Foley Engines Celebrates 104 Years as North America’s Oldest Engine Rebuilder
Foley Engines, the oldest industrial engine distributor in North America is currently in its third generation of family leadership. The company was founded in 1916 by William Foley as a Goodyear tire distributer and is now headed by his grandson, Jay W. Foley.
“My grandfather had a warehouse selling Goodyear tires, which was then a good business to be in,” said Foley, who joined the firm in the early 1980s. “My father succeeded him and was a rebuilder of industrial engines.”
Industrial engines are used off-road, typically in construction equipment, and are vital to the economy, Foley said.
A Good Challenge
In the early 1980s, Foley left his position as an economics professor at the University of South Carolina to take over as President of Foley Engines for his father, who wanted to retire.
“I thought this could be a challenge, and it has been a challenge,” Foley said. “I don’t regret at all being able to lead the firm into its third generation.”
The company is headquartered in a 20,000-square-foot facility on I-290 in Worcester, Massachusetts, and offers products such as remanufactured Deutz and Perkins industrial engines. Other products include Twin Disc, Rockford and AutoClutch power take-off clutches for the tree care industry.
Additionally, the company has equipment including, BAYCO ovens, Walker Peenamatic shot blast machines and Van Norman resurfacing machines to remanufacture Twin Disc power take-off clutches needed for logging and for making wood chips and mulch for both landscaping and energy co-generation plants. Its in-house factory remanufacturing program provides off-the-shelf exchange clutches for wood chippers.
Revitalize and Reinvent
“Every generation, or even every 20 years, we tend to revitalize and reinvent ourselves,” Foley said.
Most recently, Foley revitalized the company by adding emission control devices such as the diesel exhaust scrubbers and exhaust purifiers.
“We’re a pioneer in developing and marketing diesel exhaust scrubbers,” Foley said. “It’s a clip-on device that cleans the exhaust emissions coming out of an engine, which are lethal if you’re breathing in a confined space or in a tunnel. So our scrubber converts those emissions to emissions that are legal and safe to breath. The diesel exhaust scrubber business has grown tremendously.”
Foley Engines supplied diesel exhaust scrubbers to Boston’s Big Dig workers to help them breathe safely underground when there were unsafe emissions coming from construction equipment. They were also used at the 9/11 Ground Zero site in Manhattan, New York.
“Originally people put them on construction equipment because they had to,” Foley said. “They were told you have to have a scrubber, and if you don’t have a scrubber don’t come back to work. However, more and more enlightened building owners will tell contractors who are bidding on a job that their piece of equipment has to have a scrubber. That’s because people are much more sensitive these days to clean air issues.”
Customer Service Equals Success
Foley said that one of the things that has made Foley Engines successful for so long is stocking products heavily. The company stocks around 600 Deutz, Perkins and Ford remanufactured engines, with same-day, worldwide shipping so that customers do not face disruptions in their business due to long waits for engines and parts.
“After every downturn in the economy, accountants tell people not to stock so heavily and not stock anything unless you sell it four to five times a year,” Foley said. “We don’t believe that. What also makes Foley Engines successful is our level of customer of service.”
Foley gave the example of airline ground support equipment. If an aircraft tug engine fails while in active service, he will have a Deutz remanufactured engine in stock and ready for expedited delivery to Logan or JFK airports.
“We also have a fantastic website that has a couple hundred tech tips on how to maintain industrial engines,” Foley said. “We have a little slogan in our shipping department that we’ll lie down in front of the UPS truck in order to get the last package out.”
Foley said that, rather than calling the company, increasingly more customers like having the ability to order online at FoleyEngines.com.