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In the early 1970's, Val Leefers was a partner in a shop in central Illinois, learning fuel injection and enjoying working on pumps. As the clientele grew, an opportunity presented itself. Val's partner bought him out, and Val built a small building outside of Carlinville, Illinois, acquired $1300 of inventory, and hung out his shingle. Area Diesel Service was born in 1973.

Things started slow. "We almost starved to death that first year; I think we made about a hundred bucks a month," Val said. Val loved what he was doing, though, and so he persisted. Long hours, working on the weekends, and doing whatever was needed to make the customer happy slowly started paying off. Val was able to hire more people, diversify into turbochargers, and build both his inventory and his reputation for running a quality shop that produced quality work.