Our company mission is simple: Help those with mobility issues find mobility solutions by developing vehicles that allow them to travel with comfort and dignity.
The MV-1 was designed for just such a purpose. Headquartered in South Florida, The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) is proud to produce this versatile, unique and thoughtful vehicle that was built from the ground up specifically for the members of the disability community and those who help service them.
Distinctly American from the start.
The main offices of VPG are located in South Florida. VPG was founded in 2006 after recognizing the need to increase the availability of accessible vehicles to meet the growing needs of the aging population and disability community in North America. The MV-1 is assembled by AM General LLC at their facility in Mishawaka, Indiana, and meets the "Buy America Act" requirements for domestic content required for funding by the Federal Transit Administration. The MV-1 is a unique mobility solution for the 21st century and is built right here in the U.S.A.
Meet the MV-1 Management Team.
Chairman of the Board
Mr. Drasner is chairman of Three Seasons Capital, a venture capital firm. He was co-owner and vice chairman of The Washington Redskins football team from 1999 to 2004, and co-owner, chief executive officer and co-publisher of the New York Daily News from 1993 to 2004. He has also served as CEO and/or co-chairman of U.S. News & World Report, chairman and CEO of Applied Graphics Technologies (NASDAQ) and chairman of Applied Printing Technologies. Mr. Drasner was one of the initial investors in Snyder Communications (NYSE) and a board member until its sale to Havas in 1999. In addition, Mr. Drasner was one of the founders of Fast Company Magazine and a member of the Board of Directors of Ventiv Health, Inc. (now inVentiv Health Inc., NASDAQ), Applied Graphics Technologies (NASDAQ), Snyder Communications (NYSE) and the Washington Redskins. He served as a director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) from 1996 to 2003 and was a director of the New York City Opera from 1996 to 2003 and the New York MS Society from 1993 to 2003.
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Walsh joins VPG with almost 25 years of experience in the mobility and transit industry. Prior to joining VPG in March 2012, Mr. Walsh was the president/CEO of National Bus Sales and Leasing, Inc., based in Marietta, Georgia. While at National, Walsh doubled revenues and significantly increased company net income. Mr. Walsh is a pioneer in the transportation industry with alternative fuels and the development of innovative products for the physically challenged, concentrating on “low floor” easy-access-based vehicles. Mr. Walsh is an industry expert in sales, marketing and distribution of products in the mobility and paratransit markets. Mr. Walsh has served on the board of the Georgia Transit Association and TASC and has been a key advocate for the Transit Governance Board for Mobility Transit in Georgia.
Joseph D. Vecchiolla
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Prior to joining VPG in July 2007, Mr. Vecchiolla served as a principal and managing director of The Recovery Group, an international financial advisory consultancy. During this period, he simultaneously served as a managing director of Three Seasons Capital, LLC. From May 2000 through December 2005, he served in various senior positions including president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Seven Worldwide, previously known as Applied Graphics Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ). Prior to this, Mr. Vecchiolla served as vice president of marketing and vice president of finance at Favorite Brands International, which was acquired by Nabisco, president of Old Greenwich Capital Corporation and various roles with Bird Corporation (NASDAQ) beginning as senior vice president and CFO, then president and COO and finally chairman of the Board of Directors.
President and Chief Operating Officer
Before joining VPG in February 2009, Mr. DeMars was chief operating officer and business unit president of Plastech Engineered Products, responsible for all business aspects of 26 manufacturing sites for this plastic injection molding automotive interior/exterior supplier. From 1978 to 2005, he held various positions of increasing responsibility at Ford Motor Company including vice president of vehicle operations (2003-2005), where he led full operational activities for 12 North American vehicle assembly plants and 7 stamping plants; executive director of truck operations (2000-2003), during which time he was responsible for the successful launch of the F-series pickup truck within key targeted timing and costs parameters; chief program engineer (1998-2000) responsible for product development for the 2000 model year F-series/ Expedition/ Navigator and new Supercrew Cab; chief body engineer (1994-1998), responsible for product development, design and testing for all North American Truck Body Engineering including standardization of test processes, sign-off and certification of Body Engineering standards; and body engineer (1978-1994), with product engineering responsibility for design and development of new model programs including system level design for body components, hood, fender and system level design.
Executive Vice President, Commercial and Retail Sales
Mr. Barker joins VPG with 25 years of experience in transportation, including the heavy-duty trucking, school and commercial bus and mobility markets. Most recently, he spent more than 11 years with Sure-Lok, Inc, a leader in the wheelchair securement industry, as the Southeast regional sales manager and then OEM business development manager. Mr. Barker has been a member of numerous national and state committees as an advisor for specifications and advisement, and is considered an industry expert in wheelchair securement, having trained and certified thousands of drivers across the country. He believes that his success has come as a direct result of developing, strengthening and maintaining relationships at state, dealer and mobility market levels.
Chief Marketing Officer
Mr. Carney is a 28-year advertising veteran with a broad array of business-to-consumer and business-to-business communications experience. Prior to joining VPG, Carney served as chief marketing officer for hawkeye, an integrated marketing communications agency, for which he had responsibility for agency positioning, new business and strategic prospect development, branding and promotions. His background and philosophy emphasize ROI-based marketing initiatives, including strategy, branding, multichannel and touch campaign solutions, PR, social and digital marketing. He has been an integral component of the strategic process for clients, including The Ritz-Carlton, Peterbilt, Volkswagen, Hyatt Hotels, ADP, American Express, Diamond Aircraft, HP, Oracle, Continental Airlines and Pratt & Whitney, to name a few. Mr. Carney has also held executive management positions with a number of other agencies, including DRG Worldwide, Protocol Marketing and RAPP.
With the MV-1, VPG is committed to helping the disability community.
VPG was created to help those with mobility issues travel with dignity and comfort. But our commitment to the disability community doesn’t stop there; it’s only the beginning.
The Miami Project
The Miami Project is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center in the world. Their international team of more than 250 scientists and clinicians takes innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord injuries. The Miami Project is committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from a spinal cord injury. The MV-1 is a result of input received from The Miami Project and other organizations that deal with mobility issues throughout the United States.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
The MV-1 brings mobility to the Keefer family.
After his son, Brian, was paralyzed in an accident, Steve Keefer quit his job to become Brian’s caregiver. His touching sacrifice and Brian’s incredible will to one day walk again inspired the crew of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They built a new wing on the Keefer home dedicated to Brian’s needs and continued rehabilitation. In order to help the Keefers become more mobile and travel together as a family, they were given a brand-new MV-1, which allows Brian quick and easy vehicle access, as well as the ability to ride shotgun! Watch the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode featuring the MV-1.
The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
NCIL is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals, including Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), individuals with disabilities and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States. VPG was a proud sponsor of the NCIL Annual Conference 2012, entitled “30 Years of Advocacy: And Miles to Go Before We Sleep,” held June 11-14, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.
Established in 1980, Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully engaged and self-directed lives. Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform. Their staff and volunteers combine knowledge and personal experience to deliver programs and services that equip people with disabilities to advocate for themselves. VPG was a proud sponsor of the Access Living Annual Gala, held June 4, 2012, in Chicago.
Women of Tomorrow
The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program inspires, motivates and empowers young women to live up to their full potential through mentoring by highly accomplished professional women and scholarship opportunities. WOT is believed to be the only program of its kind in the country, pairing extremely accomplished professional women with small groups of at-risk teenage girls in public high schools for monthly mentoring sessions in a three- to four-year mentoring program. WOT mentors are highly accomplished professional women, including judges, doctors, lawyers, airplane pilots, newscasters, executives and entrepreneurs who are dedicated to showing WOT mentees all the possibilities that exist. VPG female professionals in Detroit began mentoring young women at River Rouge High School in River Rouge, Michigan, during the 2011/2012 school year and will continue with this group until they graduate.
Forming the right partnerships fuels the MV-1's achievements.
In order to make the MV-1 a reality, VPG formed partnerships with industry-leading U.S.-based companies and organizations. Thanks to extensive collaboration and innovative thinking, the MV-1 will have the infrastructure and the technology to bring this important one-of-a-kind vehicle to an underserved market. The MV-1 is the only purpose-built vehicle that meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Clean Energy is the leading provider of natural gas for transportation in North America. Clean Energy has a broad customer base in the transit, ports, shuttle, trucking, taxi, airport and municipal fleet markets. The MV-1 is the only vehicle in its class with an available Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) engineered and assembled Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling system option. Clean Energy is committed to expanding its CNG fueling infrastructure to service the CNG powered MV-1, which has an estimated CNG range of 290 miles.
The MV-1 will be assembled at the high-quality AM General assembly facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. AM General is a world-leader in the design, engineering and production of military and special purpose vehicles. With production facilities that are among the most cutting-edge in the world, you can be assured that the MV-1 will be a world-class vehicle.
Ford Component Sales
Ford Component Sales is partnering with VPG by providing the MV-1 with the Ford 4.6L 2V EFI V8 engine and the Ford 4R75E Electronic 4-Speed Automatic transmission with Overdrive. This collaboration means that with a powertrain featuring 248 hp at 4,750 RPM and 294 ft. lb. of torque at 4,000 RPM, the MV-1 will harness the power of a truck, but drive like a car.
Grande National Leasing, Inc.
Grande National Leasing, Inc. (GNL) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of the Vehicle Production Group’s innovative MV-1 vehicle. GNL and its management team are focused on the mass transit and accessible transit industries and will continue to cater to this underserved market with enthusiasm and innovation for the future.
Milestones of the MV-1: a quick overview.
As the first mobility vehicle built from the ground up, the MV-1 has experienced widespread industry recognition. Here are some of the accomplishments and awards VPG has received:
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)
Self certification for 2012MY, March 3, 2011
Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS)
February 3, 2012
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Gasoline – October 6, 2011; CNG – October 24, 2011
California EPA Air Resources Board (CARB)
Gasoline – November 16, 2011; CNG – November 16, 2011
May 16, 2011
General Services Administration (GSA) Contract Award
September 23, 2011
Da Vinci Award
VPG received the Da Vinci award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter, as the 2010 winner in the Transportation and Mobility category.
MV-1 Launch Date
The MV-1 was successfully launched September 21, and the first one off the line was delivered to Marc Buoniconti.