Guest Blogger: Business View Magazine w/ Joey Leffel
Business View Magazine interviews Brian Bishop, Gold Heat CEO, discusses manufacturing for the RV, tiny house, and home remodeling industry.
Gold Heat and the RV Industry
For two decades, RV enthusiasts enjoy a level of comfort and warmth far superior to that experienced with traditional forced air heat systems.
It all started back in 2002, thanks to the ingenuity of Ken Millard who developed a method for the design and manufacture of a customized electric radiant floor heat mat to fill a need in the RV industry. Today, Gold Heat electric radiant floor heat is a must-have feature in many Class A luxury coach models. A big point of pride, the Gold Heat product and customer service has received six consecutive awards for excellence by Newmar Coaches of Nappanee, Indiana, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of RVs.
According to Brian Bishop, CEO of Gold Heat, “The company began almost 20 years ago with just a single customer”.
Gold Heat weathering the storm in 2008/09, when many of the company’s clients declared bankruptcy. Eventually, the industry rebounded, and Gold Heat rose from those ashes.
The RV business was reinvigorated during the pandemic and brought new enthusiasts into the RV lifestyle. The pandemic revived interest in ‘getting out there, and a new generation of consumers maintains the demand.
RV industry and the pandemic
“The last 20 years has seen ups and downs but the last five have been really up. And we weathered the storm of COVID last year really well. What’s more, our owner agreed to 100 percent cover everyone’s wages, even when people weren’t working!”
But as orders started to pick up during the pandemic, Gold Heat got creative.
Remote work was not an option for a manufacturing company, so they staggered breaks and lunches. At the same time, the production team distanced themselves and wore masks on the floor to comply with Oregon state-mandated safety protocols.
“Gold Heat did not miss a delivery,” boasts Bishop.
During the worst of the pandemic, Gold Heat allowed customers to reschedule without penalty, and the company stayed on top of the supply chain fairly tightly.
Most of the floor heat mat components are U.S.-based, so we had minimal hiccups in our supply chain. Among their many valuable suppliers, Pelican Wire kept Gold Heat in wire supply during the pandemic.
“Pelican Wire is highly-regarded, long-time vendor. They have always been very good to us.”
– Brian Bishop, CEO
The ease of installing Gold Heat’s radiant floor heat mats
Installing Gold Heat underfloor heating is a unique one-step process. In less than 15 minutes, you can install a Gold Heat custom electric radiant heat floor mat.
Each floor heat mat is designed to custom fit a home or motorcoach floor plan. The Gold Heat mat consists of a glued heat wire upon a mesh fabric. The design of the mat allows an RV manufacturing facility to keep the line roll. Flooring installers inside the motorcoach can unfold the heat mat, snap it out like a tablecloth, and staple it to hold it in place on the wood subfloor.
Because most luxury motorcoaches install tile flooring, installers pour the thinset mortar right through the mesh, trowel it out, and set the tile down on top of it. A cold lead coming off the mat goes to a thermostat featuring a floor sensor to control the floor’s temperature. The thermostat is connected to a dedicated circuit breaker and the installation is finished.
The ease of troubleshooting and diagnosing a Gold Heat mat
Part of what makes a Gold Heat heat mat unique is that it was designed to be diagnosed and repaired instantly Gold Heat Wire Repair Instructions. Bishop admits that once in a while, during installation, a flooring installer is repairing the tile or doing a remodel and doesn’t know that the mat is underneath the tile. Gold Heat’s support team will utilize a TDR (time-domain reflectometer).
The TDR sends pulses down the wire and time how long it takes that pulse to return. Based on that time to return, the support team knows the proximity of the break in the wire. The team refers to the AutoCAD drawing of that particular mat and can detect the line break.
Drawings, drawings, everywhere
Gold Heat can retrieve any drawing of every mat they’ve ever delivered for almost 20 years. In an effort to assist a flooring professional or tile installer with a broken wire, The Gold Heat design team forwards that drawing to illustrate where the fault has occurred. Additionally, Gold Heat will overnight the tile installer a wire repair splice kit and tools to repair the wire.
Gold Heat…not just for RVs anymore
Because Gold Heat has such a large market share in the RV industry, Bishop looked for a growth opportunity outside of that market. The tiny house building industry seemed like a viable market because tiny houses are on wheels, too (called THOWs). A tiny house on wheels encompasses many of the same features and systems found in a luxury motorcoach, and that is an area where the company has demonstrated its expertise.
“It’s always good to go into a market with credibility and there’s a lot of excitement in the tiny house space right now.”
The “Gold Heat Guys” hit the tiny house and home remodeling market
The RV industry isn’t the only recipient of the Gold Heat touch of class. With the excitement around tiny houses, the company is introducing its award-winning, electric radiant floor heat mats to home builders and commercial construction, venturing even further into the custom residential market.
Gold Heat’s exclusive products are custom-designed, handcrafted, and supported by the firm’s headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. In addition, Gold Heat employs an exceptionally knowledgeable design and support team to offer tiny house builders, home remodelers, and RV/motorcoach manufacturers with easy-to-install, Oregon-made electric radiant floor heat mats.
The benefits of radiant floor heat mats
The very nature of Gold Heat’s signature electric radiant heat mat offers a coach or homeowner a multitude of benefits.
First, the energy and cost savings of efficient heating in a residential setting.
In any living space, you will keep the radiant floor heat thermostat lower because it seems warmer when the heat is coming from the floor. Typically, home or RVC owners do not run their radiant heat system all the time. It’s usually on for five minutes and off for ten. Now that’s efficient.
Accelerated growth is anticipated for the tiny house and home remodeling space
According to Bishop, “It’s going to grow for us as quickly as we can land good, long-term customers – get good industry partners on board and raise awareness that electric floor heat is not difficult to install and maintain. I think the potential there is unlimited when you look at the number of residential customers versus RVs.”
Apparently, Gold Heat isn’t kidding around when they say they are market aggressive. Within the last year, Bishop hired Joey Leffel, Director of Marketing, to create the foundation that reaches the RV and tiny house building industries and expand and grow the company’s reputation and market exposure. More recently, Bishop hires Bill McConahy as the Director of Sales to take the company’s message into the field.
“I think it’s the Gold Heat team’s ability to adapt and pivot to these new business environments. That’s where our nimbleness comes in and has value.”