Brad Van Riper

Truck-Lite VP, tech officer Van Riper loses cancer battle

Bradley Van Riper, a senior vice president and chief technology officer who enjoyed a 40-year career with Truck-Lite, died May 4 at UPMC Chautauqua WCA hospital in Jamestown NY after a brief battle with cancer.

The New York native and former Navy machinist was 64 years old.

He started at Truck-Lite in 1978 as a maintenance technician and steadily acquired more responsibility as the company grew. By 1994, he was promoted to vice president of research and development, and he assumed his most recent role in 2006.

As SVP and CTO, he was active in supporting the development of new product innovations and held several U.S. patents, and was responsible for developing technology integration plans, intellectual property monitoring and adapting regulatory standards for the global Truck-Lite organization.

Van Riper’s passion for safety and innovation spurred his rise through Truck-Lite’s ranks and was readily apparent in his involvement with numerous organizations and committees, within both the transportation industry and his community. Industry board memberships included the Society of Automotive Engineers (past chairman, lighting committee), Transportation Safety Equipment Institute (past president, government relations liaison), Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, Society of Plastic Engineers (senior member), Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association (senior member) and the United States delegation to the Groupe de Travail “Bruxelles 1952” (GTB), which develops performance standards for transportation products used in Europe.

“Brad has been an integral part of the Truck-Lite organization for 40 years,” said Brian Kupchella, Truck-Lite CEO. “His contributions extend beyond the success of this company to the entire transportation safety industry.

“He will be missed by all who knew him.”

Locally, Van Riper was active with the Chautauqua County Traffic Safety Board, which works to improve traffic safety conditions across the county, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (MAST), STEM Wars and Career Search and manufacturing technology institute board at Jamestown Community College and, perhaps most notably, the LINKS Charity, which has contributed more than $1.5 million to local cancer care efforts since its inception in 1991.

His most notable distinctions include Jamestown Community College’s Distinguished Alumnus, TMC’s Silver Spark Plug, a lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions to heavy-duty vehicle maintenance, and TSEI’s Henneberger Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact within the transportation safety industry.

Van Riper is survived by mother Jean, wife Rebecca Chamberlain Van Riper, sons Christopher Adam Van Riper and Aaron Matthew Van Riper, and grandson Waylon Van Riper.

The family asked that, in lieu of flowers, memorials in Van Riper’s name go to LINKS Charity to help fight cancer in the Jamestown area.

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