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.”