Grow Here: Why Heartland RV Chose the Boise Metro
When Thor Industries, Inc. began looking for a location to expand their manufacturing facilities on the West Coast, the Boise Metro was on the short list. It wasn’t until the team set foot in their last stop on a site selection trip that they saw the full extent of opportunity available in the area. Within a few hours, their final stop became their first choice.
In September 2015, that choice was finalized when Thor Industries, Inc. announced Heartland Recreational Vehicles’ newest location on Karcher Road in Nampa. For Ken Julian, Vice President of Administration and Human Resources, selecting the right site for expansion was dependent on a mix of training, talent and space – three things that made the Boise Metro an easy decision.
Having explored Utah, Oregon and Idaho, Julian found the Boise Metro to be a place where motivations for growth were met for all parties involved. “We began meeting people and understanding that they really wanted us to be successful,” Julian said. “We had an opportunity to bring good jobs to the area and we were met with resources and motivation to see us achieve success.”
Access to talent was one of the main priorities in choosing a location. After selecting Nampa, their high expectations were almost immediately exceeded. “At our first job fair, we had over 400 applicants apply for 50 positions,” Julian recalled. “We were definitely surprised, but entirely thrilled with the result. We have been able to attract a very diverse workforce and have only had to hire outside the Boise Metro for management positions in regards to existing product knowledge.”
The College of Western Idaho played a valuable role in Heartland’s decision as well. Heartland’s site selection team visited CWI to gauge potential partnerships that could influence a strong pipeline of talent for the company. During the tour, they stopped by the college’s technical training center – a 176,000 square-foot facility with customized programs in welding, machining, electronics and automotive technology. Unexpectedly, the students were working on a Thor Industries brand trailer. Witnessing CWI’s potential as a higher education partner to help drive talent, a driven community cheering them on and a space selected that allowed room for growth, Heartland RV’s criteria for a West Coast facility had been fulfilled.
In mid-April of 2016, the first RV manufactured at the Nampa facility was shipped, marking the first milestone in the company’s inaugural year. Heartland RV’s big plans for the year ahead include expanding into their full 248,000 square-foot facility and growing their current workforce.
For companies looking to expand west, Julian encourages the trip to Southwest Idaho. “Having explored many different places, the Boise Metro is a place that provides a wealth of opportunities,” he said. “There are strong synergies within the Boise Metro and Canyon County that give people like us the opportunity to be successful.”