Petro Vend Celebrates 50 Years in Fuel Controls

by OPW | May 12, 2011
Hodgkins, IL — OPW Fuel Management Systems, part of OPW Fueling Components and one of the world’s leaders in the design and manufacture of tank gauges and automated fuel-control systems, is proud to announce its celebrating 50 years in the fuel controls industry. Originally founded in 1961, Petro Vend led the way in fuel-control system innovations during its first few decades of existence. Then, in 1988 Petro Vend was acquired by OPW Fueling Components, but was marketed as the leading fuel-control systems brand. Following the acquisition, OPW also acquired EMCO Electronics in 2002 and combined its fuel-control operations under the newly created OPW Fuel Management Systems business unit.

“Petro Vend always had a good reputation for servicing the customer and providing very reliable, rugged equipment from the very beginning,” explained Rich Klima, who began at Petro Vend in 1975 and 36 years later is currently a Senior Project Manager for OPW Fuel Management Systems. “I’m proud to be a part of a long heritage of innovation in the fuel-control business. We really moved the dial on several technologies during those 50 years.”

A Chicago-based unattended Petro Vend fuel control site from 1963. This year, OPW-FMS is marking a milestone as it celebrates 50 years of serving the fuel-control industry. While other companies may claim to be all about automated fuel control, the company was there at the leaping-off point as the technological evolution in mechanical fuel-control systems began in earnest. The company has produced an enviable and prolific number of fuel-control innovations in its five decades of existence. From its first offering in 1962—an automated Dollar Bill Acceptor—to other standard-setting products such as the Keegard® (1968), Kardgard® 1000 (1975), PV8 Hose Retriever® (1978) and Aries™ (1990). The company has also developed several systems that have stood the test of time and remain popular choices among fuel providers today, such as the K800™ (1991), C/OPT™(1996), FIT500™ (2003) and FSC3000™ (2005). OPW has always been able to remain relevant by embracing the latest in technological advances, epitomized by its most recent innovation, the wireless, Internet-capable SiteSentinel® iSite™ automatic tank-gauging system (2007).

“Each new product has its own story. They all served a specific need of the industry, and I am very proud to have taken part in the development, launch and support of many of them,” said Walt Latka, Project Manager with OPW. Latka began with Petro Vend in 1973 and is one of the most experienced employees in the company. “It’s been great to see fuel control technology evolve to what is available from OPW today. We helped define a category during the company’s early years, and are leading the way today.” 

Greg Miller is one of those people who has a high regard for the PetroVend and OPW names. For 41 years he has worked for Northwest Pump, Portland, OR, since 1959 a leading provider of petroleum equipment, industrial pumps and car-wash systems up and down the West Coast and in Hawaii. In his four decades at Northwest Pump, Miller does not remember a time when he was not recommending an OPW-FMS/Petro Vend product to his customers.

“We’ve been involved with Petro Vend since back in the days when they were selling keylocks in the 1970s, and then we sold the first cardlock system that Petro Vend manufactured,” Miller recalled. “It’s been a good partnership. We went through a lot of the early pioneering days together and the cardlock business has developed into a nice piece of business for us and for our jobber customers, as well. The quality’s been good and they have stayed on top of the new technology that becomes available.”

It is through this commitment to excellence and producing a quality product, personified in the long-time dedication of people like Klima and Latka, as well as hundreds of other employees, that has kept the Petro Vend and OPW-FMS names relevant and on the tip of so many tongues over its 50 years of existence. It’s also a commitment that continues to launch new and innovative fuel-control systems for its customers. Walt Latka (left) and Rich Klima installing a new Kardgard 1000 in 1975. Both have been with the company for more than 36 years.

“Today, OPW is the clear leader in fueling solutions worldwide with a solid foundation in fuel-control systems. As we continue to push the envelope with cutting edge new products, we are eager to see what’s in store for the next 50 years,” said Phil Carlin, President of OPW Fuel Management Systems.

For more information on OPW Fuel Management Systems, please contact us at (708) 485-4200 or go to

OPW Fuel Management Systems specializes in the design and manufacture of tank gauges and automated fuel control systems. OPW Fuel Management Systems is a business unit of OPW Fueling Components, the leader in commercial and retail fueling solutions worldwide.