It’s no exaggeration to say Terrance Jacobs and his colleagues at TCL Asset Group Inc. will go the extra mile for their customers. In fact, that’s often an understatement.
From the asset management and advisory company’s headquarters in Toronto, TCL team members fan out across North and South America to inspect, evaluate, appraise, organize, and sell a wide variety of industrial machinery and equipment. From food processing plants, cannabis and pharmaceutical facilities, to diamond and gold mines, TCL can manage it all — on and off the beaten path.
Jacobs is CEO of TCL, which was founded 65 years ago by his father, Norman. In his 25 years as owner, one of the many areas of expertise where Terrance has positioned TCL as a leader in evaluation and sale of equipment at mining operations — which, by their very nature, tend to be found in remote areas. Doing business on the outskirts of civilization — in his native Canada and beyond — appeals to Jacobs’ sense of adventure and his eagerness to confront challenges. And he has assembled a group of like-minded specialists who share his passion.
“There are not a lot of other people with the skill set of our team,” he declared in a recent conversation. “You have fun and enjoy yourself while you work hard. And you get to learn something new every day. The environments we work in can be harsh, but they can also be very intriguing.”
Among TCL’s recent projects was the sale of all assets from a diamond mine situated in the wilds of Canada’s vast Northwest Territories. The operation was accessible in the coldest months only via ice roads laid out on frozen lakes, or by private air charter. “It was more than just mining equipment,” Jacobs said of the setting. “It was a self-contained small city unto itself, and the only things brought in during the year by air were food and spare parts to maintain site operations. People up there are very dedicated to what they do.”
Over the course of two years, the TCL crew organized the site and the online auctions — which took place during the summer months — as well as subsequent delivery of mining rolling stock, process plant assets as well as infrastructure that supported the large on-site mining and support crew.
Jacobs and the TCL team of experts must be ready to adapt from life below zero to the other extreme, as business opportunity dictates. “I’ve found myself in Arizona, in the middle of the summer, evaluating a solar panel farm,” he noted. TCL has conducted recent sales at remote mine operations in Chile, Puerto Rico, and northern Nevada, as well as in eastern Europe and Asia. TCL is by no means the only company of its kind doing work in exotic locales, but it has made a well-deserved name for itself.
“What makes my team different is our passion of the business, the true ambition to do the best job possible, whether it’s getting the right detailed description of a machine, or helping a customer out during removal,” Jacobs noted.
Finished goods will always require raw materials, so Jacobs sees no end to underground opportunities.
“Just the other day I got a call about an appraisal involving rare earths,” he disclosed, referring to minerals that will be in ever-greater demand as battery technology advances. “Being both prepared and responsible for your own destiny must not be just a necessity, but a way of life.”
The poet Carl Sandburg memorably dubbed Chicago the “City of Big Shoulders.” Chicago has long cultivated its reputation of being a place where people tackle the big, tough jobs. So, it is no wonder Chicago boasts the largest number of member businesses of any Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA) chapter. And Jake Josko could not be happier about that.
Josko has been part of the MDNA for more than 25 years and now chairs its Chicago Chapter. He grew up in the auction business — his grandfather and father sold high-end antiques up and down the East Coast — and he started his own auction house in Connecticut fresh out of the military. Before long, Jake’s family worked its way to Chicago and put down roots there, in part, because “you’re about three hours from everywhere in the country.”
Josko is the Windy City’s representative for New York-based Apex Auctions USA, which specializes in online and on-site auctions, appraisals, and liquidations of industrial equipment. He joined the MDNA leadership in the late 1990s when his late father, John, was the Chicago chapter chair. John was a strong proponent of the MDNA and the values it represents, and Jake took the cue.
“I’ve felt that our gift in life, our bequest from others, is listening’’ he says. “For a long time, I listened to others refer to the benefits of joining the MDNA. Now I am a cheerleader — at chapter & board meetings, conventions, & networking with members, the message remains the same, if you actively participate you will benefit more than just monetarily.”
He has plenty to do, given the chapter’s size and geographic scope. Most of its forty-six member businesses are in outlying communities. Josko’s office, for instance, is in Crystal Lake, in the city’s far northwest suburbs.
“The good thing is, we’re all colleagues,” he says. “The size of the chapter allows you to leverage hundreds of industry experts’ knowledge at any given moment. And as colleagues, we help each other become more knowledgeable about the distinct types of equipment we each individually have expertise in appraising or monetizing.”
Josko finds the willingness to share expertise as the most satisfying aspect of his MDNA association.
“The MDNA becomes sort of your second family,” he reflects. “There are always people coming into this industry, always a lot going on, and as an association we must maintain a profound foundation of knowledge in all industrial verticals available to assist members and prospective members. We have that here in the MDNA.”
Chicago Chapter meetings often attract 30 to 40 attendees, he adds, which often results in profitable conversations.
“Over the years, I’ve learned that if you can help other people make money, it helps you, too,” he says. “It always comes back around.”
When a blaze broke out seven winters ago in an enormous warehouse in the Midwest, it was not your standard industrial mishap. In fact, there was almost no structural damage. And nobody was aware of the fire when it was burning. It wasn’t discovered until several days had passed.
But the bizarre experience taught John Taucher some valuable lessons.
Taucher owns Portage Packaging Systems, Inc., an MDNA member business that operates from four Ohio facilities — two in Hiram and two others in nearby Ravenna, all located not far from Cleveland and Akron. Batteries ignited in a truck parked inside in a 70,000-square-foot building in Ravenna, in the dead of winter with conditions so cold that the heat from the resulting flames actually dissipated before it could reach the fire alarm sensors on the 42-foot-high ceiling. But where there’s fire, there’s usually smoke — and there was plenty of that.
“We turned the lights on and everything inside was very dim, because everything was covered in black soot,” Taucher recalls of the mess that greeted him when he returned from an out-of-town trip. “Trucks, loaders, machinery — everything was coated. The garage doors were damaged, but that was about it. The real work was clearing out and cleaning up.”
Before long, Taucher realized that his $50,000 business interruption insurance benefit fell well short of covering the cost of moving everything into a rental warehouse.
“It was a logistical nightmare,” he says. “That insurance works better in a retail setting that it did for us.”
Negotiating the ins and outs of the insurance and finding temporary quarters to keep Portage’s parts and installation services to the packaging industry operating smoothly took around nine months. Taucher hired independent insurance adjustor Neil Novak, of the Alex Sill Co., in Cleveland, to represent Portage in talks with insurers, and agreements were worked out. He was so pleased with the results that he later invited Novak to address in MDNA National Convention audience on dealing with business insurance challenges.
MDNA Member Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. Celebrates a Decade of Excellence and Innovation
Lithia, FL – January 23rd, 2024 – Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. (SFMS), a leading provider of fabrication, machining, EDM and manufacturing equipment, is proud to announce its 10th-anniversary milestone in 2024. Over the past decade, SFMS has established itself as an industry powerhouse, delivering cutting-edge solutions, repurposing industrial machinery, providing exceptional service, and unwavering commitment to its clients, partners & suppliers.
Since its inception in 2014, SFMS has been on a remarkable journey of growth, evolution, and innovation. What began as a vision to redefine the machinery sales experience has now blossomed into a thriving enterprise known for its expertise, integrity, and customer-centric approach.
A Decade of Achievements
Over the past 10 years, SFMS has achieved numerous milestones, including:
A Message from Andrew Kamashian, President of SFMS
"Reaching our 10-year anniversary is a momentous occasion for all of us at SFMS. We are immensely proud of the journey we've undertaken, the partnerships we've built, and the trust our clients have placed in us. This milestone is a testament to our team's dedication, our commitment to innovation in repurposed and new machinery solutions, and our unwavering focus on delivering value to our clients. As we look ahead, we are excited about the opportunities that the future holds, and we remain steadfast in our mission to provide the best value in solutions in the industry."
As SFMS enters its second decade, the company remains dedicated to its core values of integrity, excellence, and innovation. With a clear vision for the future, SFMS is poised for continued growth, further expansion, and a steadfast commitment to serving its clients with the highest level of professionalism and expertise. Adding to its portfolio of metal fabricating solutions in 2020 SFMS created BendmakUSA as teh leading supplier of Bendmak Machinery including Plate & Profile Bending Rolls, Plate Processing Machinery, Structural Beam Drilling Machinery and an extensive selection of Welding Machinery.
For media inquiries, please contact: Andrew Kamashian email@example.com 813-444-4555 X106
To learn more about Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc., visit www.southernfabsales.com To learn more about the BendmakUSA division visit www.bendmakusa.com
We’re all familiar with how hard the members of the Machine Dealers National Association (MDNA) work. But how aware are we of how hard some of them play?
Putting in long hours at the office, on the shop floor, or on the road is necessary and expected for business success. For some people, though, it’s just the start. Away from work, they find focus, inspiration, and meaning from involvement in what most people consider “extreme” recreation — distance running, triathlon competitions, even diving and surfing. And these are not extensions of childhood pursuits. Some came to strenuous sports at relatively advanced ages. And they’ll tell you they’re now getting as much or more out of these activities as they’re putting in.
Here are profiles of four MDNA members — John Butz, Nick Gibbs, Tom Lowkes, and Mike Mills — who are athletes in it for the long run, or the long bike ride, or the long swim, or… well, you get the idea.
John Butz was a latecomer to extreme sports, but the Florida triathlete quickly made up for lost time and learned a valuable lesson in the bargain.
Butz is CEO of Resell CNC, a used CNC dealer and live and online auction service with a global customer reach, located in Midland, Fla., a suburb of Orlando. As a high-schooler in Madison, Wis., he ran cross country but didn’t keep it up through college and most of his early career in the used machinery business.
But an older brother who had taken up running didn’t let John forget those days on the course and badgered him to get into extreme distance sports with him.
"I did a little bit here and there — 5Ks, 10Ks, a bit of exercise — then quit,” John recalls. “But it stayed on my mind. Then one day I woke up and said, ‘I want to do an Ironman’.” So he did. He rearranged his schedule to train, then ran half-triathlons in Idaho and his old hometown of Madison in preparation for the real thing: a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, capped by a 26.22-mile marathon run.
He trained seven days a week, improved his poor swimming skills and learned to appreciate the restorative effects of ice baths.
“This was in my mid- to late 40s,” he says. “And you can ‘fake’ a half-triathlon but you can’t fake a full one. It’s rough. It took a while, but I was finally ready in November, 2019.”
The course was in Tempe, Ariz., just outside Phoenix. He wasn’t after a podium finish, but he’d set a combined-time goal of 15 hours — and achieved that goal with a couple of minutes to spare. It was his one and only full ironman so far, but he learned a life lesson in the preparation.
“What holds us back, nine out of 10 times, is our mind, not our body,” he reflects. “Our challenges are mostly mental.” So as he honed his physical skills, the mental obstacles disappeared, and “I must say, it has been a beautiful journey.”
If anyone seems determined to go the distance, it’s Nick Gibbs. When he goes for a weekend run, he often schedules it carefully because it can take the better part of a day — and night.
Gibbs, the Director of Business Development at Gibbs Machinery Company, is an ultramarathon runner. Unlike triathlon participants, ultramarathoners don’t swim or bike as part of their pursuit. But they more than make up for it with the distance they cover on foot — 50 kilometers (just over 31 miles), minimum, and often 100 miles or more.
"I might not be the fastest out there, but I can go for a long time,” Gibbs says of his running credentials. He grew up playing hockey, but turned to running during COVID and ran his first ultramarathon a few months later in Traverse City, Mich. Gibbs Machinery is located in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Mich., a couple of ultramarathons southeast of Traverse City. Over the past three years, Gibbs has run both the traditional point-to-point 100-milers as well as lap races around 20-mile courses like the one at Traverse City. Among his biggest supporters is his wife Courtney, who will no doubt one day soon be joined in the cheer block by their first child, daughter Josephine Jane.
Gibbs took part in his first New York Marathon in November, enjoying the relatively short 26.2-mile experience he calls “a bucket-list thing.” He says he’s willing to consider entering what he described as “pretty gnarly” ultramarathons planned for distances of 200 and even 300 miles.
“It’s a really good way to get your thoughts together,” he says, explaining how ultramarathons can translate to the business side of his life. “You Iearn to structure your time as you prepare for the races, and to problem-solve on the go if things start to go sideways out there.”
Many dedicated runners who train all their lives and never find themselves competing in the Boston Marathon — arguably the most famous annual distance race in the world. For Tom Lowkes, though, the Patriot’s Day promenade was the first — and so far, the only — marathon he has completed.
Lowkes is owner and president of Fabricating & Production Machinery, Inc., an MDNA member that is a 40-year-old, family-operated new, used and liquidation machinery business in Worcester, Mass. Boston is just 47 miles east of Worcester, and the Marathon in 2000 marked the beginning of Lowkes’s affinity for long runs that has yet to be fully explored.
“I began running as an adult," says Tom, who played soccer and football in high school. Runners can enter the Boston Marathon either by virtue of their qualifying times in other marathons or by being a member of a fund-raising team. Tom took the latter route, but the six months of training needed to prepared him for the 26.3-mile course produced something unexpected.
“It turned out to be a great stress-reliever,” he recalls. “I call it my decompression time. Not being the fastest runner in the world, you’re not competing with other runners. You’re competing with yourself.”
In the years since his Boston debut, Tom has limited himself to half-marathon distances. But the internal competition has spurred him to take on a new challenge, and he has begun training for an ultra marathon over a 50-mile course in Vermont in September 2024.
“It’s just a goal at this point,” he says. “We’ll see how the training goes. But I’ve found that I need a goal — something like this to look forward to, something difficult to achieve so I can get out the door and go after it.”
Whether the door leads to a long day at the office or an extended run through the forested hills of central Massachusetts, Tom Lowkes looked within and found the everyday secret to going the distance.
At the age most people stop taking part in extreme sports, Mike Mills decided to start.
Mills, who manages MDNA-member Machinery Resources International’s office in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been in the machining business since graduating from high school, 45 years ago. Early on, his work schedule was too hectic to allow for recreational sports, but as more time became available he chose to spend it in the out-of-doors.
Mills took up swimming in his after 40s, and soon was scuba diving in Hawaii and off the California coast at La Jolla, not far from his home in Cypress, a community tucked in among Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Long Beach. He took up surfing — “the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted” — at age 50. That led him closer to the extreme edge of competition and eventually to his first Ironman Triathlon — 140.6 miles of cycling, swimming, and running — at age 60.
“As you train yourself for these kind of events, you learn you can do anything you want to,” he says of the process of reaching one’s mental and physical limits. “And you learn that many of the same things are required to finish a tough race or finish a tough day in business. You find your focus, meet your deadlines, overcome your challenges.”
Lately, Mills has gravitated to Spartan racing, a combination of long-distance running and obstacle course challenges that attracts participants of all ages. It has become a family activity of sorts for Mills and his three grown children, along with his brother and a niece and nephew.
“They’re more fun that doing triathlons,” he declares. “I’m going to do them while I still can.”
With more than three dozen triathlons under his belt, Mills says he might still be game for an ironman these days, “if a really close friend wanted to do one.” But the Spartan races or even a dash through a shorter “mud-run” course are more his speed now.
“Events like these still have meaning because you’re tapping into resources that are already inside you,” he reflects. “When you find them, it’s very satisfying.”
If the Frank Bacon Machinery Company ever decides it needs a corporate motto, one likely candidate might be: “What’s Next?”
For the past 70 years, Frank Bacon Machinery has been in business in and around Detroit. Its focus has shifted through the years, from stamping and grinding units to today’s sophisticated tensile and compression devices. But none of it would have happened had Frank Bacon not retired from the Marines at the end of World War II, moved back home to Michigan, and wondered, “what’s next?”
Today, John Stencel IV, is president of the mechanical testing business his grandfather Frank founded in a one-room office on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road in 1953. He describes Frank Bacon as a voracious reader who foresaw Detroit’s emergence as the hub of America’s postwar auto industry, and who taught himself the basics of the machinery business he knew would be an integral part of that development.
“He figured Detroit would become a haven for machinery manufacturing,” Stencel says. “So he read all he could and taught himself the business from the ground up. After he started his business he became one of the earliest members of the MDNA.”
Much of America’s used machinery sales business is strengthened by deep family ties. Third-, fourth-, even fifth-generation operations are not uncommon. And each generation faces its own set of opportunities and challenges.
“A lot of people who get into this business are a family member or know a family member,” Stencel says. He recalls his transition from Saginaw Valley State University to the working world in the spring of 2010 this way: “I graduated from college on a Friday and started that next Monday.”
He went to work for his father, but gets his grounding in the machinery business from both the Bacon and Stencel sides of the family. And the MDNA is nothing anyone had to explain to him.
“I’ve been around MDNA people since I was in diapers,” he declares. His father is a past President of the MDNA, and John IV started as a secretary of the Detroit/Toledo chapter and quickly moved up to be a representative on the national board. He currently holds positions as a national board director-at-large and chair of the MDNA’s public relations committee.
Frank Bacon Machinery is in a third-generation location as well — all at different addresses along the 8 Mile Road corridor. It opened a 30,000-square-foot remanufacturing and storage facility four years ago, and still maintains a 10,000-square-foot testing lab and storage location as well as a 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Detroit.
Two years ago, the company introduced its own line of new tensile and compression equipment — the Frank Bacon Machinery line. In addition to the new, used and remanufactured equipment, the company also offers engineering services, calibration, testing and training to its customers.
And what’s next? Rest assured, at Frank Bacon Machinery, somebody’s already asking that question.
If you want to know how the machinery sales business in and around New York City has changed over the past half-century, David Valitt can tell you.
“You either evolve or die,” is the way Valitt describes the approach that took his business from its roots in the bustling machine district streets of Manhattan’s lower east side to stops on Long Island and, finally, across the Hudson River to New Jersey. As Machinery Values, Inc., has evolved — and prospered — Valitt credits the Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA) with having played an important role in the process.
“The camaraderie is important,” he explains. “By being in the MDNA you’re finding new partners. You get together with other members, discuss your business trials and tribulations with them, and discover. in the end, that you’ve made some very close friends.”
He says many of the dozens of used machinery concerns that left New York City for greener nearby pastures recognized that membership in the trade organization brings with it the assurance of personal and professional integrity, ethical practices, and practical knowledge.
“They competed and worked with each other in New York and now they’re at the core of the MDNA today,” he says.
Valitt became part of the MDNA in the early 1990s, after he graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta and joined the business then owned by his father, Gene Valitt. It wasn’t long before he stepped up to the leadership ranks in the MDNA’s New York/New Jersey Chapter. He now serves as its vice chairman and as a member of the MDNA’s national board of directors.
Valitt can recall the days when machinery was offered for sale through print catalogs. But Machinery Values, established in 1971, was not left behind when technology brought improvements and efficiencies to not only the equipment, but to the way it it is sold.
“The Internet leveled the playing field,” he says. “Using Ebay, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and websites, the larger and smaller dealers now have the same sales reach.”
Machinery Values offers its customers standard and CNC machinery of all sorts, including tooling, grinding, milling, routing, and lathe units and an array of cutting devices. More than 1,000 pieces of new and used equipment are displayed in the company’s 150,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Harrison, N.J., just nine miles from the Big Apple.
Valitt was determined to put all the company’s equipment sales and service under one roof, and says what he has learned from friends in the MDNA helped make that happen.
“We just evolved in the business,” he says. “We went along with the times.”
Welcome to “The Women of MDNA,” a series of posts where you’ll meet some of the remarkable women in our industry. Their contributions to machine sales in general, and our association in particular, enhance our organization and our industry on a daily basis. That’s especially true for Kristen Reeves, a relative newcomer to machinery sales, who’s making big strides as a sales representative at Automatics & Machinery in Longmont, Colorado.
How did you get involved in the industry?
I’m huge Denver Broncos fan. I came out to Colorado to visit my brother and cousin. When I told them that I want to live here, they told me that I need to get into machinery sales industry. I told them that I didn’t know anything about the industry. “We’ll teach you,” was their reply.
That conversation led to an interview with Steve Beck, President of Automatics & Machinery. He’s been a member of MDNA since 1990 and was willing to teach me about the industry. I think he saw that I wasn’t afraid of learning technical details. I have come to specialize in high precision turning and multi-axis CNC Swiss. I learn new things every day about the details of what I’m selling—not only from doing a little homework but also learning from end users and other dealers in this industry.
How has your company benefitted from MDNA?
It’s great meeting people in the same industry and learning about their experiences. I know that if you’re in MDNA, we already have a connection. There’s a huge trust factor there. We’re all part of the same group and follow the same code of ethics. Most recently, I went to the Weekend with the Pros event. It was a great opportunity to get to tour local companies and see their warehouses and operations.
What is the value women bring to the industry?
I think women bring a comfort level to the process. My customers appreciate that I’m there to build a relationship with them. It’s my philosophy that if they trust me, they’ll come back. So I’m really focused on the future as much as the current sale. Once I establish a relationship, it’s long-term, and I pride myself on repeat customers.
What advice would you give other women in the machinery sales business?
I think it’s important to focus on customer service throughout the entire process and handle any issues along the way. That can include getting shipping quotes and preparing the machine for shipping. When customers see the completed process, they’re usually happy with the result. You have to build the trust factor. Mean what you say and say what you do.
What do you like best about the industry?
I really enjoy establishing a relationship with the customer. It allows me to build their trust and find out their specific machinery needs. In general, it’s a male-dominated field, so when I speak to customers on the phone, it seems like they really listen, and that helps me build rapport. I really take the time to educate myself when it comes to the specific models. When a woman understands what they’re saying on a technical level and can go into detail, they are sometimes surprised and think it’s impressive.
I also enjoy teaching and training newcomers to the machinery world. Most recently I have been working with Steve’s daughter, Alyssa Beck. I see a lot of families in this industry, so it is not uncommon to find new generations joining the industry. Alyssa has been a great addition to our team!
Though they deal in big machines, industrial equipment dealers inhabit a small world. Nelson Martins says that’s what makes the Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA) such an important part of his company’s future.
Martins is owner and president of DiPaolo Machine Tools Ltd., based in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, and among the largest machinery dealers in Canada. He’s also the vice chair of the MNDA’s Canada Chapter, and the chapter’s representative on MDNA’s board of directors. His long association with the MDNA has left him with a keen appreciation for how the organization binds would-be rivals as associates in a business that values and rewards trust.
“It’s essentially a bunch of competitors,” he says of the chapter members. “But among them, there is trust at all levels. We view each other as colleagues. The more we talk about the things that interest us in the business, the more we become valuable resources for each other.”
Like so many MDNA member businesses, DiPaolo Machine Tools is a family affair. Martins’ father-in-law founded it more than 50 years ago as a machine shop. Martins and his wife bought the shop and expanded into a used-machinery concern, then added new equipment lines in 2010. It specializes in retrofitting, rebuilding, and reassembling lathes, milling machines, grinders, and other heavy-equipment offerings. DiPaolo also holds a Canadian government certification that allows it to serve defense and security customers in both Canada and the United States. Most of its business is done in North America.
DiPaolo joined the MDNA in 2006 and Martins says the benefits were apparent immediately. Martins joined the Canadian Chapter Leadership committee shortly thereafter.
“I realized that many of my MDNA colleagues were volunteering their time for our collective benefit,” he says. “I decided ‘OK, now it’s my time to pay it forward.’ And I’m glad I have. It has been a very good experience, and we’ve closed some nice business as a result.”
He likes working within the MDNA member ranks because the organization’s standards promote confidence.
“First and foremost, this is absolutely a personal business,” he says. “As you work with people, they become ‘my guy’ for this service or that advice. And why is he ‘your guy’? Because you can trust what he says and does. You know you’ll get an honest assessment, and you’ll get a fair price.
“And people give their business to those they trust.”
Tim Cromwell grew up around machinery. Now, the machinery has grown up around him.
Once fascinated by the wood-turning equipment and small engines his father worked with, Cromwell found his career calling with the massive, complex industrial pieces he appraises and sells today. The knowledge he has accumulated through the years is what he likes to share with fellow dealers in his capacity as chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA).
Cromwell has been an MDNA member for more than two decades. His initial connections were made while he was a sales executive for machinery dealerships in the United Kingdom and the U.S., and continue now that he runs his own company — Ironside Machinery, headquartered in Riegelsville, Pa. Since 2015, he has been served in various MDNA leadership posts — as the organization’s public relations chairman, and currently as the Philadelphia area’s chapter leader and representative on the national board. He also spends time advising leaders of other MDNA chapters on how to make the most of their responsibilities.
“Involvement is crucial,” he says of his commitment to the organization. “What good is membership in anything if you’re not going to take full advantage of what it offers you? Business is all about the relationships you build, and the MDNA is how you can build them.”
Cromwell started out as an auctioneer so, not surprisingly, Ironside — the name connotes his fondness for the "big iron” of the industrial plant floor — specializes in appraisals and sales of used equipment. While much of its business is conducted around his home base in the Lehigh Valley near Allentown, Pa., Ironside’s customers have come from across North and South America, as well as Europe. The company also offers a clean-out service that empties facilities of everything, from the presses and milling machines down to the office chairs, to make the building ready for a new occupant.
“Ironside Machinery would not be here without the MDNA,” he declares. “In the 2 1/2 years I have owned this business, 95 percent of the deals I’ve done have been with MDNA members.”
The MDNA was established in 1941 and today has nearly 400 member companies worldwide. They include machinery dealers, auctioneers, and appraisers. A subsidiary group, the Association of Machinery & Equipment Appraisers (AMEA), is the world’s premier industrial appraisal association. Cromwell also is a member of AMEA.
"My experience with the MDNA is something that has made me money and kept me in business,” he concluded. “Simple as that.”