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VDTA/SDTA welcomes newest Advisory Board Members

At the 2009 VDTA/SDTA Trade Show & Convention, VDTA/SDTA welcomed its newest members to the Advisory Board of Directors. The new members are Paul LaPonte of Quality Sewing & Vacuum Centers, Tom Proctor of Vacuum Cleaner Hospital, Lynn Reade of Buckeye Vacuum Cleaner Supply Co., and Grant Olewiler of M.D. Manufacturing.

We will be sharing biographies of the new board members so you can get to know them better. This month we are spotlighting Grant Olewiler and Paul LaPonte. If you have concerns or questions about the association or the industry, feel free to contact these industry leaders.

Grant Olewiler
At age 16 Grant began employment at M.D. Manufacturing as their first non-family employee. After growing with the company and setting up its first computerized inventory and billing system in 1978, he soon worked his way into installing their central vacuums with Wayne Emdy, the company president. He eventually sub-contracted the assembly division for the company, renting out one of its buildings.

As the company grew it spun-off its Southern California installation division and gave it to Grant as his own business. Over the course of 15 years he developed Modern Day Vacuum Services into an installation machine specializing in custom homes for the rich and famous of California but focusing on existing home installation. He also opened up distribution of the product in Northern California while still working closely with the factory.

Over 8,000 installations gave Grant sales, installation, service, and distribution knowledge unparalleled in the industry. He has taught about 50 seminars for VDTA/SDTA over the past 25 years and has been an integral part of CEDIA, ASTM and other related organizations.

In 1992, with the untimely death of Wayne Emdy, M.D. Mfg. asked Grant to return to the factory as general manager. He now oversees all technical, design, sales, production and research and development aspects of the business. Grant launched the first central vacuum industry Web site (centralvacuum.com) in 1996 which is still acclaimed by the industry as the most comprehensive vacuum site on the net. 

Grant lives in Bakersfield, CA, with his wife and six children and enjoys golf, camping, and other family activities. He is very active in his church and attributes the success of all his efforts to his active belief in Jesus Christ.v

Paul LaPonte
Paul LaPonte owns and operates 10 Quality Sewing & Vacuum Centers in the Seattle area.

He is also a partner of Rocky Mountain Sewing & Vacuum centers in Denver.

Quality Sewing presently employs almost 100 people and is one of the largest sewing dealers in the United States.

Paul and his wife Christine have owned Quality Sewing since 1985 and attribute their success to a strategy of giving consumers great service and asking them to buy something every time they visit.

Paul has spoken on sales and customer service topics nationally at trade conventions, dealer conventions and dealer meetings in the U.S. and Canada and is eager to share with and learn from all VDTA/SDTA members.

Reprinted from SQE Professional, July 2009