Adventure Homes Ten Year Milestone
Article by Sue Carpenter | KPC News | August 27, 2019
GARRETT — Ten years ago, partners Wally Comer, Jerry Henry and Walt Fuller became owners of Adventure Homes in Garrett’s Industrial Park on S.R. 8.
Last week, the company celebrated the milestone anniversary for many employees.
In March of 2009, Fleetwood Homes filed for bankruptcy protection and began selling off parts of its giant housing and recreational vehicle empire. A bid by another group to purchase seven of the Fleetwood sites didn’t include the Garrett location.
Adventure Homes employees, from left, are controller Susan Kasinger, partners Wally Comer and Walt Fuller, general mana Rich Rice, purchasing manager Kirk Kacsor and production manager Keith Carnahan.
Comer, who was then plant manager, went to Garrett State Bank President Mark Fogt to find a way to keep the doors open. Fogt introduced him to Fuller, developer of the Industrial Park where Fleetwood was located and a partnership was formed.
“I took a liking to Wally at the beginning,” said Fuller last week. “I think I knew he could do the job — and I think he knew all your names.”
In August of 2009, all 80 former Fleetwood Homes employees were “rehired” with Adventure Homes, the new manufactured-housing plant. At the time, Fuller said a potential loss of 80 local jobs, should the plant not reopen, was unacceptable.
“I could not get any of my buddies to invest in the plan and I had one option — and that was just to keep everyone working in a small town,” Fuller said Monday of the decision to purchase the plant. “I am proud of all you. We have done great, I think, because all of you have got an interest in the business.”
Since 2009, the manufactured housing company has increased its workforce to 218 employees in production, clerical and administrative positions. Of those original employees, 45 are still on the job, with a few having retired or passed away through the years. They have increased the number of floors built each day from three during the first year to eight.
In 2009, Comer said the future looked bright for the industry, and praised the quality of the product produced in Garrett.
Since then, the company has seen many recognitions, including being named Manufacturer of the Year for three years in a row, the 2018 Garrett Business/Industry of the Year; and Comer’s recent induction into the Indiana Manufacturer’s Hall of Fame.
Carla Placencia and Amy Pinkerton were photographed with Fuller on the first day on the job back in 2009. Monday, both were on hand for the celebration.
“Things have gotten better every year, every day,” said Pinkerton.
“It’s like family here,” said Placencia who is an electrician.
Time has gone by so fast, neither thought much about being there 10 years already, but they agree the pay has gone up, nearly doubled from the first year.
Shannel Nusbaum has worked in several positions at Adventure Homes, from service to sales, and is now in purchasing department, a salaried positon.
“I definitely have been able to grow,” she said.
“I appreciate everybody so much,” said Comer. “I hope to be there for the 20th.”
Several employees marked their 10th anniversaries this year. They include: Robert Ballentine, Devin Cain, Keith Carnahan, Jamie Collins, Walter Comer, Samuel Cox, Elmer Duarte, Eugene Endris, William Frizzell, Carlos Funes, Marilyn Greenfield, Richard Grieze, Todd Havener, Erin Goe, Ryan Humes, Amanda Jones and Susan Kasinger.
Also Amy Pinkerton, Michael Kinsbury, Michael Kruger, Demetrius Lopez, Javier Martinez, Gerardo Nino Jr., Gerardo Nino Sr., Drew Noye, Shannel Nusbaum, Shane Overmyer, Jessica Parker and Jason Peters,
Also Scott Pfeiffer, Ann Pinckney, Greg Pinckney, Carla Placencia, Susan Pogue, Edwin Ramirez, Vilma Reina, Richard Rice, Shelly Sanders, Bert Smith, Dennis Smith, Josh Smith, Jacob Stark, Jason Wayer, Travis Worman and Gary Zartman.
Adventure Homes employees and their families also enjoyed also a company picnic last Saturday.