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November 2003: Volume 45, Number 11

Getting a Handle on QMP’s Vidal
by Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

A native of Bolivia, but a naturalized U.S. citizen, Freddy Vidal is proud to be an American. He's even more proud his products are "Made in the USA." In his mind--as well as those of his customers--this translates to high quality. That's something to which Vidal has committed himself.

He came to the United States to be a commercial pilot, but later chose to study mechanical engineering at L.A. Valley College. Afterwards, he worked in a metal shop running advanced lathing equipment. Then, he was hired by a current competitor in the faucets, fittings and diverter valves market. Five years later, in 1994, he decided to open his own operation, QMP Inc., with a partner and several of his own designs.

Today, QMP -- which stands for Quality Metal Products -- has 22 multi-spindle screw machines, 20 single-spindle screw machines and eight injection molding machines. Not only does it use CNC and CAD/CAM technology to do its own tooling and molds, but it also makes its own plastic tubing. In addition to faucets, fittings and diverter valves, the company is able to do elbows, housings, shower filters, countertop systems, undercounter systems, RO systems and UV systems -- both components and complete systems assembly. Newer products include a patented, mounted faucet with inline carbon block for the homebuilder market that was introduced at the WQA show in Las Vegas.

QMP employs 55 people directly. Indirectly, it also provides employment for 20 other people at IMP, a nearby metal plating/polishing operation invested in by Vidal. In addition, roughly 30 more work in Cochabamba, Bolivia, through his brother's water treatment equipment distribution and service business, QMP de Bolivia. "When I go back home and see the sign, QMP, on a brand new building that he bought there, that makes me proud as well," said Vidal.

Even with a stagnant economy, business is growing some 30 percent a year. And QMP--which started in 2,500 square feet -- now occupies two buildings with about 38,000 square feet. That's not to say there haven't been any challenges. One early on prompted Vidal to switch partners, bringing his brother-in-law and sister into QMP -- he knew financial issues; she knew sales -- to gain better control of the business. And four years ago, he became a partner in another business to get better service in metal plating/polishing. He began producing his own tubing for the same reason. Thus, he believes strongly in family ties and doing things yourself if you want them done right.

Customers include EcoWater, Brita, GE, Pentair, CUNO, RO Ultratec, Sprite Industries, Rainshow'r, Home Depot… to name just a few of QMP's over 5,000 accounts. One of his biggest clients, a Japanese company, has even boosted QMP to No. 2 in filter sales in that country. Half of sales are international with Japan accounting for 30 percent, and the balance spread across Bolivia, Venezuela, Australia, Turkey, Italy, etc. The U.S. market, though, is where QMP sees itself being anchored. Thus, he finds it disconcerting to see so many manufacturing jobs being lost overseas in recent years.

"The idea that we've always had is to help U.S. industry by keeping the manufacturing in the U.S… I'm really thankful to the U.S… I love this country. And I would like to see (it) back like the old days when there were a lot of manufacturers and a lot of work," Vidal said.

That allegiance doesn't necessarily translate to California, as he's been considering moving to Nevada or Arizona because of high worker compensation taxes and other non-friendly business practices in the Golden State. Such measures made it difficult for him to be sympathetic to Gov. Gray Davis' plight in the recall election there last month.

Before we get to the interview, here are a few facts about the company:

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QMP Inc.
9837 Glenoaks Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Tel: (800) 786-9151 or (818) 252.4771;
Fax (818) 252-4774
Email: info@qmpusa.com
Website: www.qmpusa.com

Management:
• Freddy Vidal, CEO
• John Precopio, President
• Maria Elena Precopio, Vice President

Staff: 55 (directly)

Revenue: $3-4 million annually

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And now for the interview:

WC&P:. How long have you been in the business and how did you get started?

Vidal: With QMP, we have nine years in the business. Prior to QMP, I worked for another company for about five years.

WC&P: Who was that?

Vidal: A competitor.

WC&P: How did QMP get started then?

Vidal: Well, I had a lot of ideas when I was working for the competitor. I had new ideas and designs for filtration products and components. This gave me the thought that it was a good opportunity to have my own company.

WC&P: When you first started nine years ago, what was your focus?

Vidal: We started with just a few machines. We made six products, which were the compression fittings, diverter valves, elbows, spouts, fittings, and diverter valves with a compression mount. This is really very popular now. Everybody copies it. It's a good design for countertops. We've been selling thousands and thousands components and systems. We opened a second shift to keep up with the demand. The compression fittings helped us get our foot in the business.

WC&P: Other than the competitor, were there any other companies that you worked for you'd like to mention?

Vidal: There was another company I worked for before the competitor.

WC&P: What did you do?

Vidal: I used to work in a machine shop operating screw machines.

WC&P: Where was that at?

Vidal: All American operations. It was a different type of business.

WC&P: For how many years roughly?

Vidal: Five years.

WC&P: Where are you a native of?

Vidal: I'm from Bolivia.

WC&P: My father's from Bogota, Colombia.

Vidal: Bogota, oh. So, you've been there.

WC&P: Yes, when I was 12 and 13 years old, I lived in Colombia. His best friend in college was from Cochabamba, I believe.

Vidal: Cochabamba, I am from Cochabamba.

WC&P: They went to Purdue University together. His name was Jaime Peredo. We always considered him an uncle, because my brothers and sisters all grew up playing with his kids.

Vidal: Actually, last week, I was in Bolivia.

WC&P: So, what brought you to the States?

Vidal: Well, after graduating from high school in Bolivia, I came to the States with the idea to be a commercial pilot. I came to study to be a pilot. I went to flight school and became a private pilot. I decided I didn't make a living from flying, so I went to school for mechanical engineering.

WC&P: Where did you go to school?

Vidal: I went to Los Angeles Valley College. That's when I started working in a machine shop. I worked there for five years. Then, I got a job with my current competitor. I started making new designs. I made a lot of new designs and improvements for them. They had good success in selling these designs, too. Then, I started doing my own.

WC&P: You just thought you could be more successful, maybe reap a bit more of the rewards--might as well work for yourself?

Vidal: Exactly.

WC&P: My father's always tried to program that into me. I haven't succeeded yet.

Vidal: Yes, actually, the business I started was originally with another company. I had a lot of problems and it just did not work out. So, I asked my brother-in-law and my sister if they would be interested in getting into this business. Now, they're my partners. I own 65 percent of the business.

WC&P: What are their names?

Vidal: John Precopio and Maria Elena Precopio.

WC&P: Where does QMP come from?

Vidal: QMP was originally called Quality Metal Products. When we incorporated, it was kind of long, so we just made it QMP.

WC&P: Fill us in on the ensuing nine years and how you got from there to here, if you could?

Vidal: Since we started, we've been growing every year, every month. Right now, we have two buildings with a total square footage of about 38,000 square feet.

WC&P: Located in Sun Valley?

Vidal: Well, we started in Van Nuys with 2,500 square feet.

WC&P: When did you make the move to this facility?

Vidal: That was in '96.

WC&P: Did you build new or take over some existing structures?

Vidal: No, we took over the building. When a second building became available next door, we took over that space a year later. Now, we have 22 multi-spindle screw machines, 20 single-spindle screw machines. We've got eight injection molding machines in various sizes. We have CNC machines to make our own tooling. We design and build molds for custom designed plastic components for injection molding and extruders for tubing.

WC&P: What are CNC machines?

Vidal: It's a milling machine. It's a computer-operated CNC machine we use to make custom injection molds. It's computerized. We have our CNC injection molding machines as well. We have a plastic extruder as well that we use to make our own tubing.

WC&P: I used to cover a couple of plastic companies in a small town in the Midwest where I was a newspaper business reporter, so I'm familiar with some of these.

Vidal: Is that right?

WC&P: Yes, it was in Richmond, Ind. Primex was the biggest one. It did a lot of extrusion. Because they were there, a number of others located there as well. Landis Plastics was another. And Alcoa did some plastic work there at the time as well.

Vidal: You're familiar with the extruders then.

WC&P: Yes, and the blow molding machines. A little bit. I'm not close to being an expert by any stretch of the imagination. How many people do you employ?

Vidal: About 55 directly.

WC&P: Indirectly?

Vidal: I would say like about 20.

WC&P: What do they do?

Vidal: We've got polishing and plating operations. I'm a partner also in a plating facility.

WC&P: What's it called?

Vidal: IMP.

WC&P: How long have you been a partner in that?

Vidal: Like about four years.

WC&P: It just made better sense in terms of economies of scale?

Vidal: We had problems with a local plating company. So, we opened this place around the corner. It's very convenient for us to do the plating of all our parts. The turnaround time is fast--same day. We have better control as well.

WC&P: That might touch on one of the questions we typically ask, which is--what's a major challenge you or your company faced and how did you overcome it? It sounds as if you had a few challenges with business relationships and quality control and the way you dealt with it was to go off on your own, bring in new partners to help out or buy out an operation that was doing something you felt you could do better yourself. Correct?

Vidal: Right.

WC&P: What would you say your challenges were?

Vidal: Well, the challenge is always, you know, if you do it yourself, it's more complicated and difficult. It can be easier with a partner who really knows about that business very well.

WC&P: What sort of lessons did you learn from those challenges that you might share with WC&P's readers?

Vidal: The lessons. Well, I had some bad experiences when I first started. I had other partners who I found myself in conflict with. You've got to choose your partners carefully. Definitely. Right now, my partners at QMP, they're my sister and brother-in-law. It's family, which I trust.

WC&P: The other aspect of the lesson would seem to be to recognize when a partnership isn't working and when to cut your losses to find an amicable way of parting, correct?

Vidal: Exactly.

WC&P: How did that work for you?

Vidal: With John and Maria? That one worked really well. John knows all about financial issues. My sister knows about sales.

WC&P: Two very important skills.

Vidal: Exactly.

WC&P: What are some of the newer products you're doing now in terms of innovations?

Vidal: New products, we're always coming out with new designs for. A new product right now, which we have a patent on is a mounted faucet with an inline carbon block. We are working on the molds for this project. We are using the prototypes for the mold designs. We think that's going to be a really good product for the market.

WC&P: When was it introduced?

Vidal: We introduced it at the WQA trade show this year in Las Vegas earlier this year.

WC&P: So, it's probably going to be in full distribution later this year?

Vidal: Later this year or early next year. We've also got some different designs of faucets coming out.

WC&P: We should probably point out that QMP has a wide variety of products. You're known mostly for your faucets, but you do a lot more than that.

Vidal: Yes, we are able to produce any type of products with the equipment that we have. Right now, we are producing plastic parts for all kinds of systems, countertops, under-the-counter. We produce from clips to housings and much more. We produce fittings as well, made out of plastic. We produce metal components, faucets, fittings and diverter valves. Also, we are producing tubing for the drinking water industry and for other industries as well. We make different types of tubing. We are producing injection molds for different industries as well. We have assembly lines, we have ultrasonic welders…

WC&P: It sounds like you've got a lot of equipment and capabilities.

Vidal: Yes, we do.

WC&P: When you look to people to hire, do you look for those with specific experience? Or do you train them in-house?

Vidal: For the machines, yes. For the assembly lines, basically we just hire people without skills. We train them. For the people who are going to work on the machines, they have to have experience. We have two engineers in-house to produce the injection molds.

WC&P: Then you have managers for the different lines, I imagine.

Vidal: Exactly. We've got different supervisors for different areas.

WC&P: A lot of the things you're mentioning, from tubing to metalwork to plastic, etc., there's a lot of different materials involved. It would seem that, considering you're dealing with potable water, you'd also have to be focused on materials safety issues. Talk about some of those things and how they play a factor in your business, please.

Vidal: Well, the supplies that we get we buy materials that are FDA and NSF compliant because of the requirements of drinking water. You have to have it. So, the products we have like faucets, we have NSF third party testing. And we have also testing with Truesdale. Most of our products are tested by Truesdale Laboratories.

WC&P: They're tested to NSF standards, in other words.

Vidal: Exactly. And we also have CSA.

WC&P: The Canadian organization, CSA International.

Vidal: Do you want me to mention some of the customers we have?

WC&P: Sure, yes.

Vidal: We're dealing with GE. We are selling faucets to them. We deal with Brita of Clorox. Ecowater systems as well. Those are some of the big customers. We supply Home Depot as well. And we sell to the whole world, actually--Japan, Australia… In Bolivia, my brother is in charge of QMP Bolivia. He has two companies in two cities for distribution.

WC&P: Is that just a sales operation there?

Vidal: Actually, sales and what they do is a lot of water treatment as well, in industrial applications.

WC&P: So direct customer work.

Vidal: Yes.

WC&P: How long have you been doing that in Bolivia?

Vidal: It's about I would say five years. And, right now, I will say, in Bolivia, it's one of the well known companies in the water industry there.

WC&P: I wasn't aware of that and we've been doing Agua Latinoamérica now for over two years.

Vidal: I know. My brother gets the magazine.

WC&P: What's his name, by the way?

Vidal: My brother is Jose Luís Vidal. He's doing really well. And he employs a lot of people as well.

WC&P: How many?

Vidal: To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I will say about 30 people.

WC&P: That's got to give you a good feeling, being able to give back a little to where you grew up--to help people there earn a good livelihood.

Vidal: Yes, actually, I'm really proud of what we did with QMP. When I go back home and see the sign, QMP, on a brand new building that he bought there, that makes me proud.

WC&P: I can imagine. Yes. Now, how much of your business is in the States, roughly?

Vidal: I would say like about 50 percent.

WC&P: Where does the balance fall?

Vidal: Overseas.

WC&P: More specifically?

Vidal: In Japan, we do a lot. That's another thing. I'm proud that our filter in Japan is the second best seller in Japan.

WC&P: Is there a percentage of the business that goes to Japan or Asia in general?

Vidal: I would say like about 30 percent goes to Japan.

WC&P: The balance, 20 percent, would go where?

Vidal: Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia… And we have customers in Turkey, Italy…

WC&P: So, pretty much all over?

Vidal: Yes.

WC&P: What market position do you see yourself in? You'd mentioned one company earlier. Where does QMP fall in terms of market strength?

Vidal: Most competitors don't manufacture anything in plastic. They don't have the ability to do plastic injection molding or tubing. They don't make any molds as well. We have the ability to design products, build molds, produce products and prepare shipments ready for retail or private labeling.

WC&P: That gives you an advantage?

Vidal: Exactly. For some customers, what we do right now are a lot of molds that are custom-made. We are doing a lot of molds. We can make from the mold to the finished product, you know. Deliver to a customer, a special filter or a special design. We have a lot of designs for our customers that we don't advertise in the magazines because they're proprietary. And that's an advantage that we have because we can make everything.

WC&P: What are some of the companies that you do that for? You mentioned GE, Brita, Ecowater and Home Depot, but who would these proprietary customers be?

Vidal: We have about 5,000 customers.

WC&P: Worldwide.

Vidal: Yes. There are other bigger ones other than just those you mentioned.

WC&P: I imagine a number of those are smaller ones.

Vidal: Exactly. We have a lot of small customers that order every week.

WC&P: Are there any that are very loyal that you would like to mention?

Vidal: We have a customer Marta Vargas Corp. They have been with us for a long time. Also, we sell to… well, there's a lot of customers I could mention that order every week…

WC&P: You don't want to mention only a few because they may feel left out?

Vidal: Exactly. If I mention a couple and not others…

WC&P: I understand. Did you get caught up at all in the controversy in California over faucet materials? We gave some coverage to the leaded-brass issue a few years back.

Vidal: Yes.

WC&P: What happened there?

Vidal: What we did back then was we decided to use lead-free brass. We are the only company that I know of that is using only completely lead-free brass to manufacture faucets. I know of some other companies that are either plating the shanks, which I don't know if that works. I won't trust it. Or they hide the brass with plastic tubing on the shanks, which our competitors do. Our faucet spouts are stainless steel and the shanks are made out of lead-free brass.

WC&P: That was a pretty big deal for the faucet market.

Vidal: Exactly, it was. There were a lot of legal issues related to the faucets and the materials they were made of.

WC&P: I'd heard something to that effect. Rich Clack, of Wisconsin's Clack Corp., was pretty vocal about the whole issue of those lawsuits at the time. I don't know if he's a customer…

Vidal: You know I don't know if they buy our faucets. The other thing that we don't have, though, is a sales team. The only thing we do is advertise in the trade magazines. We are not that aggressive on sales. We don't go to potential customers to try to sell them.

WC&P: What kind of growth do you have percentage-wise per year?

Vidal: I would say like about 30 percent.

WC&P: Wow, it doesn't sound as if you really need a sales staff.

Vidal: Some times at some points, you wonder. We bought a lot of equipment. We are able to produce a lot. So, sometimes we are thinking, you know, let's be more aggressive on sales. But we have been fortunate to always have something coming in as to orders.

WC&P: It also sounds as if it might be a case where word of mouth about what you do gets passed around to additional customers who approach you.

Vidal: Right. Exactly. Yes.

WC&P: Has that percentage growth been consistent since you began?

Vidal: About.

WC&P: That's pretty healthy. Has anything affected that in terms of the economy or other factors?

Vidal: Well, there for a few months we got affected. Also, the overseas product, which is coming out very cheap. We had to lower the price or give better service to our customers to compete.

WC&P: Where generally is your competition in that area coming from?

Vidal: From China/Taiwan.

WC&P: We hear a lot about a lot of price competitiveness being forced upon U.S. producers because of that.

Vidal: Yes, actually, you know, with all the expenses we have in the U.S.--and, now, workers compensation went up 200 percent. It's kind of tough.

WC&P: Well, being located in California, that's become an issue in the recall election under way there.

Vidal: Yes, it's a problem.

WC&P: What are your options?

Vidal: We were thinking about moving to Nevada or Arizona.

WC&P: Tucson's always a nice place.

Vidal: Yes, to live in?

WC&P: Absolutely.

Vidal: We haven't decide anything yet. We'll see what happens in the fall when we're a little busier.

WC&P: We also ask, in order to add a little bit of levity to these interviews, for people to tell us an interesting story or anecdote about their experience in water treatment. Does anything come to mind?

Vidal: About product design or…

WC&P: Not really, it's more of an odd story from your experience in the industry meant to add color to the interview. For instance, in a recent "Executive Q&A" Sprite's David Farley discussed how they got a prototype of a shower filter--which was as big as a bowling ball--from a guy that owed them $20,000 and a while later his body turned up in the trunk of a car at the Atlanta airport. Turns out he'd been selling shares over and over again in his company and sold them to the wrong guy…

Vidal: I read that story. That was something else.

WC&P: So, you kind of gather that the stories are a little offbeat. Or they can be interesting vignettes about who got you started or inspired you or some oddity that occurred in your business.

Vidal: We've had a lot of good experience and a lot of bad experience. We travel to Japan to see customers. We went to Guadalajara recently to work with a big company, which we have the order for now. But those are business trips…

WC&P: How about cultural differences that may have arisen on any of these trips that could serve as a lesson for readers?

Vidal: Well, with Japan, when we went there, our customer is a really nice company that we an exclusive deal with. They treat us really well. There is a difference in food and culture, which is something that really impressed me. Communication can be difficult if there is no common language.

WC&P: You have to be very careful as a foreigner going there in how you do things so as not to offend their sense of etiquette, correct?

Vidal: Exactly. I mean there's some things that they can get offended at if you don't do it right.

WC&P: Any examples?

Vidal: The Japanese people are really polite. They're really clean. When we get to their place, you've got to take your shoes off. How you prepare for a meal or wash is very different.

WC&P: I've got a related anecdote for you. I was a business reporter for a newspaper in Indiana. In eastern Indiana, there are a number of casket makers. For instance, Hillenbrand Industries, which is the No. 1 casket maker in the world, is located there. I was interviewing another smaller business and one of the niches in which they were making a killing--pardon the pun--was in the Japanese market. In Japan, because it's such a small country and an island, a lot of the funerals are handled as cremations. They went out to dinner with a customer and got a funny look. Someone leaned over and told him they need to not use chopsticks in their left hand because there's only one point in your life that you do that. It's during a funeral ceremony. They'll put out the casket--smaller, decorative ones often with a window--after it's gone through cremation. The family will go up and, with chopsticks in their left hand, they'll take a chunk of the bone and put it in the family urn--the ancestral urn. That's the only time you use your left hand with chopsticks.

Vidal: That's something you have to know, definitely.

WC&P: Yes.

Vidal: There are a lot of cultural differences. Even when they exchange business cards. You have to hold it with two hands and bow when you present it.

WC&P: And very respectfully receive theirs as well.

Vidal: Exactly. I know we had challenges with the language, but we have an interpreter that made it a lot easier.

WC&P: Do you anticipate Japan continuing to grow significantly as a market for you?

Vidal: Yes.

WC&P: Do you look at other markets in Asia?

Vidal: Actually, we have exclusivity with this company for QMP products. They're trying to market as well different, other products that we are going to produce for them. We are dealing with them directly.

WC&P: From your perspective in the market, where do you see the industry going?

Vidal: It seems that a lot of customers they like, especially overseas, "Made in the USA." Companies that are in the U.S., they don't care about U.S. manufacturing. They want overseas because of the price, even so some of the products don't work. So, it's kind of hard to say what's going to happen in the future because some companies are going overseas for manufacturing as well.

WC&P: True. For example, Pentair--in my interview with Bill Waltz--mentioned that it would be moving…

Vidal: A carbon block facility to Malaysia. We deal with Pentair as well. We buy a lot of carbon blocks from them. They told us that the carbon block facility they are moving to Malaysia to make it cheaper.

WC&P: They also recently bought K&M Plastics and are moving the fiberglass tank winding operation over to China. That's what Bill Waltz mentioned. They're going to move plastic molding to Ohio.

Vidal: Yes, there are a lot of companies looking to manufacture in China and Taiwan. For us to manufacture something there, that's a last resort.

WC&P: I would imagine you could take advantage of lower labor costs in Bolivia, if you wanted to go overseas, before you might consider China.

Vidal: Exactly. In Bolivia, we have the space. We have two buildings at which we can manufacture there. But I would like to keep it in the U.S. as much as I can. So, we will see what happens in a couple years.

WC&P: Is there one hot-button issue, and if so what is it, that you feel will have the most impact on the water treatment industry over the next few years? These may very from regulatory, product innovation to general competitive issues. California, for instance, has a lot of regulatory issues that tend to influence other states. You've got the arsenic issue. You've got a lot of brine discharge issues. I don't know that would affect you per se except indirectly inasmuch as RO reject water, if you provide product for those systems.

Vidal: We manufacture parts for reverse osmosis and we do some RO as well. For membranes, we use a U.S. company, RO Ultratec. We do business back and forth as well. We do injection molding for them as well. On the reverse osmosis, I'm pretty sure they've got all those issues covered with the membrane performance.

WC&P: Is there anything with respect to the WQA or NSF you feel strongly about?

Vidal: No, I think we pretty much have it all covered with the regulations.

WC&P: What about the overall reorganization of the WQA? Any thoughts on that? Did you participate in the surveys?

Vidal: No, I didn't. I don't know too much about it. I know that changing the show dates and the type of shows that they are doing will be for the better.

WC&P: Are there new markets that you're targeting at all?

Vidal: New houses, contractors, builders.

WC&P: You do Home Depot. Do you do any of the other big do-it-yourself hardware chains?

Vidal: We are trying to get into other big box retail outlets and some of the plumbing houses--plumbing wholesalers. On the shower industry, we deal with RainShow'r. It's one of our best customers. It's a really good company to work with.

WC&P: We've enjoyed a relationship with them for a fairly long time.

Vidal: With George Ricci?

WC&P: Yes.

Vidal: We would like to have all our customers like him. He's a really good customer, a really good person.

WC&P: Yes. I go back with the magazine to the fall of 1996 and, every year, there's a lot of talk about mergers and acquisitions and consolidations. But there's still a lot of independents out there--manufacturers, assemblers, distributors, dealers--that have a lot of history in the industry and can tell you stories about things that went on 10, 15, 20 years ago. George is definitely one of those.

Vidal: Yes, he knows everybody. What I think about George is he's really a straight, honest person.

WC&P: That's somewhat characteristic of the old-timers. I believe it was Kinetico's Bill Prior, who when I first started, said you'll like this industry. There are good people in this industry. And I think that's generally true. The large majority are fairly honest and friendly people do deal with.

Vidal: There are a lot of not-so-good people in the industry as well. They open a business. They order parts. They close the business. They don’t pay their bills.

WC&P: They're usually not in the business for long, though. And you find that in any industry.

Vidal: True. The majority are really good customers and really good people like George Ricci.

WC&P: Well, is there a closing statement you would like to make?

Vidal: The idea we always had is to help U.S. industry by keeping the manufacturing in the U.S. Otherwise, down the line, other companies close their facilities and open in different places. That will hurt the U.S. in the long run.

WC&P: That was the subject of an article in this morning's paper about the president creating a "manufacturing czar," since, of the 2.7 million jobs that have been lost since 2001 or so, over 2 million of those were in the manufacturing sector. They're finally looking at the idea of how do we keep manufacturing jobs in the States. So, it's very laudable that you've had a goal of doing just that.

Vidal: You know, we're still a small company, but we've got other ideas to keep our employees in-house.

WC&P: Is that sort of giving back to the land that gave to you, so to speak?

Vidal: Exactly. I'm really thankful to the U.S. I'm a U.S. citizen now, you know. I love this country. And I would like to see this country back like the old days when there were a lot of manufacturers and a lot of work.

WC&P: A lot of entrepreneurs and startup businesses expanding rapidly and providing good jobs.

Vidal: Exactly. That's why we're still making parts "Made in the USA." We're really proud of that.

WC&P: Let's close it on that note.

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