Double Diamonds

Baseball manager Joe Maddon meets the Grand Tour.

GoLife Staff GoLife Staff  |  05.07.2017

Winning takes skill, strategy, dedication, and teamwork.  And nobody knows that better than baseball manager Joe Maddon.

Joe and Jaye Maddon are avid RVers, and during the off-season and spring training Joe spends time at one diamond for work, and one diamond at home.

When the Maddons set their eye on Winnebago’s flagship Grand Tour 45RL, the Winnebago team was proud to craft a coach fit for an owner who has high standards in both his professional and personal life.

The Maddons’ “away” home is the ultimate product of hundreds of hours of planning and decades of experience in designing premium diesel pusher RVs.  From the drafting screens of the engineering department to the final delivery walkthrough, teams of Winnebago planners, engineers, assembly technicians, and chassis specialists were all part of the “other team” to make the Maddons’ coach both comfortable and reliable.

A 45RL’s journey begins at Winnebago headquarters in Forest City, Iowa, where a product development team evaluates dozens of features and stylings that best fit customer needs and expectations. All of Winnebago’s motorized products are assigned a product manager who each represent one of the various classes of motorhomes.

Product manager Ryan Roske spends a lot of time with market research, gathering deep input from current and potential owners to determine the best mix of design and features.  It’s this deep understanding of changing trends and emerging technologies, coupled with decades-proven usability experience, that consistently puts Winnebago products on buyers’ shortlists.

Roske has every right to be proud of the company’s top of the line coach. “The 45RL is not only the biggest motorhome in our lineup, it is also the most technologically advanced. Our team made sure that when we entered this market, we did it the right way and included all of the amenities and manufacturing quality a customer expects with a product of this caliber,” Roske said.

Just a couple of years ago, Joe Maddon’s Winnebago motorhome would have come from Iowa, but this one was born on the West Coast in the company’s Junction City, Oregon plant.  The Junction City facility houses 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space and eventually will be the primary location for production of Winnebago’s Premium Class A Diesel Pusher products.

And while we’re talking about big numbers, here’s another one:  8,000.  That’s the number of components that go into a Grand Tour.

That’s a huge level of complexity which requires a very skilled labor force.  John Millis, the General Manager of the Junction City facility explains, “When Winnebago purchased the Country Coach plant in December of 2015 one of our critical deciding factors was that there was a highly skilled workforce in the area.  Our top 50 most-tenured employees have an average of 14 years experience working in the industry.  They truly enjoy building high-quality RVs.”

With Joe Maddon’s motorhome, the team in Junction City wasn’t aware who the customer would be until the motorhome was nearly completed.

“It was a cool surprise announcement,” said Millis. “We periodically have all-plant meetings and shared the news with our team that the manager from the World Champions was going to be in a product built by Winnebago. Our people take a lot of pride in every coach we build, but when you have such notable customers as the Maddons, it’s a strong validation of our employees’ passionate commitment to being best in class.”

And with all the boxes double checked it was time for the Grand Tour to set sail south to spring training in Mesa, Arizona.

Many RVers who’ve gotten tired of winter and want to get a jump on spring make their way to Arizona in February and March.  From parking lots and commercial RV parks to saguaro-dotted county parks that sit above the Valley of the Sun, it’s a great way to enjoy late winter in the desert.

Joe Maddon begins a circle inspection of the new Grand Tour.

That’s something Joe and Jaye Maddon were looking forward to as their Grand Tour rolled up.  Winnebago’s Vice President, General Manager Motorized Business, Brian Hazleton, was there to personally drop off a set of keys and help them get acquainted with their new coach.

From front to back, and inside out, Joe’s repeated comment was “Sweet!”

As Joe and Jaye begin to settle in, there’s no doubt there will be adventures ahead and stories to tell, and for the Maddons, Winnebago is the new home team.

Continue to look for future stories in our “Meet the Maddons” series on GoLife.

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  1. Moriah Law Posted on 07.01.2017

    I would love to take the kids and I mom and dad on a extreme camping fishing trip with one of these

  2. Denise Posted on 05.19.2017

    I like the idea of other color options. So many RV units are brown and tan/beige. I prefer shades of blue. What happened with the retro rvs that came put in 2015? The rv show I went to in the Chicago area this past spring didn’t have any like that. Were the retro rvs just that year?