vda®’s professional staff comprises of 183, led by 2 working Principals, 3 Senior VP’s, 4 Regional Vice Presidents, 11 Vice Presidents, 11 Area Managers and a team consisting of 89 consultants and 15 field/design engineers. They are supported by 48 Administrative, Accounting and Marketing personnel. This team earns across-the-board industry recognition for elevator experience garnered from more than 30 companies.
The professional staff members possess local licensing and/or BOCA and/or QEI certification to conduct nationwide elevator inspections and hold membership in a variety of professional organizations including the International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC) formely NAVTP, the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities, National Association of Elevator Contractors, The Elevator Conference of NY, the Elevator and Escalator Safety Foundation, and the Building Owners and Managers Association International.
M. Wade Smith
Chief Executive Officer
- Years in Industry: 34
- Education: B.A. Business Administration, William Paterson University
Mr. Smith, is a graduate of William Paterson University with a B. A. in Business Administration and progressed through management positions in sales/marketing and operations in the elevator industry before joining VDA in 1994 as General Manager. As General Manager, he was responsible for executive management of all the firm’s branch offices.
He was named President in 2011, and is the firm’s principal-in-charge of administration, and serves as manager of selected major projects for which the firm provides services.
- Years in Industry: 29
- Education: B.E. Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Manhattan College
- Certifications: NAESA Certified ASME Qualified Elevator Inspector, QEI# C-4247; Licensed New York City DOB Elevator Inspector
Mr. Cuzzi joined VDA in 1998 as Operations Manager, responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of the field engineering staff, providing various types of vertical transportation consulting services, preparation of proposals and pricing for equipment evaluations, quality control evaluations, modernization of existing equipment, and performance of traffic studies and analyses. He also has served as project executive on select projects such as 1 World Trade Center, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, Plaza Hotel, Gap Inc. (over 100 projects worldwide), among many others.
Additionally, Mr. Cuzzi was named President of VDA at the beginning of 2018. In his new role, he oversees the operations of the entire company.
Prior to joining VDA, Mr. Cuzzi was the operations manager for an elevator company which specialized in the modernization and maintenance of residential and commercial elevators; previously, he was operations manager/project engineer for a company specializing in the construction and modernization of gasoline stations.
Mr. Cuzzi is a graduate of the Manhattan College School of Engineering in 1986, with a B. E. in Mechanical Engineering, and holds various licenses and certifications, including the ASME Qualified Elevator Inspector license (QEI) and NYC DOB Elevator Agency Director license. He is a past and current volunteer of several industry organizations, including Technical Chairman of the Elevator Conference of NY (ECNY), NAEC and IAEC, and has been a frequent guest speaker at NAEC, BOMA, REBNY, ECNY, BLDGSNY, and various Industry and Client seminars
Vice President - Sales
- Years in Industry: 21
- Education: College of Staten Island
Mr. Balsamo facilitates vda sales and services, to include business development of new and existing clients, preparation of elevator modernization and/or maintenance specifications, contractor bid reviews, contractor bid interviews, witness test services, project management and customer quality control.
Michael joined vda in 2017 as Vice President of Sales. Prior to joining vda, he started his career at P.S Marcato Elevator as an Account Executive in 1996 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales at P.S. Marcato Elevator in 2005. While sales was Michael’s main focus, he was an integral part of the operations team and continues the same path here at vda. He is well versed in all aspect of sales and is proficient in business operations.
Robert M. Castellano
Vice President Operations - NYC
- Years in Industry: 11
- Education: B.S.,Justice - Legal Studies, John Jay College, City University of New York, NY
Mr. Castellano facilitates VDA sales and services, to include preparation of elevator modernization and/or maintenance specifications, contractor bid reviews, contractor bid interviews, witness test services and customer quality control.
Robert Castellano joined VDA in 2010 as an Associate. With elevator industry experience in both sales and corporate business environments, Robert has managed client portfolios since his career bagan in 2007. Mr. Castellano has performed in several elevator business roles, to include project/portfolio management and office management while at ThyssenKrupp Elevator and VDA.
Michael D. Farris
Regional Vice President-West Coast
- Years in Industry: 39
- Education: B.S. Business Administration California Polytechnic State University,
Mr. Farris has more than 30 years of professional experience in the design of elevator and escalator systems for new construction projects, new equipment in existing buildings, and the modernization of vertical transportation equipment.
His responsibilities include overall management and business development for the San Francisco office and Western United States. Additionally, he is responsible for vertical transportation design, development and coordination in both new and existing structures, including preparation of elevator systems’ traffic analyses and design recommendations; construction drawings, specifications and construction phase services. Mr. Farris has been a Certified Elevator Inspector for over 20 years.
George L. Gagle
Regional Vice President – Mid-Atlantic Region
- Years in Industry: 22
- Education: University of Toledo; Mechanical Engineering Technology; Wilberforce University, Information Technology
- Certifications: Certified Inspector Supervisor NAESA Q.E.I.S S101
As Regional Vice President of our Mid Atlantic region, Mr. Gagle’s responsibilities range from developing regional, & local business by maintaining and improving relations with current clients. Mr. Gagle also supports regional offices with sales and services while promoting VDA services and developing new services to meet clients’ requests. He also provides assistance in the development of elevator software. With his expertise in utilizing technology he continuously develops new processes and streamlines existing procedures to improve efficiency.
Noel R. Herchell, CEI
Regional Vice President-Northeast
- Years in Industry: 34
- Education: Architectural Technology, Mohawk Community College
- Certifications: NAESAI Certified ASME, Certified Elevator Inspector CEI #755
Mr. Herchell has over 30 years of experience in various aspects of the elevator industry including consulting, engineering, manufacturing certification inspection, sales and management.
As Regional Vice President-Northeast, he is responsible for the design, development and coordination in both new and existing structures, including preparation of systems’ analysis and recommendations; construction budgets, construction drawings, specifications and construction period services and for development of new business in the Northeastern US.
Mr. Herchell provides equipment and maintenance quality control evaluations, writes equipment and maintenance specifications for new and existing vertical transportation equipment, performs theoretical traffic analysis for new and existing building systems and provides services during the construction administration phase. In addition, he serves as project manager on selected major contracts. He is also a member of the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities, the ASME A17.1 National Interest Review Committee, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists, and is a NAESAI certified Elevator Inspector.
Senior Vice President/General Manager
- Years in Industry: 39
Mr. Loeffler joined VDA in 2015. He possesses more than 35 years of combined experience spanning all aspects of operations and project management, including national, regional and branch operations, construction, modernization and service. Mr. Loeffler is adept in managing multiple business units, branch offices and/or project sites comprising over 100 personnel spanning various geographic locations, with a proven track record of meeting or exceeding corporate operation, revenue, margin, sales and client goals. He is an effective communicator and creative problem solver who readily interacts with personnel at all levels of organization, including executive management, sales, engineering, manufacturing, and field staff, as well as clients and consultants. Mr. Loeffler is also proficient in many computer applications and knowledge-based systems.
Michael G. Muñoz
Senior Vice President
- Years in Industry: 13
- Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Mr. Muñoz joined VDA in 2006 and served as a Design Engineer until 2008 in our Headquarters office. From 2008 through 2017 he services as both an Associate and Senior Associate working on large new construction projects both domestic and international.
At the beginning of 2018, Mr. Muñoz, was recognized for his hard work, industry knowledge and commitment to seeing a project through and was name Vice President, and subsequently in 2020 has been named a Senior Vice President. In these roles Michael serves as a Project Executive on large projects and continues to oversee projects and provide insight to his core team. In addition, he is responsible for vertical transportation design, development and coordination, in both new and existing structures, including preparation of elevator systems traffic analysis and recommendations, construction drawings, specifications; response to RFIs, and shop drawing review
James E. Peterlin
Regional Vice President-Mid West
- Years in Industry: 23
- Education: B.S. Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Mr. Peterlin has nearly 25 years of professional experience in the design of elevator and escalator systems for new construction projects, new equipment in existing buildings, and the modernization of vertical transportation equipment.
His responsibilities include overall management and business development for the Chicago office and Mid Western United States. Additionally, he is responsible for vertical transportation design, development and coordination in both new and existing structures, including preparation of elevator systems’ traffic analyses and design recommendations; construction drawings, specifications and construction phase services.
Richard S. Sayah
Senior Vice President
- Years in Industry: 21
- Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology
- Certifications: LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)
As a participant in a cooperative educational program, Mr. Sayah was employed at VDA full time for 1 full year and 2 summers while earning his degree. During that time, his duties involved support of the CAD department; writing software programs; conducting field surveys and the preparation of traffic studies.
Since May 1999, he has been a full-time employee in the Engineering department. In January 2009, he was named Vice President with responsibility for project team management, preparation of theoretical traffic analyses, design development of vertical transportation systems in new and existing structures, preparation of specifications; shop drawing review and construction period services.