This week’s show is rather special. In honor of our 100th podcast, Workamper News Executive Director Jody Anderson Duquette and her husband, Luke, Workamper News Technical Director, opted to record a special show to commemorate the milestone.
Jody and Luke recall the key historical highlights of Workamper News that took place during the past 33 years since its founding in 1987 by Greg and Debbie Robus in the tiny town of Heber Springs, AR.
Back in the late 1980s, Greg and Debbie were familiar with the Workamping concept and trademarked the name. They would compile a variety of job announcements and informational articles into a publication that was typeset and printed locally before being stapled, folded and mailed to subscribers who paid $15 per year to receive the newsletter.
Within eight years, the newsletter grew from eight to 24 pages. That was when the stapled publication was reformatted into a magazine.
But, employers wanted a way to reach prospective Workampers between magazine issues, so the concept of a hotline was developed. All the new ads were read into an answering machine message that people could hear by calling a special telephone number. All of this was pre-internet.
Then the Internet arrived and everything started transitioning online. Email was used to deliver daily job listings and Workamper News developed its first website.
One of the major advertisers at the time was Adventureland amusement park in Iowa. Steve Anderson, Jody’s father, was the human resources director for the park and the man responsible for hiring lots of Workampers.
Because he had purchased so much advertising, Steve developed a close relationship with the Robus family. At some point around 2005, Steve and his wife, Kathy Jo, along with Greg and Debbie were all at a point where they each wanted to do something new.
So, the Andersons wound up acquiring Workamper News. Jody joined the team in 2006 and, through a happy coincidence, connected with Luke in 2010.
It’s a fascinating story about how the planets just seemed to align to get everyone to this point. I really appreciate them taking time to outline the company’s history and provide the back story regarding how some very popular features came into existence.
It really is incredible how the Workamping concept came to be and how the right people came along at just the right time to move the venture forward.
It’s also pretty amazing how the magazine played a role in the development of what is now the largest RV training facility in America that teaches people how to fix their own RVs and work as professional technicians, too.
What I truly admire about all the activity surrounding the development of Workamper News and its expansion over the years is that it was all done to help two sets of people.
The first was to help employers address a need to hire quality people to fill short-term jobs. That’s not often easy because local people generally don’t want to work a few months and then start looking for another job. But, RVers love those type of opportunities.
The second group Workamper News seeks to help is RVers themselves. Back when the publication was first produced, generally, people were about 60 years old before they bought their first RV and were often retired before they could ever consider traveling in an RV full time.
Workamper News changed all that by making younger people aware of ways they could finance their travel dreams long before they were old enough to retire. The advent of the internet was like putting pouring gasoline on a brush fire. People were truly no longer dependent upon a specific location. They could work from anywhere as long as they had electricity and an internet connection.
COVID-19, as bad as it has been for the world, was a boom for Workamper News because more and more people embraced the concept of working remotely from their RVs. The Workamper organization has responded to the flood of working RVers by developing a number of resources to help people find jobs, run businesses and enjoy the RV lifestyle.
I strongly encourage people to check out all the features and benefits mentioned by Jody and Luke by visiting www.workamper.com.
There are several copycat websites that post job announcements, but nobody – and I mean nobody – has the professionalism and level of content from videos to feature articles to tools that Workamper News offers to help anyone realize their travel dreams at any age.
Be sure to check out the membership options offered by the 33-year-old Workamper organization by visiting www.workamper.com.
This episode is sponsored by the National RV Training Academy in Athens, Texas. The academy’s one-week live training or home study course will teach you everything you need to know to fix about 80 percent of the problems people experience with their RVs.
You can also sign up for additional training to become an RV inspector, campground technician or to provide mobile RV service. For more information, visit www.nrvta.com.