The Gulf Stream Evolution
One of the most successful entrepreneurial stories in the RV industry comes from the heart of a small, simple Amish community town of Nappanee, IN.
In 1971, amidst a community of horse and buggies, James F. Shea chose to embrace opportunity at a time when consumers were wary of purchasing "luxury" items. The vision and fortitude of Jim Shea led him to create his first mobile home prototypes in an old, abandoned sauerkraut factory. In just a short time, within that factory an astounding 12 Fairmont homes per day were being produced. Just as remarkable is the Gulf Stream state-of-the-art RV facility campus today which has become a large part of the Nappanee community employing over 1500 people.
In the mid-1970's, a few years after Fairmont's originated and sustained solid growth, Jim Shea's three sons, Jim, Jr., Brian and Dan joined him in the business. The three young men were to learn every aspect of the business.
In 1983 Gulf Stream Coach was established. The Shea Family's mission for Gulf Stream was to produce an exceptional variety and quality of Motorhomes, travel travelers and 5th wheel's. Gulf Stream's advanced technology in woodworking and manufacturing soon took the company to new heights; making them one of the leaders in manufacturing in the RV industry today.
With the same entrepreneurial spirit that their father held, Jim, Brian, and Dan Shea assumed the day-to-day responsibilities of the company in the 1990's. The three brothers managed the company in close association with the founder, their father, and were actively involved in the operations, product development, customer service, manufacturing and with customer interaction/satisfaction. However, by centering their duties in three different areas Jim with housing, Brian with motorized, and Dan with towables, the three can bring more of the same dedication and hard work that their father instilled but in three fold.
Their inspiration comes from watching and imitating companies such as Toyota or Honda and their success in satisfying their customers with quality products. The brothers also became interested in bringing new quality initiatives into the RV/housing industry and teamed up with a number of higher learning institutions. Through this commitment in training, Gulf Stream has built one of the finest management teams with similar philosophies, work ethics and devotion as James F. Shea, Sr. instilled in the organization.