The past fiscal year at BonnaVilla Homes felt like one, long, stressful roller-coaster ride thanks to a global pandemic, but at the end of the day plant manager Dan Fitzgerald said it ended up being a solid year for one of Aurora’s largest employers.
     Though the housing manufacturing plant on the west edge of town was never forced to shut down, COVID caused all sorts of ripple effects, the likes of which Fitzgerald said he has never seen throughout his 50-plus years in the business.
     “I tell people it felt like seven or eight years all wrapped into one building cycle,” Fitzgerald said of a fiscal year that ended March 30, 2021.
Wessels, Patrick Step Up into Key Roles
     Staff turnover is just part of the routine at manufacturing plants large and small, though the process of replacing a few key employees at BonnaVilla Homes was even more challenging this past year due a pandemic which changed the game for purchasing and customer service.
Plant manager Dan Fitzgerald reported that long-term BonnaVilla employees Roger Scott and Al Wishart both retired within a few months time, creating opportunity for their replacements, who had to not only fill large shoes but adjust to a changing marketplace almost overnight.
     Janna Wessels, a Giltner native who has worked for the company in various roles, the last 14 years in purchasing, replaced Scott as purchasing manager in September.
     Tina Patrick is another familiar face at BonnaVilla who now answers to a different title. She replaced Wishart as customer service/warranty manager in April, stepping up from an assistant’s role.