An organization that promotes and supports the mining supply sector in Northern Ontario has been named as Entrepreneurial Community of the Year by the Northern Ontario Business Awards (NOBA).
SAMSSA, the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association was honoured at the NOBA event held last week in Sault Ste. Marie.
The award, sponsored by Huntington University, was presented to Dick DeStefano, the longtime executive director of SAMSSA, who retired this past summer.
DeStefano recalled that the SAMSSA organization was formed in 2003 in response to overtures from Paul Reid, who at the time was working for municipal economic development in Sudbury.
DeStefano said Reid wondered what could be done about helping the significant group of mining supply and service companies that existed in Sudbury and across Northeastern Ontario.
He said they recognized that more than 350 companies were part of a unique cluster of businesses that was a resource unto itself in keeping the mining operations in the North served with the specialized goods and services that industry needs.
While the sector was surviving the concern was that it was also reliant on the two major nickel producers in Sudbury, Vale and Glencore.
DeStefano worked over the years to convince many of the mining suppliers to diversify and to realize the importance of serving larger markets and more companies than existed in the greater Sudbury area.
MORE ON THE SAMSSA SUCCESS STORY WILL BE FEATURED IN THE DECEMBER ISSUE of SMSJ.