September 23, 2023

GapVax Expands Operations and Drives Growth in Vacuum Truck Manufacturing

Johnstown-based vacuum truck manufacturer GapVax has recently refurbished one of its buildings, originally built in 1904, to accommodate its growing operations. The renovated Central Avenue facility in the Moxham section of the city now serves as a storage space and provides room for future expansion. GapVax specializes in the production of vacuum and jetter trucks used by municipal governments and various industries, including natural gas and oil drilling contractors.

Outside of the western Pennsylvania market, GapVax’s chief engineer, Bern Blazosky, highlighted the significant growth of hydro-excavation of utilities. With 125 employees and 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space, GapVax aims to increase truck production and hire more staff. The company currently faces a backlog of orders from dealers across North America, indicating strong demand for their products.

As GapVax continues to expand into new markets, establishing dealerships and sales networks, they often encounter customers who express surprise at their previous lack of awareness about the company. GapVax, which started as a service business in the 1970s and later transitioned into truck manufacturing, competes against larger, publicly traded companies. However, they differentiate themselves through their focus on quality, performance, and exceptional service.

The Johnstown area, known for its manufacturing heritage, continues to thrive in national markets. Linda Thomson, President of Johnstown Area Regional Industries, emphasized the success of local companies in competing on a larger scale. The region’s manufacturing activity is fueled by the national defense sector and the metals sector, which includes companies like Johnstown Wire Technologies, Gautier Steel Ltd, and North American Höganäs.

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GapVax’s expansion and the overall growth in manufacturing contribute to the economic development of the region, providing employment opportunities and demonstrating the resilience of local businesses in the face of competition from larger corporations.