Mac-Del well-positioned to stare down sluggish economy
Mar 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
Being Diversified is proving to be an advantage for Red and Michael Van Duyn, brothers and owners of Mac-Del Inc in Richmond, Indiana, as they operate their tank wash, commercial shop, and transportation services by staring down a sluggish economy.
“We have been serving the chemical transportation industries for over 38 years,” says Michael. “That experience really pays off when we hit troubling economic times.”
Although the company's tank cleaning division relies on the auto industry for its bread and butter, there are other markets that are helping to fill the gap while awaiting recovery. At the same time, the transportation division, with tractors and tank trailers in its fleet, is expanding as a chemical fleet operator for Miller Transporters Inc based in Jackson, Mississippi.
Another bonus for the company's operation was the decision in 1989 to expand the wash facility and construct additional shop space on the 10-acre site. The decision is a key feature of the Richmond facility that enhances a mixed operation. As a result, the company is in a good position to handle a variety of business that comes its way. Currently, about 400-450 tank trailers are cleaned monthly at the facility for about 55 customers.
“Our four-bay cleaning facility provides fast service with minimal delays,” says Michael. “We emphasize our specialized service that handles hard-to-clean tank trailers and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). We always say that our best is the least we can do for our customers.”
Very much a family business, the company originally was founded in 1968 by the current owners' late father, Robert, and mother, Helen, who remains active in the business. Their brother, Roger, works in maintenance while Michael's daughter, Kelley McElhany, represents the third generation involved in the company.
In the beginning, the company was a Toledo, Ohio, fleet operator for Rogers Cartage. In 1989, the owners decided to add a tank cleaning facility in Richmond. As the business grew, it became a partnership and was incorporated in 1987. Today, Mac-Del conducts business through two divisions: the wash division, including the shop overseen by Michael, and the fleet operation directed by his brother.
“Both Red and I grew up watching our parents in the trucking industry,” says Michael. “We think our early experience as truck drivers and dispatchers prepared us to understand the idiosyncrasies of the tank truck industry.”
More recently, Michael has experienced the rising cost of chemicals used in the wash service. Caustic, about 90 cents a gallon a couple of years ago, now commands a price of $4.10 a gallon. “We've watched that price escalate,” he points out. “Sulfuric acid used in wastewater treatment has followed a similar cost trend.”
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