True Confessions: Why I Joined the MDNA

April 15, 2021 | Troy Clark

I’ve never been impressed by status. Growing up in Indiana there was no room for prestige or titles in farm country. You were known by your actions and your integrity. There were plenty of bragging rights, like – who could run down the back lane the fastest or solve the Rubik’s cube or take the trash out to the burn-barrel at night without getting scared. But school affiliations or titles after the name just didn’t impress much.

Fast-forward years later and I still didn’t feel the need for someone else to authorize my good name or give me bona fides so that others might trust me more. I built my business one contact at a time, one machine deal at a time from the basement of my row house in Baltimore in 2005. Each customer knew they could trust that what I said was what I would do. As I always tell my team – we don’t have to lie to win, the truth wins every time.

Enter Bob Nurko, whose company Easton Machinery has been a trusted fixture in the new and used machinery retail world in Eastern Pennsylvania for many years. I had called Bob to inquire on a machine he was advertising and he invited me to explore his trade association, the Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA). I thanked him politely and went on my way. I didn’t need a trade association. People knew me. I was okay.

A year later a good friend in the business, Matt Klein, with, invited me to join him for the bi-annual MDNA national meeting in Chicago during the next International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). If you’re like me – heading to Chicago every two years for the trade show is in the blood- I knew I’d be there and didn’t mind getting a free meal at the Drake Hotel. I had attended Matt’s wedding a few years before that. Did a few deals with him. We were both young in the business and we had connected. So I was glad to get the invite, hang with him and maybe make some new contacts.

What I got was so much more.

That night in the historic ballroom of the Drake Hotel I heard Bob Atherton speak. Bob was the founder of Raco Industrial and what I heard that evening spoke directly to me. Bob’s life was one devoted to service to ministries and needs around the world. His commitment to God and to others informed his life and drove his choices. I could get on board with this. As I heard him speak about his gratitude for the industry, how he had used his income to drill wells and provide water in under privileged countries, and as I saw the joy that lifestyle of service had brought him – it occurred to me that maybe I could live out my convictions of service and also be a machinery dealer. I saw an organization with which I would like to be affiliated.

Don’t get me wrong – not everyone has the same calling to non-profit service or to a particular house of worship. But the more I learned about the association, their by-laws, their structure, their accountability and their continuous investment in their members, the more I wanted to be a member.

Since joining I have learned of so many other like-minded business owners in the MDNA. They have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, served with the Shriners, some have founded charities in Haiti and hold regular fund-raisers so that they can fly food and supplies down there. Who are these people? They are just used machinery dealers following their heart of service and I am proud to be associated with them.

So - why did I join the MDNA? For the following reasons:

  • It has members who share my convictions of quality service, integrity and accountability
  • It is a NETWORKING group, which helps me grow personally and professionally
  • It has continuous education - Monthly webinars, business guidance, tutorials, team building, financial mechanisms
  • When 2020 hit, in the panic of Covid-19 everyone banded together, advice and support flowed
  • And I love the MDNA mission:
    • Bringing Opportunity, Education, And Integrity To Buyers And Sellers Of Used Machinery & Equipment Throughout the World

The above statement includes shop owners, plant managers. MDNA equips all who buy and sell.

And what did I get out of the MDNA?

  • Leadership opportunities at the local and national level
  • Brand recognition as my involvement grows and my network expands
  • Friendships that have grown over time with fellow members
  • Team-building: local chapter meetings, outings, tours, the bi-annual WEEKEND WITH THE PROS, networking, the annual convention.
  • Additional associations - I am now a Certified Appraiser with the Association of Machinery and Equipment Appraisers. (In fact, we have 3 appraisers on staff).
  • Increased business - opportunities to partner with other dealers and associated organizations
  • Knowledge and exposure to experts and partners in a wide range of industries from companies around the world!

Since joining in May, 2007 my business has grown and with it my appreciation of this great trade association.

To the person or company not yet a member I would pose these questions. An answer of “Yes” to any one of them may indicate that membership is for you:

  • Would you like to be on a path of continuous personal growth?
  • Would you like to expand your business?
  • Does increasing your income appeal to you?
  • Is it time to up your game, take on a fresh challenge, try something new?

I hope there was a “Yes” in that list. If so, that might just mean we’ll meet and do some business in the near future.

Interested? Click here.

Life is Better Together.