752 20th Ave., Paterson NJ 07504
T: 973-278-1444  F: 973-278-8332
*Button colors represent most popular light truck/SUV colors, in order of popularity starting from the top. — DuPont Automotive systems 2008 Global Color Popularity Report
February 2009

Valtek, Inc.

Just one block in from Route 20 in Paterson on 20th Ave., in a 16,500 square foot building the size of an airplane hanger, is Valtek, Inc., the leading truckbody and commercial vehicle repair facility in Northern N.J. This reporter recently met with Brian Vesley, President of Valtek for an in-depth interview and a tour of the facility.

On the day of the visit, there were 3 fire trucks undergoing repairs and refinishing, one from Paramus, one from Parsippany and the third from Waldwick. There were also 3 huge tractors, minus the trailers, a couple of handicapped vans fresh from the factory undergoing special fitting, a stretch limousine having body work , and a variety of other vehicles being repaired and refinished. Parked ouside, having just been re-finished, was a mammoth multi-wheeled mobile crane of German manufacture. One quickly gets the messageÿthis is a company that has the technology and skills to handle every kind of truck and special vehicle repair and re-finishing job; a company with a reputation for quality work and quick turn-around; and one that operates with the hands-on involvement of family management. This is all embodied in the name Valtek, "Value Through Technology".

Valtek was started by 3 brothers who had a variety of management experience: Brian Vesley, President, had been a corporate attorney, had managed a computer peripherals company and had also managed a real estate investment trust;
Dennis, now deceased, had been in the collision repair business for 25 years;
and Bruce, the shop manager, had been an aircraft mechanic and had also managed a service and repair shop for a forklift and heavy equipment company. The family involvement is rounded-out by Brian's wife, Cackie, who is the treasurer/office manager. Valtek employs a total of 14 including painters, bodymen, technicians, etc.

Paterson was selected as the location for the business for a number of reasons: Brian Vesley had practiced law in the city and was familiar with Paterson; the market was underserved in terms of a truck collision repair facility; and the business climate was very good in terms of support from local government, the Chamber of Commerce and the re-development community.

Brian Vesley, was asked to descrbe the nature of the business and said,"We are the equivalent of an auto body repair shop for commercial vehicles, trucks, cranes, busses, and fire trucks. We have a facility that's large enough to do that along with the specialized equipment to handle a vehicle that's 3 to 4 times the size of an automobile." He continued, "In order to properly do collision and paint work on these vehicles, you need a very large paint booth and ours is 50' long and 16'high and 14' wide. This will accommodate a large truck, a moving van, a fire truck, and so on. We try to provide efficient service and we have enough space to handle these kinds of vehicles quickly without a lot of wasted motion. There are facilities that try to mix the repair of trucks and cars and they do not have adequate space and find it necessary to move vehicles around 3 or 4 times to get them out of the way of each other as work is being done. Often they don't have the spray facilities and the vehicles have to be painted in the middle of their shop after business hours." Vesley went on, "Since we specialize in commercial vehicles, we know how to take care of them, we know where to order the parts, we know what the customer wants and we know how to give them the best value for the dollar."

Vesely continued,"We have also cultivated a niche market over the years in the repair of emergency vehicles including fire trucks and ambulances, and also school busses. The fire truck business requires a very high quality of repair. These trucks must perform properly, and they must look good since the people who operate them take a lot of pride in their equipment and also want to instill a sense of awareness and identity within the community. They demand very good work and we like doing that. We have done work for fire departments from over 60 municipalities in the metropolitan area including Manhattan and the N.Y./N.J. border counties."

The size of the facility enables work to be done on up to 20 vehicles at a time. Vesley added, "Part of the repair process is in knowing where to get parts and fabricating parts that you can't get quickly or are not available. Since a lot of the vehicles have a special purpose, we just can't run out to a local dealer and get parts like you can do for autos. A lot of fire trucks are custom ordered and each has a unique set of requirements and in a sense they are 'hand-made' vehicles. Therefore, we can often make a part before you could get it from the factory which would also have to make up the part. The factories are not equipped to deal in parts; they are geared up to prepare something for a vehicle that's on the production line. We have developed a skill base with a focus on this kind of equipment that enables us to respond to the needs in a very timely fashion." Vesley continued, "For example, we have a fire truck in the shop now on which we are doing body work for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new vehicle, and it will enable it to be used for another 5-10 years. When you consider that these vehicles can cost between $330 thousand to $600 thousand to replace, it makes a lot of sense to repair and refurbish them as we do."

Valtek also partners with others that are leaders in technology. "For example", said Vesley, "we work with Axalta which has excellent technology and we are able to match colors; we can call on it to help us with any problem that arises in the area of refinishing."

When asked about the availability of a labor pool with the requisite skills required by Valtek, Vesley replied, "We find that our business isn't as attractive to your average high school graduate as in the past; we get our hands dirty here.We do find people in Paterson, many new to this country who are willing to work hard and who have a good work ethic. We also have to train people because there are few being trained for these kinds of skills; the vocational schools have reduced their programs for these kinds of industries."

Valtek made certain when it opened its facility that it knew what the environmental rules and regulations were.Vesley said, "The company has an Environmental Agency stack permit for the discharge of its exhausts as well as the requisite filters; the paint-mixing area is contained with the proper air flows; the entire building is sprinklered. We feel that the environmental laws are important to comply with and we like to see people that don't comply with them brought into line. When someone doesn't comply, not only are they polluting the environment but they are not making the investment in their business necessary to comply and can therefore charge a lower price because they are polluting the environment. We would like to see a better environmental enforcement occur as it is the people who do try to comply that get all the attention, rather than those that thumb their nose at the law."

In terms of further expansion, Vesley sees the liklihood of some add-on services to improve the facility rather than to make it larger, and that would require some additional equipment.So it seems likely that Valtek will remain in Paterson. Vesley said, "We will be very happy to stay in Paterson. It has an excellent location; the road system is great; it is easily accessible to both our customers and suppliers; and there is an excellent support system throughout the region."

In terms of municipal services, Vesley said, "I think Paterson does a good job in providing services to us. We have always found an open door whenever we have had a question or needed attention and the Police Department has always been responsive."

In conclusion, Vesley said, "I think its important for the businesses that do locate here to pay attention to how they affect their neighborhood. We try to maintain a good face to the neighborhood with our appearance. we try to keep the place clean; and it has a positive impact. We are part of the community and I would like our fellow business people take a similar attitude and set an example rather than just to do the minimum that is required."

The Independent News, July 27, 2000. Reprinted by permission.

[Back to Top]