Defense business, city team up to fight vehicle corrosion

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 16, 2013

 Greg Bock, program manager of the systems engineering division at VSE Corp., explains how his company’s workers apply a corrosion-prevention compound on a vehicle.

Greg Bock, program manager of the systems engineering division at VSE Corp., explains how his company’s workers apply a corrosion-prevention compound on a vehicle.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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As part of a free test run, Sterling Heights officials are trusting a defense contractor to combat vehicle rust.

City officials met with employees of VSE Corp. in Sterling Heights April 11 to draw attention to a plan to potentially help city vehicles resist corrosion.

Greg Bock, a program manager at VSE’s systems engineering division, said he wants to apply his company’s anti-corrosion spray for use in civilian circumstances.

He said he hopes to become the city’s partner in extending the lives of city vehicles while saving taxpayer money.

“We’re trying to help you have more funds available for other things than just repairing equipment for corrosion,” he said.

As part of a trial demonstration, city officials watched a VSE worker spray a free treatment of a corrosion-prevention compound on a truck used by the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works.

In the months ahead, Sterling Heights and VSE will continue to monitor the treated truck and compare it against a “control group” untreated truck. If the anti-corrosion agent shows evidence of working, city officials say they might invest in treating their other vehicles with it.

VSE says the compound is based on canola oil and is safe for the planet. Bock said the compound helps vehicles resist trapped moisture, which is a major culprit of corrosion.

In Sterling Heights’ environment, the anti-corrosion treatment should last about a year, he said.

According to his company’s estimate, treating 70 vehicles could cost the city $14,000. However, Bock said that could produce savings of around $119,000 down the road. In other words, for every dollar spent on a vehicle for corrosion prevention, it could save $8.50 on future corrosion repairs, he said.

VSE’s roots stem back to 1959, when it was founded as an engineering services company. From its headquarters in Virginia, the company currently employs more than 2,500 workers throughout the world.

Sterling Heights spokesman Steve Guitar said the partnership is a way for a business with a local presence to demonstrate its value.

“They can showcase their product, and the residents get the benefit of this product right away,” Guitar said.

Kasey Green, Sterling Heights’ economic development manager, called the partnership with VSE a “win-win.”

“It’s really an opportunity for the city to explore a creative way for cost savings, and it’s also an opportunity to support a local company that’s looking to grow in new markets,” she said.

Sterling Heights can be reached at www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489. Learn more about VSE Corp. at www.vsecorp.com.

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