SAMSSA Hall of Fame 2008 Winners – Robert S. Lipic and Don Rastall

SAMSSA Executive Director Dick DeStefano at their Annual MeetingThe SAMSSA Hall of Fame recognizes management leaders who have developed and provided mining advancing technologies and/or products and services that  have improved the efficiencies of mining globally and domestically and have built or assisted in building companies in Northern Ontario that have proven to be successful.

The leaders in the mining supply and service industry have proven that mining is only as efficient and productive as the quality of products and services provided from mining supply companies.  Over 400 Northern Ontario mining supply and service companies can boast of their historical influence in mining camps worldwide and their significant employment opportunities for skilled personnel making this sector larger in number than all direct mining and refining jobs in Northern Ontario. – Dick DeStefano: Executive Director.

Robert S. Lipic – President & CEO
Mining Technologies International Inc.

Bob Lipic has had an extensive career in the mining industry and is well known in international mining circles.  As President and CEO of Mining Technologies International (MTI), Bob Lipic has spent more than 30 years building, consolidating, expanding and adapting his company to the challenges of the mining industry.  This Canadian owned company was established in 1995 as a result of a merger of several companies, with names familiar to the mining industry: Drillex International of Canada, Continuous Mining Systems, LHD Equipment, John Clark Inc., Drillex U.S. Inc., CMS Pacific, and Drilco Australia PTY.

Robert S. Lipic - President and CEO of Mining Technologies International Inc.Although the company has not been immune to industry recessions, MTI’s push for innovation has allowed the company to prosper and compete in both domestic and international markets.

Mining Technologies International has established itself and an extremely diversified mining equipment supplier of products including: 

-Rotary drilling tools (for open pit mining)
-Raise boring tools (for ventilation raises, ore passes, access holes and shafts)
-In-the-hole drilling tools (for production drilling)
-Reverse circulation drill pipe (for mineral exploration)
-Capital equipment (underground loaders, trucks, drill jumbos, production drills, utility vehicles, rail-haulage systems, personnel carriers and shaft sinking equipment)
-Hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders

The company currently employs 300+ employees in the Sudbury and North Bay area.  The two plants located in Sudbury, Ontario manufacture capital and consumable equipment while the plant in North Bay manufactures hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders used extensively through the mining industry.  All three facilities are currently working at peak capacity.

Bob Lipic has been the recipient of several awards including Northern Ontario Business – Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006, Community Builders Award of Excellence – Economic Development in 2006, Northern Ontario Business – Company of the Year 51+ Employees in 1994 and Sudbury and District Chamber of Commerce – Business Excellence Award – Entrepreneur of Year 50+ Employees in 1998.  He has recently been nominated for the Premier’s Award for Ontario College Graduates.  Bob Lipic is currently on the Advisory Board Northern College, MIRARCO, and Centre for the Commercialization of Mining Technologies and Services.

Don Rastall

Don Rastall was born and raised in Huntsville, Ontairo. His father, Ernest was a business man operating a small garage and this is where Don first learned about good service, happy cusomters and a strong work ethic by working alongside his father after school and on Saturdays at the age of 11.

When Don was 17 his father suddenly passed away and Don was forced to seek and new job and was subsequently hired by Bell Telephone.

His first job at Bell was in the construction department and soon the company realized that Don was a better talker than a pole climber so he was transferred to the Sales Department. Although still quite young, Don was entrusted with a large territory from Huntsville to Fort Francis travelling that route for 3 ½ yrs. Part of his job requirements was to spend 10 wks. Every year in Marketing School sponsored by AT&T where he learned a great deal and still to this day practices certain techniques he learned from that time.

Don Rastall at the SAMSSA Annual MeetingDon eventually came to live in Sudbury  and met his wife Jackie Helpert in 1959 and then was married in 1960. They have two children Charles and Mari-Helen.

Don went to work for Helpert’s Supply which was owned an operated by his father-in-law Charlie Helpert and remained there for 15years where he worked as a salesperson.

The experiences that Don incurred allowed him to learn a lot about the Mining Industry as several of his accounts included that sector such as Dravo, MacIsaac Mining and Redpath.

He noticed at this time that Drill Doctors were modifying 12” adjustable wrenches so  they would open wider as requested by the Miners that used them.

This is when an idea was born. After much research and dedication Don then started his own business in 1975 with very little money but a vision that he could somehow take the idea of a modified adjustable wrench and make it happen and he did.

It wasn’t long before both Don and Jackie would package wrenches at home and send them all over Canada. Today, wrenches are manufactured overseas and are shipped throughout several countries including the U.S.  Europe,Australia, South America.

Don also saw a need for fasteners and eventually decided that he could supply top quality fasteners to the exisiting mines in Sudbury such as  Inco and Falconbridge and has expanded quickly to include servicing not only the mines, but the forestry and construction sectors as well both locally, nationally and internationally. Rastall Mine Supply Ltd. Is the largest fastenersupplier in the North and continues to be a pivotal asset to this community providing excellent product and unsurpassable service.

There have been many bumps along the road including a disasterous fire which burned Rastall Mine Supply Ltd. &Rastall Tool Corp. to the ground in July 2000 but with the perserverence of Don and his dedicated staff they were quickly able to secure a temporary warehouse and were back in business within 48 hrs.

Community is important to Don and he continues to make contributions to many great organizations including the United Way, North Eastern Onario Regional Cancer Centre the Regional Hospital just to name a few.

Many great friendships have been formed with other visionary business people in this community and together they have set a precedent in the way that business is done in this community and it is the men and women that will follow them that will benefit from there collaborative years of dedication and experience.