Overall, it’s the same topics discussed whenever entrepreneurs meet.
But there is one noticeable difference.
When they talk about transportation, the Amish companies exchange the names of English companies who provide good contract transportation (to bring employees to work or deliver goods).
Two of the Amish present, Mervin Lehman and Schlabach, are active members of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation board of directors.
As such, they understand the intersection of the Amish and English business communities well.
Like many Amish business owners, Schlabach got his start by seeing an opportunity and filling a need.
To “keep my mind occupied” and stay busy, he had been learning and practicing sandblasting and painting. He told a friend to buy some steel parts pre-painted to save time and money. But his friend found that to be too expensive, so Schlabach learned steel fabrication and started making the parts more affordably himself. 

[riversidervproductionline]https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversidervproductionline.jpg?s=l 265w, https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversidervproductionline.jpg?s=lf 500w, https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversidervproductionline.jpg?s=f 750w" data-sizes="(min-width:550px) 750px, (min-width:300px) 500px, 265px" data-was-processed="true">The production line at Riverside RV.
Today, his business Rock Run Industries employs more than 50 people to make steel and aluminum components for recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturers, and its new automated powder coating assembly line is as modern as they come.
The RV industry is a major employer in LaGrange and Elkhart counties.

When the RV industry is booming, it employs many Amish workers; but when it is down, those employees have to seek other means of supporting themselves.
Lehman knows that down cycle well.
In 2008, the industry declined and unemployment in the county was as high as 17 percent.
So in 2009, Lehman launched Heartland Mattress, LLC, out of necessity. Heartland produces premium quality foam mattress sets. You can have one rolled up and shipped directly to your front door.

[riversiderv]https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversiderv.jpg?s=l 265w, https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversiderv.jpg?s=lf 500w, https://www.inputfortwayne.com/galleries/riversiderv.jpg?s=f 750w" data-sizes="(min-width:550px) 750px, (min-width:300px) 500px, 265px" data-was-processed="true">The RV industry is a major employer in LaGrange and Elkhart counties.
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