1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Skyline).
Terry Decio, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of factory built housing and recreational vehicles.
Note to readers, this is a flashback interview, and other than this red text, it is as originally published
2) Background: (Educational/Professional snapshot before entering the factory-built housing arena. Specifically mention any prior work experience prior to Skyline).
I graduated from Indiana University, May 1973 and began my career with Skyline Corporation on June 1, 1973.
3) When and How: (When and how you began with Skyline, which could include a recap of the years since skyline began and how the RV side of your operations impacts, or not, the manufactured home side.)
There are two different businesses. RV’s are toys and the housing side is the American dream of owning your own home.
4) What are your personal interests or hobbies? How do you like to spend non-work time?
Family, exercise and golf.
5) Art Decio was on the cover of Time Magazine for bringing affordable housing to the masses. Did your family save a copy of the cover or article? Tell us your impression of the industry back then.
Yes, I have two copies and one is framed. I was thirteen years old at the time and I thought it was cool.
6) As you know, Skyline Corporation is one of the industry stocks we track in our Daily Business News stock market report. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/patrick-skyline-corp-shine-major-indexes-barely-move/ Can you give us a snapshot of Skyline before and after it went public?
I was too young to understand.
Time Magazine Cover – December 3, 1965
7) While some see doom and gloom, Skyline has worked hard at its multi-decade to tradition of offering quality manufactured homes. Skyline is widely respected for the quality and service your firm provides. Please tell our readers what compels your firm's confidence and efforts in factory built housing in the U.S.?
The standard my father set at the beginning was “Take care of the customer and they will take care of you.” Our warranty is a simple forty-three word warranty and has remained the same for over 60 years. Here it is:
“Manufacturing defects reported to Skyline within 15 months after original delivery by an authorized dealer will be corrected on site, without charge and within reasonable time. Misuse, unauthorized repairs or alterations, minor imperfections and dealer or owner improper transportation or setup are excluded.”
Page 88 of the December 3, 1965 issue of Time Magazine.
8) What do you think sets Skyline apart from others in the industry who are building HUD Code manufactured or modular homes? What makes Skyline a dependable partner/supplier for retailers, communities and developers?
We treat people like we want to be treated – integrity, honesty and commitment to our relationship with each of them.
9) Your friend and industry colleague, Sam Landy, said in an interview with MHProNews that given the large and growing need for affordable housing in the U.S., he sees how manufactured housing could return to new home shipping totals of 300,000 to 400,000. Others inside our industry think we ought to be happy to return to shipments to 100,000 a year. What say you? Why?
I’ve never been one to speculate. I believe Sam knows better than I.
10) Industry veteran and Green Courte Partners Chairman, Randy Rowe, called for a 5 point plan for industry recovery. It included the following: A) Better Warranties and Customer Service, B) Dealing effectively with Chattel Financing Issues, C) Economic Security for Our Customers, D) A Multiple Listing Service(s) (remarketing system for individuals, lenders) and E) A National Marketing (Image) Effort. What would you say about these bullet points? Do you think that other possible ideas, like more "best practices" and professional sales training, are also needed? What say you?
I agree with Randy Rowe’s “5 Point Plan” and I think “best practices” and sales training are done differently by each company.
Skyline home on display at the Ocala, Florida production facility show.
11) Skyline is growing its presence at the Louisville Show in 2014. In fact, you've got a special place for your display at the Show. Give us a sense of what your plans are for 2014. Also, what reasons you can give to retailers and communities as to why they should come in 2014 if they have haven't attended the show and sat on the side lines in the last few years?
First of all, we are trying to engage with the communities and retailers that are left in the Midwest region. Next, we don’t agree with the fact that there are no retail days at the show. The business cannot grow unless the retail grows. Period!
12) The Louisville Show also attracts a number of builder/developers every year to the show. Why do you think traditional site builders or realtors ought to open their eyes and see what manufactured housing is like today? Are there win-wins for builders or housing pros to come to Louisville in 2014?
We need more venues like Louisville, Harrisburg, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Los Angeles, Portland and Tampa to show our product to the retail public. We are still America’s best kept secret and I am still saying this after forty years.
13) In his interview with us, Tim Williams from 21st Mortgage made a strong call for support on HR 1779. Way too many pros have not bothered to pick up the phone, sent a fax or email to to their Congressional representative calling for this reform of Dodd-Frank that will protect retailers, communities and millions of customers. As an industry leader, what would you say to those who haven't acted yet, to get them to do something?
I defer to Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage. He is the expert on financing – the best in the business.
14) Closing thoughts or comments, sir?
Tony, Thank you for letting me participate.