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Mining supply and service innovators honoured by industry peers

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) honoured two industry luminaries and welcomed a new board of directors during its annual general meeting Dec. 2.
Mark Andrews (left), of Carriere Industrial Supply Ltd., and Bruce Diplock, of Dixon Electric, were inducted into the SAMSSA Hall of Fame Dec. 2, for their contributions to the mining services and supply industry.

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) honoured two industry luminaries and welcomed a new board of directors during its annual general meeting Dec. 2.

Bruce Diplock of Dixon Electric and Mark Andrews of Carriere Industrial Supply Ltd. (CIS), who have dedicated a combined 70-plus years to the industry, were inducted into SAMSSA's Hall of Fame before a crowd of more than 100 at the morning event.

SAMSSA executive director Dick DeStefano said it's important to promote success stories from the industry to acknowledge the hard work being done every day.

“It's a recognition of those who have contributed to the success of this industry, have identified with it, have created real jobs and real wealth,” DeStefano said. “I thank the two honourees for accepting.”

Diplock, a graduate of Humber College, has been in the industry for more than 40 years, 27 of which have been with Dixon Electric. During his tenure with the Sudbury-based company, he has built the staff from nine to more than 50, expanded from one branch to four across the North, and has grown it into an integrated electrical solutions company.

In a touching tribute, Diplock's daughter Jessica teasingly referred to her dad's penchant for wise quotes, which he'd regularly dole out to the family. “Many hands make light work” was a favourite, typically employed during a debate over whose turn it was to wash the dishes.

“Ultimately, if you relate this back to business, what it's taught us as a family is collaboration, teamwork, and to value the input of all people on a project, or something as simple as doing the dishes,” she said.

While fine-tuning his business acumen, charity work has been a strong focus for Diplock, who has been involved with the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes and the building of schools in Haiti and Ethiopia, among other causes.

“It's quite an honour to be here under these circumstances and accept an award of this nature,” said a humble Diplock. “Working hard—well, that goes without saying. Some of the best business associates and staff in the world have got me to where I've been, and the journey has been, absolutely, something wonderful.”

Fellow recipient Andrews, who recently retired after a 33-year career at CIS, which provides wear solutions for the mining industry, started working for his family's Yamaha motorcycle and snowmobile business in Kenora before moving on to Noranda's Mattabi Mines.

His career in sales at CIS began in 1979 in Cobalt, and he has since assisted in enhancing sales, as well as developing and implementing unique value-added products and services, including Linerwear, CIS's inventory and wear liner management system, and the concept of cost-per-ton buckets for the mining industry.

Colleague Jean-Marc Valade praised Andrews for his keen business sense, suggesting his successor will have big shoes to fill.

“His product and service innovation has made CIS a market leader in innovative wear solutions,” Valade said. “He was passionate about the process, drove it and successfully managed to secure long-term commitments from our customers. He was a sales, marketing, engineering, new-product and business-development guy, or whatever other hat he had to wear to get things done.”

Despite his recent retirement, Andrews is keeping his toe in the industry, recently forming Wearwise Consulting, and he has been recognized as a founding patron of SAMSSA.

“I appreciate the honour, everybody,” Andrews said. “It's been a great career—almost 40 years of working. I'm looking forward to my retirement.”

SAMSSA ended the year on a positive note financially, although it was noted that expenses will go up in 2012 as the organization overhauls its web presence with a more accessible, comprehensive website, a process that is currently underway.

Updates include enhanced profiles for members and better accessibility through a variety of platforms, including smartphones and tablets.

DeStefano also announced the board of directors for the next two-year term, which includes past presidents who stay on as advisors.

“Every year the board reviews its composition and, in order to maintain continuity, we have made an attempt this year to be more geographical in our appointments,” DeStefano said.

Outgoing president Marc Boudreau of Bestech has finished his two-year term, passing the torch to incoming president Kirk Petroski, president and CEO of Symboticware.

Petroski joins returning board members vice-president Tom Palangio, of WipWare in North Bay; secretary André Ruest, general manager of B&D Manufacturing in Sudbury; and treasurer Mike Mayhew, director of global business services, mining at Stantec in Sudbury. Also joining the board as a new director is David Rector, of Rector Machine Works in Sault Ste. Marie.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Liberty Mines president and CEO Chris Stewart, who spoke of the company's efforts to relaunch its nickel-exploration operations in Timmins.