01/29/2013 Savio President Takes Position on the Board of Directors IPPCA
ALBUQUERQUE, NM April 10, 2013 Valerie Steele, President and CEO of Albuquerque-based Savio Engineering, has been named to the board of directors of the International Professional Pond Companies Association (IPPCA). She will serve as treasurer of the organization. The IPPCA is a non-profit organization and serves as the pond and waterscape industry’s official trade association. The IPPCA’s goal is to ensure that high-level, quality standards are met within the waterscape industry. They offer contractor certification to professional members and their mission is to promote, protect and advance the pond and waterscape industry.
“As a leading manufacturer of pond and waterscape components, it’s in our best interest to serve our colleagues and do our part to maintain the high-quality standards set by IPPCA,” said Steele. The board is comprised of 15 members and maintains over 50 corporate members.
In addition to Savio Engineering, Ms. Steele founded and oversees the Savio Water Feature Institute. The goal of the institute is similar to that of IPPCA in that the intended goals are to improve and maintain a high level of quality water feature distributors and contractors. The institute offers water industry professionals the most innovative and beneficial educational programs available. This includes programs and curriculum inclusive of design concepts, installation techniques and technological advances. “We believe the key to success in our industry, and in any industry, is education,” said Steele. “We want what we’re doing at the local level to mirror the best practices and high-quality expectations that are set at the national and international level by organizations like IPPCA.”
03/13/13 Savio Engineering expands its operation to the East Coast
Savio Engineering today announced that it is expanding and opening a second office in Paterson, NJ. The new manufacturing operation will better accommodate customers and expedite freight times on outbound shipments to distributors. The Albuquerque-based company will retain its corporate headquarters in Albuquerque.
“After 12 prosperous years Mexico, the timing seemed right to open a second east coast operation,” said Valerie Steele, president and owner of Savio. “Our corporate headquarters will be Mexico, but with newly anticipated projects and an ever expanding east coast customer base, we decided we needed a second distribution and sales location.”
Savio Engineering manufactures water feature and gardening equipment and materials that are used to create clean, healthy, low maintenance ponds. They’ve designed, developed and manufactured a number of precision-engineered components, which are specifically sought out by contractors and end users.
In addition to manufacturing water feature components, Savio Engineering has established themselves as experts among industry peers. The Savio Water Feature Institute offers training to contractors, distributors and installers and has trained approximately 8,500 industry professionals.
“We recognized that we had an opportunity to expand beyond product development and distribution,” says Steele. “The expertise and knowledge that had made our products so uniquely superior could be shared with our peers and really has led to a higher standard of water feature design,” she said. “We have been very fortunate to continue to grow over the years and see this expansion as just another step toward greater success.”
The New York location will open in early April 2013.
12/23/2009 Close-up Profile for Valerie Steele
There are some people who do excellent work but really don’t want to be leaders; they would rather follow. That’s not Valerie Steele. Not only does she want to control her own destiny, she’s done a pretty good job at it throughout the years.
Steele was born in Leadville, Colorado. When she was quite young, her family moved to Albuquerque, where she grew up. Her father was a chef and her mother was in restaurant management.
While she was in high school, she met a guy. They dated for a while and when she graduated, he convinced her to move to New York, where they married a few years later. Steele attended Morris College, eventually receiving her degree in Business Administration.
While attending college, Steele began working for a trade show display company and quickly moved up the ladder to become general manager of the New York and New York operations. After a few years, she changed her career and took an upper management position with a document filming company. She loved the opportunity and really got into the job, learning skills along the way.
“The best way to learn a business is to work for a small company,” said Steele. “You can learn from the ground up.” It seemed that business skills came easy to her. After working there for a few years, she left and formed her own document imaging company.
Steele lived York for 12 years. When her marriage didn’t work out as she had anticipated, she sold her company and moved back to Albuquerque to be close to family and friends. Not one to sit around and do nothing, Steele began to think about which path she should take to start up a new business in the Southwest. Her intentions were to continue in her own business and not work for anyone else.
Around the same time, she met Chic Kelty, who was running a successful pond distribution business, International Pond Supply.
He was also looking into developing his own line of products. Reluctantly, Steele signed on with Kelty as operations manager and to assist with the new development of products.
It soon became evident that not only was there a new line of products to develop but also a new manufacturing company to build Savio Engineering, Inc. Steele found the water gardening industry very interesting, and developing a new line of products very exciting. It held her interest longer than she anticipated (nine years longer!). Along the way, Kelty promoted her to vice president.
Kelty is a pilot and loves to fly.
With Steele competently running the business end of the business, he would fly to visit and set up various distributors. Within a relatively short period of time, Steele was made president.
So how did she become a top executive at a water gardening company? Steele says that she was hired because of her knowledge of business management and operations. “I knew nothing about water gardening,” Steele remarked. “To me, a pond was a little plastic container that you bought from Home Depot.”
Five years after she joined the company, she met Keith. Among other things they had in common was that they both worked for Savio. He was handling the financial end of the business, and love struck. They have been married for three years and are hoping to have children, to raise a family.
In January of 2009, Kelty decided to explore other opportunities.
He decided he would sell the company, so Steele made an offer to purchase it. The offer was accepted, and she is now the proud owner of Savio Engineering.
Like the former owner of Savio, Steele too enjoys flying. Even though her new responsibilities as owner of Savio prevent her from spending much time in the air, flying is still a big passion for her.
She also enjoys being with her family. “I have a huge extended family,” Steele laughed. “Between spending time with them and running the company, I barely have time for anything else.”
The year 2009 was not the best time to go into the pond and waterscape business. However, after running Savio for nine years, Steele is confident she has built the company on a solid foundation.
“The road ahead is going to be difficult,” Steele said. “But Savio will make it through the hard times that are upon us, and will be a better company in the end.”
There are many obstacles she will have to hurdle, of course the main one being the economic climate. Steele will have to be creative in marketing Savio products and reaching out to more clientele while retaining those clients they already have.
Steele has been a leader all her life. Now, at Savio Engineering, she plans to use her leadership and management abilities to build her company’s success. Her goal is to ensure that Savio will continue in a leadership position and continue to operate as an efficient machine.
Valerie Steele is a born leader.
8/12/2010 Savio Creates Contractors Rewards Program
Savio has created a rewards program to recognize the network of Savio certified contractors who support the company by purchasing and using Savio’s line of water feature installation products and components. The Savio Certified Contractor Rewards Program is available to qualified international and domestic water feature contractors who successfully entered into the Savio Certified Contractor Program. The contractors must be active members in good standing.
All eligible contractors receive credit for each Savio product they purchase and install. Products purchased for resale are not eligible, according to Savio.
These credits are then accumulated, tallied and recorded for each contractor. Contractors can then take the credits and “cash” them in for various gifts, prizes and products.
Savio noted that the rewards program is free and does not have any expirations or deadlines.
09/24/2009 Savio Sponsors Boy Scouts Project
Savio Water Feature Institute and Savio Engineering Inc. recently partnered with Evan Dancy, a 15-year-old Boy Scout from North Carolina, to sponsor a water feature installation project at the Carolina Raptor Center. The Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to conservation of birds of prey through education, research and rehabilitating injured and orphan raptors.
For Dancy to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scout organization, he had to find, select, design and complete a community service project. Dancy found much symbolism in choosing to help the injured American bald eagles residing at the Carolina Raptor Center, according to Rick Bartel, certified master water feature specialist program administrator for Savio Water Feature Institute in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“Since Dancy was working toward his Eagle Scout status, he found it fitting to help these birds in need,” Bartel said. Dancy chose to design and install a water feature for the Carolina Raptor Center's eagle exhibit because he felt they didn’t have an adequate water supply.
Savio Engineering donated the materials, and Bartel supervised the project on Aug. 8-9. The project’s estimated worth is about $15,000.
Not the typical backyard pond, Bartel said the 3,000-gallon water feature needed to be aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly, natural-looking and conducive for the eagles. Because of the eagles’ sharp talons, water feature components must withstand frequent daily use.
Dancy built the pond deeper, wider and longer than an average water feature. He included river gravel and little beach entries so the injured eagles could enter and exit safely.
“It was very heart-warming [to hear] a young 15-year-old to talk about eagle dignity,” Bartel said. “Dancy felt these majestic birds deserved so much more.”
The California Raptor Center held a re-opening celebration of its custom-designed aviary water feature on Aug. 21. Dancy received an award for his efforts.
02/01/2009 Valerie Steele purchases Savio Engineering
February 1, 2009
Valerie Steele purchases Savio Engineering, Inc.
Valerie Steele, president of sister companies Savio Engineering Inc. and Freedom Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M., bought the two companies from founder Chic Kelty, the companies reported Jan. 28. Terms of the transaction, which included all assets and intellectual property, remained undisclosed.
Staff and management of the two companies will remain intact and Steele pledged to maintain the companies’ directions. Savio manufactures and markets pond equipment and accessories; Freedom makes and markets Islandscape floating biofilters.
Kelty sold the companies to focus on inventing.
01/29/2008 Savio and Freedom Products featured on Martha Stewart ShowSavio & Freedom Products Featured on Martha Stewart Show
The following Martha Stewart “Leap Frog” show aired on February 29, 2008 and informed the general public about threatened species of frogs that thrive in an aquatic environment. The pond used in the segment was built on set and includes products from Savio Engineering and Freedom Islandscapes. The segment features personnel from The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Animal Planet, and our own Chic Kelty, founder of Savio Engineerig.
Watch Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Prr2CcemQw