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I am energized as I sit here, reflecting on the past week. Why do you ask? Because I hosted an Architect/Builder trip to the Marvin Windows and Doors factory in Warroad, Minnesota. What an amazing experience!
Let’s start at the beginning. It is 7 o’clock on Monday morning and I am pulling into the “MillionAir” airport in Indy. First of all, you tend to get a little excited when you are pulling into a private airfield called “MillionAir.” Just saying!
As we load the private jet, I am starting to feel a little like a celebrity. I am definitely feeling like a pretty good host at this point. Our trip to Warroad, Minnesota only takes 2 ½ hours. Pretty impressive being Warroad is only 6 miles from the Canadian border. I am not sure I can do the experience of riding in a private jet justice. For those of us who fly economy, the experience of a private jet is a like being upgraded to a penthouse suite, amazing!!
The moment we stepped foot in Warroad, approximately 9:30 a.m., we were kept constantly busy with plant tours and product presentations. We were fortunate to have Dave as our tour guide on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was full of interesting stories, some of which I still have absolutely no idea of what he was talking about!
All in all, he made the plant tours not only a learning experience, but entertaining as well. After a long day of “learning,” we were treated to a prime rib dinner and drinks at the American Legion. When I say prime rib, I mean 2 inches thick of succulent meat falling off the sides of the plate. We capped the night off with a tour of one of the greatest classic car collections in the United States, compliments of Bob Marvin for sharing his private collection comparable only to Jay Leno, and a couple of beers at Izzy’s Bar & Grille which is conveniently attached to our motel. Not too shabby of an evening if I do say so myself!
We started the day again at 7:30 a.m. I would have preferred 10 a.m. but I wasn’t consulted in the tours & training department. Given the fact we had already had a plant tour as well as product training by 10 a.m., I guess I get the scheduling thing! There is so much information it is almost impossible to fit it into 2 days, so we have to start early!!
Scott, the co-owner of Franklin Window and Door flew back Tuesday evening with our first group of guests while I stayed in Warroad. I had a meeting scheduled with Christine Marvin, Director of Corporate Strategies on Wednesday morning. So while Scott was flying back up with our second group of builders, architects and remodelers, I was learning all about Christine Marvin and her relatively new role in Marvin’s Corporate Strategy.
Once Scott and our new guests arrived in Warroad, we repeated day 1 and 2. We had a larger group for the second trip and a different tour guide, KarLynn, but the trip was amazing just the same. We even had a personal tour guide for the car museum this time. Each car or truck had its own history and story and it was really cool getting to hear about each one.
The most defining aspect for me is the relationships that were built in only 4 days. I feel like I have known these guys for years. People always ask me: “Is it worth it to bring Architects, Builders and Contractors up to the Marvin Windows & Doors facility?” Without question, I would say “Hell yes, it’s worth it!” But don’t take it from me, let’s hear what they had to say:
Derek Mills, a Graduate Architect at Haus Architecture for Modern Lifestyles & a Project Manager for WERK (their Design Build Firm), texted me this evening about how enthused he was about the Marvin Brand and our representation in the Indy Market. “Seeing the operation first hand means the world to me. I look forward to sharing your work and effort with folks I know in the Industry. It’s companies like yours and mine that define our industry and I’m more than willing to spread the word.” He then goes on to explain “I’m honestly so amazed about the people of Marvin. I’ve never experienced a factory environment quite like that.
The sense of pride that community has is unheard of these days. They are not your typical unhappy factory workers that most would assume. The people genuinely love what they do. That in itself speaks volumes. And I could go on and on.” He then proceeds to tell me, “From here on out, I will do my part in selling the brand at my full capacity. I have everything to gain by doing so. I do not want to be the average Indianapolis builder. That isn’t our brand, so I will not specify “average builder brands.”
WOW!!! Talk about energizing. I just feel privileged to have been a small part of this experience, because Derek & Haus Architecture are leading innovators in the Indianapolis Market.
Jason Wolfe, Vice President of Demerly Architects, said “It was fantastic to see the work that goes into Marvin’s product and their capabilities (not to mention being able to see and touch all of their products).”
Gary Vickrey, Owner of My Home in Indy Remodeling Company, said “It was awesome! I’ve never seen anything like it and it was a great mix of people.”
From the experiences to the relationships started, developed and strengthened, this is one of the best programs Marvin Windows & Doors provides to its dealers to help develop its markets. When our local architects, builders and contractors get to meet the amazing people who are making the products that are going into their projects, it is a different mindset. No longer are these windows and doors randomly showing up on a jobsite. John, Mary & Steve all made sure these products were made perfectly just for you.
The slogan, Made in America, means so much more when you experience first hand the people who are really keeping America great by their hard work and craftsmanship every single day.
I would like to thank Marvin Windows & Doors for creating such an unforgettable experience for us as well as our local partners. This kind of experience is one that I will continue to talk about years from now.