Looking back on his company’s 25 years as a member of the Machinery Dealers National Association, Jose “Pepe” Sardinas most appreciates the “association” part of that relationship.
Sardinas is vice-president and co-owner of AM Metalmaq Inc., a suburban Miami concern that is marking a quarter-century of involvement with the MDNA this year. That time together reflects well on the MDNA, he says, because the organization’s principles and members have been so valuable to his business.
“It’s a group of folks who do the same thing you do and are eager to help you,” he explained in a recent conversation. “You ask them for advice or their opinion and you know you’re confident you’re getting good advice and an informed opinion.”
AM Metalmaq joined the MDNA in 1998, three years after Sardinas joined forces with co-owner and company president George Alves. The company offers a broad selection of new equipment and as well as pre-owned inventory for machine and fabrication shops. Its facility, in Hialeah, provides an ideal location to showcase its wares for customers coming in from Miami International Airport, just a couple of miles up the highway.
AM Metalmaq, founded in 1991, is much less involved in exporting equipment to Latin American and the Caribbean than it was when it joined MDNA. Sardinas says what has been learned through the trade group has helped the company successfully adapt to changing domestic and international markets.
“When people ask me, ‘What’s an organization like (MDNA) going to do for me?’,” Sardinas says. “I tell them, ‘Get yourself involved in it and learn,’ It’s all about the relationships you build over the years. This is an elite group of businesses, and so good to work with. What you can learn is, how to make money.”
Sardinas says he and Alves relish the friendships and trust they have forged with fellow MDNA members — a process that began when they were recruited for membership at a trade expo in Miami Beach. They appreciate the one-to-one nature of such professional contacts, and have enjoyed “working the room” at MDNA functions. In the early years, their conversations often took place amid the scent of cigars the two would bestow as a nod to their Cuban heritage.
“There’s less smoking now,” Sardinas admits, with a laugh. “But we still are occasionally asked, ‘Hey, where are our cigars?’”
Sardinas, who resides in Kendall, Fla., with his wife Ileana, is pleased to have been part of MDNA leadership through the years, having served as the organization’s Southeast Chapter chair and as a member of its national board of directors.
“We have its Code of Ethics posted on our wall,” he declares. “When you’re dealing with MDNA members, you know you’ve taken a step up.”