Bay Diesel, initially a diesel engine sales and service company, was started in 1982 by Mr. Scott Wheeler who had previously worked ten years for Caterpillar, Inc. Today, Bay Diesel has been in business for 30 years, 31 years in February. Bay Diesel is a multifaceted industrial business with several divisions that distribute standby power products used to power institutions like hospitals and banks, the company does maintenance and repairs on ships with up to 100,000 horsepower as an authorized workshop for engine manufacturers, and deal engines made by almost all major engine manufacturers.
Bay Diesel is also an authorized dealer of Scania, a Swedish company that manufactures engines used for mining. Bay Diesel has three offices in Chesapeake, VA, Richmond, VA, and Roanoke, VA. They will be opening a fourth office in Charleston, WV in the first quarter of next year. Despite this expansion, Mr. Wheeler describes Bay Diesel as a small company of 60 people who “are all real men and women.”
The Chamber sat down with Mr. Wheeler to hear more about Bay Diesel.
What would say that Bay Diesel’s mission is?
Some companies have poetic, flowery mission statements, but ours is simple: to show up one time, on time, with the right tools to do the job once, the financial wherewithal to stand behind our work, and the wisdom to do it for people who pay us on time. We try to keep it simple.
When did you start doing business in Scandinavia?
In 1995, I bought a company called Aalborg Ciferv, part of the Aalborg Boiler Company from Aalborg, Denmark. Ciferv was a Gothenburg, Sweden- based engine and service company which was purchased by Aalborg Boiler. Aalborg subsequently opened five service centers in the United States along the East Coast. We bought their assets and consolidated their operations to Virginia. That’s when we began doing business within Denmark.
What is your interest and focus with the Chamber and Norway?
My focus with the NACC is that I have interest in doing business with LNG (liquid natural gas)-powered engines. Norway is leading the world in marine LNG-powered vessels in my opinion. That’s why I targeted Norway – I want to learn more about LNG-powered engines, which I believe will be important in the next ten years for America since they are more environmentally-friendly. I am trying to work on what the company will be in ten years while I have other people working on what it is today.
You said that you are working on what the company will be in ten years. How does Bay Diesel benefit now from being a member of the NACCMA?
The networking opportunities have been grand. I’ve met a lot of good people both in the defense industry and the commercial industry. I am planning a trip to Norway in 2014 to the Bergen area. I’ve made many connections through the networking of the NACC. The chamber itself has a lot to offer American companies like mine, that they probably haven’t quite gotten a grip on yet. There are a lot of small businesses like mine that do a lot of service work using technology that is available to Norway. I’m hoping to get more of those people involved with the Norwegian-American Chamber as I continue to participate.
What can the NACCMA do for you that we are not doing now?
I think what you’re doing is fine. I went to the Annual Dinner Cruise, and the turnout was great. I’d like to see that expand to include more companies outside the DC area.
Would you like to report on how well Bay Diesel does as a business?
We’re doing quite well. I can tell you that when Bay Diesel started as a business, we had very little money. And now, we still have no debt.
The Chamber would like to thank Mr. Wheeler and Bay Diesel for the continued strong support of the organization and for taking the time to tell us a little more about his company’s operations and activities.