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Mike Smith Marks 50 Years in Fastener Industry

Mike Smith Marks 50 Years in Fastener Industry
May 03
12:53 2021

In 1971 Smith left his native New Hampshire to take a sales job with Davis-McCormick Co. – a New York manufacturing rep agency. His initial pay was $81 per week.

David McCormick handed Smith an industrial directory and a Hagstrom map. Smith headed to the Bronx and found a place to park his Triumph Spitfire.

“Ignorance was bliss,” Smith looked back at his early sales calls. He’d have one sales appointment on the second floor of a Bronx building and on his way out would then approach the third and first floor companies.

In 1982 Smith opened his own rep agency out of a small apartment in New Jersey. His initial clients were Wrought Washer Manufacturing of Wisconsin, followed soon by Dayon Spring Manufacturing of Connecticut.

Since then, he has been a salesman on the road for 39 years.

Smith is proud of his sales profession. 

“I’m not selling snake oil or wonder drugs,” he explained. “I’m not just selling a piece of metal. I’m fixing problems.”

He also “has never sold on price” and has stuck to domestic suppliers.

Smith describes his way of doing business as “developing a relationship with another human being.”

So much so that for decades his social life has revolved around fastener friends. He called on Ben Robinson at Robinson Screw Corp. in Mt. Vernon, NY, then his son Mordi Robinson and now the third generation – Greg Robinson.

Smith cites a half dozen fastener people he considers “mentors, rabbis or professors.”

He considered Leo Coar to be a mentor until Coar “fired me as a mentee.” Back in Coar’s New Jersey days before Florida, “Leo said I had gone way beyond him.”

Smith’s social life includes “weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs” of his fastener “family.”

“They are my family,” the Irish Catholic Smith declared to

Beyond just fastener friendships, Mike and Chris Smith adopted two now adult daughters – Mollie and Emily. The second, Emily, was a “referral” through the woman-owned Hussle Screw distributorship.

The “invention” of the fax machine facilitated his first real vacation, Smith said. He could get questions and orders outside the office.

As a rep he was an active associate member of the Metropolitan Fastener Distributors Association. Board members spotted Smith’s enthusiasm and talent and changed the association’s rules to allow a rep to be program chair. That led to another MFDA rule change to let Smith become the 2003-04 MFDA president.

Today Smith relies on Dan Bielefield, who has 17 years with the agency and Chris Smith based in the office.

After six years with Smith Associates, Corey Magyar’s role skyrocketed in 2020 with his pandemic idea to create a “zoom trade show” to get manufacturers in front of customers. Smith was amazed at the online meetings they arranged. He said clients were surprised and delighted.

“This is just the beginning,” Smith said of the pandemic virtual meetings. Customers want Smith Associates’ to offer more of the videos it created during the pandemic. “Smith Associates will be using more and more technical skills,” he said.  What they developed during the pandemic will be “injected on steroids,” Smith predicted.

“It is the way our customers want to do business,” Smith explained. “This is just the beginning.”

The world has been changed by the cell phone and GPS, but Smith said there remains a value to “getting in front of the customer.”

“Changes are coming even faster,” Smith said of what is next for the fastener industry.

“I don’t know where 50 years went,” Smith reflected.

Smith Associates, P.O. Box 682, Hopatcong, NJ 07843-0682. Tel: 973 810-2900 Email: Web:

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