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Air Vacuum celebrates 20th anniversary

March 25, 2014 – Dover, N.H.-based Air Vacuum Corp., the manufacturer of the AIRVAC 911 engine exhaust removal system, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday.

March 27, 2014
By Olivia D'Orazio

March 25, 2014 – Dover, N.H.-based Air Vacuum Corp., the manufacturer of the AIRVAC 911 engine exhaust removal system, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday.

President and co-founder Tom Vitko was working in the air filtration business when cigarette smoke in public places was an issue: “We saw that was an issue with restaurants and bingo halls,” he says.

However, conversations with some firefighter friends led to a panel Q-and-A, during which the need for a filtration system to combat harmful engine exhaust emissions in fire halls was revealed.

“Really it was created by demand through that panel,” Vitko said in an interview. “We just listened to them – what’s the problem with what’s on the market now and what they wanted to see.

“They wanted something simplistic and cost effective, so we developed a product that's bang on [with what they wanted].”

Since then, Vitko says an increasing awareness of the harmful effects of exhaust emissions bolstered the company’s success. Conclusive studies that didn’t exist in 1994 now confirm the health issues related to exposure.

“There’s a general awareness of the hazards to exposure and now, the end users – the firefighters – know there’s a need for this,” Vitko says.

About 12 years ago, Air Vaccum’s filtration system began to migrate north, into the Canadian market.

“We have an office in Rochester, N.Y.,” Vitko explained, “and, really, our Canadian sales grew from the closeness of that border.”

Still, Vitko says the No. 1 reason for Air Vacuum’s longevity is the effectiveness of its product.

“In this industry, everything is word of mouth,” he says. “You can try to push a product, but it’s a tight-knit industry, so the quality of the product is doing most of the work.

“The fire industry weighs heavily on tradition, and to have a successful product and stay within this industry for 20 years is a good testament to what we’re doing.”

To celebrate, Vitko said the company is going to keep things low-key –
its employees will enjoy a corporate party on Friday afternoon.

“It’s a milestone,” he says, “so we’re not going to let it go by without doing anything.”