This is the fourth story in a series about the winners of the 2011 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce awards.
In the daunting world of delicate machinery, complicated tools and hulking robotic manufacturing systems, Adept Equipment Services provides peerless expertise for customers around the globe.
Both in house and on site, the company services, repairs, refurbishes and maintains specialized equipment used in automotive, medical, consumer electronics, machining and packaging industries, and more. It can also, of course, take care of run-of-the-mill gizmos.
Adept boasts the ability to create tooling, develop fixtures, design, fabricate, test and train to meet their clients' wide-ranging needs. It is located at 5130 E. Main St. Road, Suite 1, in the Town of Batavia.
The company has so impressed the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, it was selected as the 2011 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year.
Tom Steffenilla, Adept's president and CEO, is largely responsible for its success and has a long history working with machinery, beginning years ago in the military.
In 11th grade, he had enough credits to graduate from high school and he enlisted in the service. With some experience repairing electronics, he started his military career working with various equipment and machinery.
After three years in Germany, working with nuclear missiles during the Reagan and Gorbachev Era, he returned to the states. His knowledge of these intricate systems helped him build machines, kilns and other equipment, and he worked his way up the ladder.
When the company he worked for was bought by a competitor and being relocated to another state, he and other workers had to decide if they would follow.
Maintaining relationships with established customers was the deciding factor in Steffenilla's choice to stay put. Not wanting to strand these customers, “I asked my service team to take this risk with me to start out on our own,” he said.
So in 2009, Adept Equipment Services was established.
It's the only company of its kind in Genesee County and that made it a prime candidate for the entrepreneurial award.
“We can design, build and service it all,” he said.
Adept's focus on providing quality service and meeting customers' needs is the cornerstone of its operating philospohy. Everything revolves around that.
This commitment has prompted Adept to expand its borders and connect to consumers wherever they might be.
“Most of our customers are outside of Genesee County. We have people all over the world,” Steffenilla said. “We have been overseas, to Mexico, Canada, and are going to Brazil ... If someone needs something, we service them no matter the cost."
If a customer in the field has an immediate requirement, Adept's crew simply stops what's being done in the shop to make sure it gets handled.
Bottom line: The company’s strongest desire is customer satisfaction.
“Sometimes this gets lost with the bigger (competitors) -- They get arrogant,” Steffenilla said. “With us, we will come do the job and worry about the details later. Quality is ingrained in all of us. We keep everyone happy as best as we can."
That goes for employees, too. After all, part of success is having a contented work force.
Even though the staff is small, their collective savvy is great. With more than 50 years experience together, the handful of technicians and an administrative manager combine a kaleidoscope of abilities to earn customers' trust and deliver the best service in the industry.
Steffenilla grew up in Genesee County. He and his family reside in Stafford.
That may be the contributing factor for his passion to see this area succeed. He wants his company to be known for helping other businesses here to prosper and to use as many local vendors as possible.
“If they thrive, then I thrive,” he said.
Photo provided by Tom Steffenilla. (Typically, for the chamber awards, we take photos of each of the winners, trying to get at least one nice portrait shot and then presenting a print of that to the winner at the awards dinner. Unfortunately, a hard-disk failure wiped out the pictures we had taken of Tom before they were processed and Tom hasn't been available for a new picture. We thank Tom for the photo above and apologize for the lack of one of our own photos.)