ADS...Then & Now - A Brief Overview
We are honored and excited to have recently been featured in Nozzle Chatter magazine, an exclusive publication catering to the diesel industry. Following is the article written by our very own Mallory M. Kahl. For more information on Nozzle Chatter magazine and the Association of Diesel Specialists (ADS) check out their website at diesel.org.
Area Diesel Service, Inc.
Year Company Started: 1973
Year you joined ADS: 1973
Number of Employees: 50 (All Locations)
Location: Carlinville, IL; Pleasant Hill, IA; Indianapolis, IN
Eastward Expansion was how Area Diesel Service, Inc. entered into 2017. The company that was founded in 1973 in Illinois, and then expanded into Iowa in 1984, opened a branch location in Indianapolis, Indiana in January of 2017.
“We have spent 2017 offering Area Diesel’s services while distributing turbochargers and fuel injection components to a growing customer base throughout Indiana and beyond,” states Indiana Branch Manager Dave Keiner. The Indiana branch offers counter sales, as well as acting as a warehouse and distribution center. Allowing Area Diesel to increase their coverage and improve logistics, so products get to customers as fast and cost-effective as possible.
Area Diesel’s President Val Leefers founded the company, specializing in diesel fuel systems, in 1973. Leefers is still involved with daily operations. His original vision, along with the humble building that was home to Area Diesel from day one is still present on North University Street in Carlinville.
Parts Manager for Area Diesel, Curtis Owens, often heads formal and informal tours of the facility. “I’m often tasked with leading the nickel tour of our Illinois facilities for new customers and suppliers,” Owens continues, “it’s one of my favorite responsibilities. We are nestled in the middle of the bread basket and literally surrounded by corn fields, new faces enter our facility through the original doors in the original building that Val built in 1973. Short of that, there isn’t much left that is the same.”
A building that has seen expansions, remodels, even walls taken out to put in testing and machining equipment – and most importantly – hundreds and thousands of products sold, manufactured, remanufactured, warrantied, repaired, and tested for thousands of customers in the United States and all over the world. “It doesn’t take long for someone who hasn’t been here to realize we’re serious about what we do in Illinois – and at all our branches,” Owens states, “The investments in technology and modern equipment are vast. From a state of the art, fully CNC-controlled machine shop to the scientific laboratory style common rail remanufacturing facility.”
Over the last few years, the Carlinville, Illinois branch has grown beyond the walls of the ever-expanding headquarters. The company occupies two additional facilities in the small town. One facility is for specialized testing, manufacturing and quality systems, while the other acts as the core return facility, with the sales and marketing offices. The main retail sales, corporate offices, service facilities, warehouse and distribution center for Illinois remains on the original property.
Purchased in 1984, the original Iowa facility had necessary updates over the subsequent years, but there was always a need for more space. In 2011, the building underwent a complete renovation. The facility tripled in size and offered enhanced areas to facilitate the services offered. The renovation was a reflection of the growth of the business and the needs of Area Diesel’s Iowa market.
Corey Stallings wears a few hats for Area Diesel, most importantly as their Iowa Branch Manager and Website Coordinator. “It’s not enough to supply quality parts to the public anymore,” Stallings stresses, “Diesel engines are becoming to the point the average owner can’t justify the investment in the proper tooling to work on them. Vehicle owners need a repair shop they can trust. That’s why we doubled down on our drive-in service commitments during the remodel. And that’s why we continue to invest in the proper tooling and diagnostic equipment to be a leader in diesel vehicle service and repair in Central Iowa.”
In modern times, not all expansions and renovations for business result in newer or bigger buildings. Area Diesel has embraced the way technology frames business and commerce with their online presence. The company can be found on various social networks, engaging with customers and offering special promotions through those platforms.
“With the rise in mobile usage, it is important that a website be built with responsive technology to better adapt itself to the wide range of devices that customers are using to access it,” Stallings further explains, “It has to be organized and it has to be easy to navigate. I feel we have accomplished these things with our redesign. In 2014, areadieselservice.com underwent a redesign that increased the e-commerce capabilities and the overall content of the company’s online home. The revamped website even contains a log-in area for dealers, a section that will continue to expand and improve with functionality in the future. “In today’s marketplace, it is more important than ever to make sure the public see’s your digital storefront looking just as professional and inviting as your physical storefront,” Stallings adds.
Echoing the sentiment of the foundations of Area Diesel, Owens explains, “The only thing that isn’t modern is the mentality that has been set in place since Val built Area Diesel Service, Inc. “Treat people right and reinvest in the business. Do that and everything else will fall into place.”