeff said.
The successful young entrepreneur encourages any business-minded student to take a look at what Huntington has to offer.
“I would encourage anyone considering Huntington University to make a campus visit and get a feel for its small, friendly environment,” Jeff said. “Take a moment to study the credentials of the business department faculty. They’re highly qualified and are a truly great group of people. If you’re interested in learning business — not just fundamentals, but how to apply skills to actual situations — then Huntington University is for you.”
The road ahead looks smooth for Jeff, Mylana, Ryan and Chase as they combine the knowledge gained and Christian perspective nurtured at Huntington with their own energy and new ideas.
“We’ve got a culture now that’s a majority of young people,” Jeff said. “We bring a fresh outlook to an old industry.”Discover what Huntington University can do for you.
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