Couple finds reward in risk of owning Monroeville business
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
When Matt Valkovic was laid off from his electrical engineering job at Westinghouse 10 years ago, he and his wife, Kathy, had three children in college and bills to pay.
Matt Valkovic figured he had two options — either apply for a job or make one for himself by starting a business.
“The risk is that starting (a business) later in life, you're taking your assets that you're planning for retirement ... vs. going to work for another company,” he said.
But the Delmont couple opted for the risk, and after 10 years of owning their own franchise in the Monroeville Business Park, they're seeing the reward.
When they were considering a variety of advertisements for restaurant franchises in 2004, Kathy Valkovic found a website for Pirtek USA, a national company that replaces and repairs hydraulic hoses for heavy machinery. It was the first franchise opportunity they found that matched her husband's engineering background.
Because the Valkovics operate the only franchise in western Pennsylvania, among the challenges of attracting new clientele was a lack of name recognition. That, paired with a parochial “do-it-yourself” attitude among industrial business leaders in the region, made their first year a tough one, Matt Valkovic said.
But the list of clients has grown, and Pirtek corporate heads have taken notice.
“Matt and Kathy started out in Pittsburgh a little slowly. However, they really made up for it once they passed the first year and have become very successful in the last few years especially,” Pirtek USA President Morgan Arundel said. “They are great franchisees. I just wish I had another 100 just like them.”
Operations manager Don Gudenburr was hired as a technician the first year the local business opened. He said that through all the ups and downs, the couple have treated their employees well.
“The technicians really try to do whatever they possibly can to help Matt and Kathy,” Gudenburr said. “They're great employers to work for and great people in general.”
The couple, who have been married for 34 years, plan to add their 10th employee to the staff this year and to move the business to a larger building a few doors down on Seco Drive.
“It's all about risk, and I think that's where the passion comes in, to making (the business) work,” Kathy Valkovic said. “Ten years later, we're still standing. So that's a good thing.”
It's good enough that they recently signed an agreement with Pirtek officials for the next 10 years.
“We're taking on a larger rental space and new people,” Kathy said. “So the risk continues.”
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Golf Show returns to Monroeville Convention Center
- Pitcairn considers options for Fire Company No. 1
- Internal review board clears Monroeville officer in shooting; DA investigation ongoing
- With low salt, Monroeville conserves usage
- Voters to decide on library tax in Monroeville
- Monroeville officials not thrilled with hotel-tax suggestion