When Jerry Nessenson told his wife in 1987 that he planned to start a fuel additive company, she took a dim view of the idea.
Nessenson had spent 20 years in the oil business, first at Texaco and later building one of the nation’s largest fuel distributors.
The Nessensons had four children in college, and starting a business that sold fuel additives only a few fuel distributors used didn’t seem like a good idea. But Nessenson went ahead and this year ValvTect Petroleum, the company he founded, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“When I was hired by Texaco they noticed I had served in the Marines, so they figured I knew something about marinas and assigned me to help develop Texaco’s StarPort marketing program,” Nessenson said in a statement. “In the ’70s I bought my first boat and became familiar with boating and the fuel-related problems boaters have.”
“I actually started ValvTect in 1984 when the EPA announced they were eliminating leaded gasoline,” Nessenon added. “Because 30 percent of the gasoline we sold was leaded, I figured there was something to replace it and started to market ValvTect (for valve protection) Lead Substitute to our wholesale gasoline customers and to farms and marinas.”
“Being one of the few companies to use an antigel additive instead of kerosene to winterize diesel fuel, I started to sell our diesel customers an antigel additive. When it became time to leave the fuel distributor, I thought if I could show other fuel distributors how to use fuel additives to improve their business, I could make a business out of it. I guess it worked, as 25 years later ValvTect has become one of the nation’s largest fuel additive suppliers.”
In 2005, the company developed the ValvTect Marine Fuel brand, which is now sold at nearly 600 of the nation’s marinas. Today Northbrook, Ill.-based ValvTect supplies more than 400 fuel distributors, who market treated fuels under ValvTect’s brands of Diesel Guard, AgriGuard, ThermoGuard and ValvTect Marine Fuels, and many of the nation’s largest fleets, railroads, some refiners and engine manufacturers.