In 2004, Doug Gifford joined forces with Renew Valve & Machine Company of Michigan to take control of Cleveland Valve & Gauge - the company where he began his career in valve repair more than 20 years prior.
Founded in Cleveland by the George Ruf family in 1857, the original Cleveland Steam Gauge Company manufactured a line of steam and vacuum pressure gauges patterned after the Schaeffer-Budenberg line in Germany. It also maintained a complete machine shop which manufactured parts when needed for the valves, pumps, and boilers for the growing number of steam ships then navigating the Great Lakes.
The exact location of the original company has been lost over time, but locations included Old River Road, 1109 W. 9th Street, the Superior Viaduct, 1700 Columbus Avenue, then finally landing at its final Cleveland Flats location in 1965 on West Third Street. The Ruf family remained in control of the company until the early 1950's - focusing on pressure gauge manufacturing and valve repair for the shipping industry. In 1952, James Becker and Frank Foy purchased the company and carried on the profession. However, the boiler-driven marine fleet was rapidly being replaced by diesel power, which led to a decline in the pressure gauge business that had been the backbone of the company.
In 1965, Vernon Schill, Dan Cardina, and Anthony Brock purchased the company and focused more on valve repair; becoming the recognized authority on all types of gate, globe, ball, check, plug and control valves. It became a founding member of the National Board "VR" Safety Relief Valve repair certification program. By the time the company was sold again in 1996, Vernon Schill and his family had become the sole owners. At the dawn of the 21st century, Cleveland Valve & Gauge moved to its present location on 150th Street near Hopkins International Airport.
From 1996 to 2004, Cleveland Valve struggled under the Jay Industrial Services Group ownership, finally succumbing to Doug Gifford's aggressive competitiveness - a trait which he has been able to instill in the company today.