Meet the Product Planner Behind Winnebago’s Newly Revealed eRV2!
Meet the Product Planner Behind Winnebago’s Newly Revealed eRV2!
Learn more about the passionate young woman helping to drive innovation.
By: Brooke Baum, GoLife Editor
Do you ever wonder who is behind the design and creation of new RVs? While multiple teams of experts contribute in important ways, it is the product planners who oversee bringing it all together. “We’re the voice for the user and we get consulted at every stage,” Aimee Sheckler, Winnebago Class B Product Planner, explains.
“If you made a Venn diagram of all the different teams involved, we’d be the paper it’s written on.”
Aimee is one of three Class B product planners at Winnebago, and her focus is on the Solis as well as the newly revealed all-electric eRV2 prototype. She really enjoys the collaborative and creative nature of her role and is passionate about her projects.
“I love it because I can know a little bit about a lot of things and there are so many helpful resources here where I can go to someone who knows a lot about a few things,” she shares. “I can have an idea then go to someone who can give me a huge world view of it.”
Meet Aimee Sheckler: A Very Passionate Class B Product Planner at Winnebago
When Aimee started applying to jobs in her final months of college, she didn’t expect to find her ideal career fit right away. Most people pop around to multiple companies and roles before finding the position that suits them best. However, less than two weeks after graduating, Aimee was using her industrial design degree in a role she never expected: Winnebago Product Planner.
Initially, she applied to be an engineer while at a career fair, but the Winnebago hiring team thought the product planner role fit her personality better, and they couldn’t have been more right. “Finding a position that fit my personality so well so soon after college took that big load off of my shoulders,” Aimee happily notes.
She explains that industrial design “is the human-centric side of art, but the level-headedness and practicality of engineering.” While her degree has definitely been put to good use, it is her passion that really makes her a great fit. She loves the outdoors, camps in her free time, and is dedicated to creating a high-quality product.
Sparking Innovation with the eRV2 & Beyond!
The first floorplan project Aimee was tasked with spearheading was the eRV2 all-electric prototype. After two years of research, design, and a lot of testing, getting to finally introduce her “baby” to the public at the 2023 Florida RV SuperShow in January was a highlight of her career so far.
“It was neat to get to see it right from the beginning … seeing that research and how we digest it. Then going through and building a mockup and working with the guys in the model shop who have done such a great job in helping us work through our iterations,” Aimee recalls. “It was nice to see it all the way through.”
The eRV2 also has a new floorplan that Aimee and her team were excited to take a few risks with. She was happy to see it was well received at the Tampa show and enjoyed getting that early feedback in person.
Collecting that critical voice of customer research is a huge part of being a product planner at Winnebago. Aimee said she is usually at meetups monthly and that owners appreciate that the Winnebago team doesn’t just go to the big shows but also many smaller meetups with only a few dozen people as well.
Getting feedback from actual RVers is key to her planning process. “It makes it so that when you are designing, you aren’t just designing for customer A and B, you are designing for Sue and Bob with their three kids,” she explains.
Something she didn’t expect when first attending Class B meetups is how unique each van group is depending on which product they have (Revel, Solis, Travato, etc.). “You may think #vanlife – they are all van lifers, but they are completely different communities,” Aimee notes.
When discussing future projects, Aimee can’t give too much away, but she definitely has some innovative ideas in the works. “I’m really excited to see how the voice of customer and influence of that gets relayed into new products. We’re constantly working on the next generation.”
She also takes vans out for her own user testing to gather personal insights into how features and designs work on current models and prototypes. Aimee shares that it’s very valuable to “see how the dynamic of the van works in real life, not just in theory.”
Plus, there is a growing younger female RVer audience who tend to gravitate toward the Class B vans, so being in that demographic helps her to really relate and understand that customer base. Although testing is key to her role, she has loved the outdoors since growing up in Upstate New York and tends to camp in her free time anyway!
Inspiration for Future Generations of RV Product Planners
While others may see it as impressive to be a young woman in a predominantly male-dominated field, Aimee doesn’t seem intimidated. “My mom is the primary hunter in my family … she drives the big truck,” she proudly shares.
From a young age, her parents taught her not to ever limit herself. Her dad (who is an engineer) even taught her to use a table saw when she was only five! Of course, her parents were thrilled and pleasantly surprised for Aimee to land such a fantastic position right out of college. They even flew down to Tampa to get to see the eRV2 protype in person
While confident and highly capable, Aimee also makes it a point to lift up her team every chance she gets. Aimee knows the diverse perspectives and varied knowledge base of her team is key to success.
“She knows that in order to make a product successful, it’s a team effort. When someone else contributes to its success, she sings their praises and recognizes how it couldn’t have been done without them,” shared her colleague Emily Christian, Senior Specialist of Product Marketing.
When asked if she has any advice for other women wanting to get into this field, she says that – no matter your gender – it’s important to just try hard and not let other people push you down.
“I have a lot of energy and sometimes I get told that I’m a lot,” she said with a smile. “But I think that’s part of what makes everything work really well in this role, by just trying things that otherwise wouldn’t be normal.”
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