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Creating Value Through Product Knowledge and Supplier Relationships With Danny Medina

Steve Waller

Danny Medina is the Director of Manufacturing at Seizmic, Inc, where they specialize in providing solutions for the material handling industry. He is a 42-year veteran of the material handling industry and has held positions with system integrators and manufacturers. For the last couple of decades, Danny has been focusing on engineering with Structural Support Systems Inc. The company fabricates specially engineered products like conveyor supports, equipment platforms, catwalks, stairs, wall-mounted empty pallet shelves, and storage racks. They also prepare components and various custom products for use in the material handling industry.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Danny Medina joined the material handling industry

  • Danny's tips for adding value to products that will beat competitors

  • The use of storage platforms to optimize warehouse space

  • How the speed of permit approvals has evolved over the years

  • What makes Nancy Fateen a great leader?

  • How Danny transitioned from Rack & Roll

  • Danny's mentors, hobbies, and software recommendations

In this episode…

How can you add value to your products to meet customer demands? What strategies can you use to gain a competitive advantage in your industry?

To be an expert in the material handling industry, you have to understand your customers' needs and create products that will satisfy those needs. Value addition also requires building good relationships with clients and suppliers. Danny Medina, an expert with 42 years of experience in the material handling industry, knows the value of nurturing quality partnerships. He encourages companies to invest in efficient communication systems, learn from their mistakes, and adapt to changes in the industry.

In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson interviews Danny Medina, the Director of Manufacturing at Seizmic, Inc., about creating value through product knowledge. They also discuss tips for adding value to products, optimizing space with storage platforms, and the value of nurturing supplier relationships.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.

So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs Rack, Shelving, Carts, Conveyors, or Mezzanines, we help engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations.

Sometimes people don’t even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services.

We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.

To learn more, visit or give us a call at (707) 732-3892. One of the best ways to learn more about our products and services is to follow us on Instagram. And there’s a link on our website to do that.

I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners, so email me at if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:16

Mark Hiddleson here, host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing, logistics, and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce today's guest, Danny Medina, this episode is brought to you by Specialized storage Solutions. Listen, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. And I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs racks, shelving cards, conveyors, or mezzanines, we help with the design engineering installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. With Dan here, you're not gonna believe this. Sometimes, people don't even realize we can actually help with the permit acquisition services. We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain to develop the resources for continually improving your operation. To learn more, visit us at Give us a call at 707-732-3892 and I even give my personal email for podcast listeners is

So I got to give a big shout out to Nancy and Sal Fateen. Danny works with them at Structural Systems Inc. and Seizmic Inc., and they've both been on the podcast before so be sure to check out those episodes. But joining us today is Danny Medina. Danny is a 42-year veteran of the material handling industry. He's held positions with systems integrators, manufacturers, and for the last couple decades he's been involved in the engineering and working with structural support Systems Inc, one of our top suppliers. They provide the fabrication of special engineered products such as conveyor supports equipment platforms, catwalks, stairs, wall mounted empty pallet shelves, storage rack, prepare components and a multitude of custom products for use in the material handling industry. Danny, welcome to The Tao of Pizza.

Danny Medina 2:18

Well, thank you, Mark, it's an honor privilege to be with you. Thanks for asking.

Mark Hiddleson 2:22

Yeah, I've been looking forward to this because you, you were one of my mentors, I get excited because I remember back when I was first brand new in this industry, and it's an industry where you kind of have to know what you're doing to sell something. I didn't know what I was doing. So you took me under your wing and working for a manufacturer back then you're with rock and roll. And remember the one I asked you in the pre interview questions. He said, I don't know where we met. It's just been that long. So thank you for all the tutelage in the in the early years.

Danny Medina 3:00

Well, it's my privilege to do that, you know, I can only keep what I have by giving it away, right. So I've been taught and I need to teach those.

Mark Hiddleson 3:07

Yeah, and I'm going to ask you more about that. But I really one of the things I'm curious about is this industry is kind of unique in that a lot of people, at least a lot of people I know have long careers. And they all have different stories of how they got into it. So how did you get into to this industry?

Danny Medina 3:25

Well, I was just getting out of the service, the Navy as a matter of fact. And I went through the paper and I saw an ad for an administrative or excuse me some type of job that had something to do with Office. And I applied for a company called you Narco. And they set me up with an interview. And that's where I started. So it was just by happenstance, I mean, I needed a job and I fit the bill and, and it was going to be someone who just started entering projects. You know, just the small things that we do. And so that's where I started. Early on, there was a gentleman whose name's mikogo name. I'll drop some names from time to time, I guess. Yeah, that's okay. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 4:13

Did you say my my Kobe

Danny Medina 4:14

worked with him today? Still, he's here with us. Yeah. In this company. Yeah, no. So in those days, we didn't have the computers right. And he was on a drafting board with an arm and he was his little old office there with Mr. Mike welt. And I would see him drawing these things. And I saw driving system and I got hooked on this this thing called material handling the way he was doing it and the way it got put together, and all those things so that's how I got introduced to material handling. Nice

Mark Hiddleson 4:49

and it was the driving so that was your big hook with me. You taught me it was I got hooked on driving and yeah, driving racks there in The cold storage, which I'm in the California Central Valley, it's such a great way for freezer storage, because I got a lot of pallets under the same kind of stuff. And you taught me the ins and outs of it. And it's one of the advantages we have, because a lot of people that sell those systems that don't have the kind of knowledge that, you know, they just get a call from from you guys, and don't really ask what's going on. And what's funny, I was gonna I was gonna bring this up in the early days. So in the early days, you will rack and roll. And that was kind of cool, too, because there were other manufacturers back then it was, they've all changed over the year in 25 years, but it used to be Anderson and lm t. And I would kind of be in competitive quotes. And you know, the salesman salesman in me would love to tell my customer, we'll, we're getting your stuff from Rack and Roll. Right? It's like, yeah, we want the rock and roll. You know, Anderson, must sounds nice and nail and T stands for Low metal tech. But everybody wants to rock and roll. So how did it go from you Narco to rock and roll? Well, just

Danny Medina 6:07

be kind of quick about it. Because I did spend some time I think seven to eight years with you, Narco. There was a back in those days. And again, I'll refer to those because the industry has changed since there were some dedicated distributor ships that manufacturers had. And that time you Narco had a distributor called me Canfield company, which is a direct competitor of Raymond, and a few others out there. And that's where I actually met Sal. And art Canfield, my mentors. And so while I was there as the Allied material having person, they hired me away actually from Yorkville. And so that's when I got involved with Mike, the mike bacon, who owned rock and roll, he would solicit his business to us of being a distributor, we were able to tap into various manufacturers. And so that's where I got acquainted with him. Then I got hired from him. After I left me Canfield company. And so I started there, he was in Sun Valley is where we were. And I think that's where I had met you. So it was very nice to be able to know his product line, it was pallet rack, and which was well versed in and representing him as a manufacturer in a small facility, based on trying to get into the market of what you just described, the Anderson's lmts, back then salmons was another one. So that's where we came in. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 7:42

And so rock and roll. We were rocking and rolling. We did a few projects there. And I don't know if you remember, we did a terrible tug project for that little trailers that hooked to each other. Yes. I became an expert in those and you need be, it's so surprising, you think they're all They're just a little carts and you just pull them around. But it's hard sometimes to get an apples to apples comparison on that. And we could get a call from one manufacturer, you know, it'd be $1,500 A cart, and you get another one will be $800 A cart and then we look at and go Well, these guys are using better casters, they're using a different ternion that using a different system, even just the way they clamped and locked together. And that was one of the things you helped me do when you're selling like this, you really have to be careful apples, apples and a lot of customers. You know, hopefully they'll give you that opportunity to look at, you know, if if your quotes way off if you're way high, and you don't want to be way low either. Right? So how did you learn that? How did you learn that skill?

Danny Medina 8:41

Well, the fundamentals I was taught in early beginning, and that came from the art Canfield, the salsa teams, the men Ward's the Ron mycoses, all of those gentlemen. They had it was foundational, when you came into this industry, specifically going to let's say me Canfield company, where it really began, you were expected to have a working knowledge of what it is you're selling. So you can bring the value added that you just discussed or spoke about. And you know, it's funny, because that transitions through all those years to where I'm at today, even here with Sal and seismic and Nancy. It's value added. It's those little things that you talked about, that only time can tell. So when we're learning and taught these things, they just ingrained a menu, right. So you always want to have that as a foundation no matter what you do, especially in our industry. You know, when you're competing against people that come with a different design or something, why is ours better? What makes us and sets us apart from the competitor? That's what you do, and you excel at it. And that's what we do here still. So it's fundamental, it's taught it was taught to me at a very young age and it just continued to grow on that. So as I bring that into whatever I do, it's it's up It's natural. It's a natural thing now.

Mark Hiddleson 10:03

And now you're starting to, this is awesome, too. You're starting to train some of our people like, Nick, you have Nick levy does our drawings. And he's learned he's been doing drawings and stuff and kind of, he does a lot of stuff we need to give to you, I used to send it on the back of a cocktail napkin. And he would deal with it. Now, I send the cocktail napkin to Nick and then Nick sends it to you, and what you've trained them and Cody haven't had luck with Cody. But Cody works for us. He's a project manager, and we just built that platform, and you're turning my guys on the same thing. So thank you for that, too. So is that? Are we just the lucky? The lucky ones in the bunch? Or, you know, or is that that's how you've approached your careers is to

Danny Medina 10:50

I was very fortunate to come in at an age when there wasn't as big as it is now you couldn't go online and buy what we need you to do, you actually had to take time to study something and offer an alternative that sets you apart from your competitors. And that's something that I was very fortunate coming into at the time I did. I mean, let's let's face it, I didn't get this grade by just you know, osmosis, right? I was in when he had to do blueprints through a machine with ammonia to create these. Now, it's all done by AutoCAD. I was blessed with the fact that the gentleman that I talked about Sal and art, and all of those took the time to teach me and made sure that I had an understanding before I was set out there. Because that's that's something that's lost, right? In my opinion. So it's up to me to help to teach those that are willing to learn, I do have a lot to offer, I think in that regard. So, you know, I just came in at the right time. And you know, thank people like yourself, who allow me to express this and get it out. You know, I appreciate that as well.

Mark Hiddleson 11:58

Yeah, it's been a lot of fun. And it's all you know, it's the relationships that we have, like these don't always go smooth and every project Contrary to popular belief. And so you and I have had some homeruns in that a lot of what I learned was on the mistakes, you know, and I'm talking those mistakes happened 2324 years ago, and then even had customers where we finished the project. And we kind of lost the customer for a while. But I followed up. And because of the mistakes that we had made, I knew kind of where the pitfalls are. That's one of the things I've experienced. You ever find anything, but you get you get good at solving. Sorry. And so you help me with that party when something does go wrong. Okay, let's sit down. Let's regroup. What are options are the resort who can we call? Can we call Sal? Right? We all we can't call Mike is anymore. And I'm glad you brought that up. He was a huge mentor for me. You know, you really helped him become a great sales rep. And Mike is kind of took me to a different level of thinking of thinking more like an owner. Right? He told me what I need to do is grow pair of balls. I thought I already had but I guess I was wrong.

Danny Medina 13:16

When when you're in those rounds with him and who he hung out with Yeah, you needed to be you're definitely in the realm of what we'll call the rack kind of material handling. They were the men, right? Yeah, you have to be men.

Mark Hiddleson 13:27

And so he just taught me a lot about you know, getting bigger projects, we've got partnership a lot with him, we partnered on bigger projects that I thought were kind of big, too big for me to handle at the time. And then you know, working with him over the time, I was able to kind of take it over and do myself so I'm always looking for those opportunities to give back to just in because of people like you that you know, Danny helped me Sal helped me wrong helped me so I'm always looking luckily, we have some younger guys coming up in our company, like Nick and Cody and Drake and you've got a new guy Spencer you don't know yet but he's going to be learning the 2424 hour prelim program. We're ramping everything up the platforms I wanted to talk a little bit about I don't want to get too much into the prize but we got it we have a fun one that we're doing. I know you have a little platform on your shirt too. And your your logo is really similar ours. We're building these storage platforms. And mezzanine is like some people call it looks like a kind of like a tree house, but you can really optimize your storage with those and they're not the easiest to permit. But say something about, you know how we kind of have an advantage of because we did have issues come up right? And it seems like a lot of building departments they saw about their plans to get checked in in our industry because it's seismic engineering. Very few building departments do it in house. And when they send it out, it seems like the outside consultants almost have to say something about the design after responding. So

Danny Medina 14:59

right Well, you know, what's key I think is like here. We have a reputation that's been built over many years of doing this, both from nastiness the middle service side with the permits direct, and Sal being who he is just being licensed, and just so well versed in everything. answering the questions is key. It just is when they ask you a question, they'll have it very direct, they'll point out a section and to take the time and answer the question not just be so vague. Sal, number one is huge on that we need to answer the question, because we don't want to keep coming back over and over again. There are subtle differences between what's called a platform and a mezzanine. I'm sure you've, you've heard about those once tying into the building the others within the building. It's subtle, we hear it at structural ports, and seismic we love to refer to them as platforms for that reason. And if Sal on his previous podcast, if you talked about that, or Nancy, both well versus either one, it was explained that and it's very subtle, but it makes a huge difference. So we want to make sure that we have the knowledge of how these questions come about in the first place. And what are they really asking? Because a lot of times what we'll find out is and no, not to despair, anyone, you'll have what we call book engineers, right? They come directly out, they're hired at the building. And so they're looking at something that they've never really even been able to see, let alone install, where we come in, you know, we have not only the working knowledge of how to make these, but we have the fundamental the application of why it's used. So knowing the product, knowing the things that are going to come up is helpful. You know, why do you need the staff to be X or the footplate? How can you get away with no wrong choice of words? How can we reuse or restate something that's going to get us the permit that we need? Is it really what they're asking for that, that this has to fit in this little small wages? Or? Or can we look at a different code section and, and, and offer an alternative? So those are the things that are key for us. And we're really good at it. We excel at it. And as we just recently did a project with you, you know that to be the case, we were able to look at something and say, Well, don't look at it this way, this code we want to use over here. They agree with us, and we were successful at that. So that's key knowing what you're doing.

Mark Hiddleson 17:26

Yeah. And we actually in that one, we had to undo a little bit because they did call it a mezzanine. And I do want to say that again. Because you know, and that's what people just in the popular vernacular the way people say they say mezzanine. Everybody knows what you're talking about when you say pre engineered store storage platform. Seems like something else, like not all one of those I want a mezzanine. Right? Well, it's the same thing. But legally, it's it's a it's not a mezzanine, because mezzanine has a bunch of different meanings to it all from the building code perspective. So we actually went in, and we got our permit. Much faster. I think it took them like six months to get it approved that way. I don't think we got ours approved in. I wasn't happy about it. But it was like two months, right? It's too long. And it's just like the microwave, right? Like it used to take a half hour to cook your food. Now it's 90 seconds in the microwave, and you're still gonna look at come on these cattle, right?

Danny Medina 18:26

So it was muddy, you don't want to get up and running. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 18:29

and what you talked about the plans being blueprints, even when I got in in 97. So CAD had taken off in other industries. And so our industry has been it's kind of it's I wouldn't say it's behind now it's kind of ahead of the curve, but it was always kind of the last to get into it. So CAD drawing wasn't even, you know, in the 90s, we were still doing a lot of stuff by hand. A lot of the projects we did, we did I do sometimes I use a ruler, sometimes I didn't think in drafting in high school, and I kind of like you know, sitting down and doing the sketch. But looking at how much faster things are now that you can just, I mean, you see, are we getting all the efficiencies on that? Sometimes I think I know I used to carry blueprints around in my arm like this, and go in. Sometimes even cut out with paper and put it on like this is what we're doing. And then mail it like FedEx. If so then you're not going to get it till the next day, then you're not going to work on it till the next day. So have you seen it really speed up as far as what we can get done?

Danny Medina 19:39

In a day? Yeah, it really has. I mean, it's been I've observed this and Nancy has been key at doing this to be honest with you because she's she was so entwined with some mental services and permitting right. What's COVID hit? What we found was a lot of building apartments didn't want to have you come in person to do it. We just discussed right now. So what we saw was a whole new dynamic taking shape where everybody had to do it, signing and submitting them electronically. So change, which nobody likes to do. That's one factor that has changed and continues to this day, which has sped up the process where no, and we go drop them off, and then they enter them in now, it's like it's in. So just that in and of itself has sped up the process. And then everything's being done electronically now. Emails and coming back and forth. And so it has sped up, I'd say at least 30%, if I had to put a number on it, of what we normally are used to doing. So. And that's that was by an accident, I guess, you know, or fate, whatever you want to call it. But it seems the way that things are going, you know, and for old people like myself, change is always hard. Now, youngsters are able to adapt to it maybe a lot better than I can. With the exception of Sal. I mean, honestly, he knows everything about electronics. He's all about that. So it's helped the industry a lot. And the ability to change a drawing through AutoCAD is so much faster now. I can pop up one right now and change a dimension while we're speaking. We can make the changes on the fly without having to go back to the board and doing an eraser and then it's so it's so much better

Mark Hiddleson 21:21

than not coming. It always takes me so long to get the answers. I want to set you up for that.

Danny Medina 21:29

You did you did? You know what? Let me say this? I'll answer it this way. Because when we give you the answer, it's the right answer. And it took a little time to get all the right information. Now

Mark Hiddleson 21:39

you're absolutely right. I was just giving you a hard time on that. And I hope I make sure Nick hears that part too. Because he and I, you know, a lot of times it has to go back and forth a couple times I want it right when we send it to you, you know, and that's one of the things for us that we've gotten wave and none other than the last five years just on communication on us making sure before we send it to seismic or structurals, even structural systems where we have a design where there was the platform, you know, like this is what we want to build, make sure we have the right details that we're looking at the right thing, because we think it's not rocket science. But on that one, it had to fit perfectly. So if it was off by three inches on the base width of the base plate, that three inches had to be trimmed off. Right. Not saying that that actually happened. Right?

Danny Medina 22:27

I actually did not I did it. And those companies such as ourselves that are capable of thinking on the fly and coming up with the fix, like right now, that's that's relationship building, you know that. And not only that, for us to know that your client as well. The ability to change on the fly, make it work is something that we strive at, unlike anybody else. I mean, it's one of the things we do here.

Mark Hiddleson 22:52

Yeah, yeah. Because you have so many options, so many people like heads you can get together. And you mentioned NASA a few times I was gonna ask you at the end, but I was going to I was Nancy's one of my best friend. I've known her. I think she started submittal services in 2005 was the same thing. The same year, I started specialized storage solutions. We have a personal friendship, but I admire her as a as a business woman. But she's elite like, do you work for Nancy? Right? Well, I think I work for Nancy. We, we were helping her set up for an event one time my wife was helping her and I'm like, well, the LP said, Yep, she's a Nancy's walking around. And she's got a list. It was a tale like how to set the table. She's got a floor plan. She's got a list, she's learned black boots up the air, and she charged and making things happen. So you've been there for a long time. So what the culture must be fantastic there. So what what is it like I know she's tough. But what makes her a good

Danny Medina 23:55

leader? She's firm. She's, you know, I've known her I went to her for your birthday party, just to be exact, right? And I remember, I remember it well. And to see her grow into this position she was it's in her genes. Number one, let's just get that out of the way. You know, and, and I have seen her come from this place to being the president of this, this company, and it's well deserved. She knows what she's doing. She's has the ability to learn, learn quickly, speak clearly, and give you a clear direction, which is fundamental for anybody. It's an honor to work for someone who has that characteristic. One thing I do want to go back to what you said about her walking around with the list and everything else. I I must say on top of that one of the most gracious hosts, you'll never see. I mean, sometimes I go to those functions that I I just look and observe from her mom to sell to her and her sister. They're such gracious hosts in any of that and And you're right. She can be. I don't want to say hard but hard week. No,

Mark Hiddleson 25:05

no, no, if I like, yeah, it's

Danny Medina 25:08

he will definitely make it known what is expected and expects that of you very fair. So it's a blessing I get to work with her.

Mark Hiddleson 25:16

Yeah, yeah. I've always been impressed with Nancy. I like working with her. And it's just fun when you have people like that, and they care enough. And I'm looking at our second generation, it's not always like that in businesses, and I have my kids coming up in the business. That's another reason why I see because I want that kind of energy, you know, that kind of leadership. And it's not not everybody. Not everybody has it. And she's gifted. And you're right. There's a gracious side. And I guess that's what makes it awesome. But that doesn't

Danny Medina 25:51

sign it. And the other thing that makes it a pleasure, she understands situations is able to think clearly and quickly. Doesn't make a lot of new jerky decisions, which is very helpful. Great listener. And he's a lot like Sal.

Mark Hiddleson 26:11

And she's built a great team to it's one one of the hard things for me. And it's kind of the same with you. Like, I always pick up the phone and call you even if it's not your job. It's like, well, I'm gonna call Danny about because the big company, there's like 100 employees or 60 employees or something. And even when Nancy was in 2005, t says he wasn't the president, I called her for stuff with that I needed to get done. Because I knew she was that kind of person that even if it wasn't her job, she could get it done or give me the inside track on who what was the best way to approach it. So now, I don't think we've ever haven't had to ask for help on anything all these years, right? Because he's got a great team. And you and I are taking care of stuff. So finally, I told Nancy one time, like I call I only call her if I need something. We know that it's like I'm a bad friend, a good client, you know, because you don't want people calling you all the time. We'll see if they don't need anything, right? I mean, what's kind of nice, just to say hi, but we're busy, right?

Danny Medina 27:11

Yeah. We'll see when you get to be on the A list. Yeah, speak. You're allowed to do those kinds of things.

Mark Hiddleson 27:18

Yeah. Now I joke around like caller just to say like, Hey, I just want to check in I'll just say hi. She's always waiting, like, okay, in what do you need? What's the big ask you for that? So now, that's cool. That's awesome. And you've helped us build our team. Your team's getting stronger. It's, it's a good partnership.

Danny Medina 27:40

So when we've taken time to build and thank you for that. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 27:44

Thank you. Thank you. You've already mentioned some, some mentors. And I wanted to ask you how, what was the transition, so rock and roll got bought out, which was that's what I was starting to talk about. I was rock and roll. I was really pushing the rock and roll. And actually, I want to look and see if anyone owns that name. Right. That's a good one. What they got bought out Hannibal material handling ended up buying out. Rock and roll and Anderson and starting up with California don't even think they were in the rack business. Right.

Danny Medina 28:21

So go there to company.

Mark Hiddleson 28:23

So what happened? What was the transition when they bought that out? You stayed with you were there was quite a while we've a lot of the projects we did were when he were with Hannibal.

Danny Medina 28:31

So Right. That was an interesting dynamic. It was a tube company. And for those who are familiar with the name, rich Lydell, or Rick Kincaid, they were in the shelving manufacturing. And they were brought on board for to Hannibal as well. And so they had strong manufacturing traits and material handling were the Hannibal Tubi did not. So they did right by getting them together. They bought rock and roll. They moved us over to their facility, or by their tubing. I think it was in commerce. And we have the small little facility there. And we started building the name of Hannibal. I came in because of my knowledge of RAC. And so they gave me the title of engineering. I was setting up the engineering department at that time and design. So we actually set up a nice it'll be brought over the roll formers. They started that whole process. It was a small operation, and it grew and grew. Steve Rogers was the head of that he came over from the tube side and learned a lot about the industry. So hats off to him. We also got a gentleman by the name of what's his name? Steve, Gary, Steve Harris. He also used to come to my office at at Rock and Roll he was a crowd lift guy, right forklift. I even discussed material handling. So it was like an integration of a whole lot of things. There was a learning curve of how do you meld the tube side with manufacturing, and actually turned out to be a good fit because you roll form tubes you slip, you get the coils. And we had that side on the manufacturing side and gave us a somewhat of an advantage to our competitors, because of the amount of steel coils that were purchased from the tube side. And do the you had a willingness of people to help we actually had a gentleman by the name of the D use tool and dye guy so we had our own tool and dye setup. If something went down, we just had him fix it. He designed certain things and, and we were off and running. So if I recall correctly. We took a number of things and we put it all together and it worked. And then we had landed the Home Depot account, which was excellent for us. And so we were off and running. So once in a while if I want to know where I come from, I go there and and I see Home Depot and there's that rack. And to this day, it's awesome. Yeah. Yeah, that

Mark Hiddleson 31:13

was a big so Hannibal went from you know, buying rock and roll and Anderson which Anderson was was decent in Northern California, but I was Hannibal is probably the biggest in California. Now aren't that I would think are we?

Danny Medina 31:28

I would think so McDonald's an aggressive move. I mean, it took at that time, maybe about seven, eight years. I don't quote me on that. But that's when we started buying Anderson. We know we needed to expand if we wanted to really compete in this market. And that's what they did. And they they remained aggressive. I mean, Hannibal actually went into if you recall Inka in Texas, they bought them and then they went into the Midwest even so they got really large and do really well for themselves and it really started from small beginnings and you know with hard work and dedication they built an empire I'd say

Mark Hiddleson 32:06

yeah, yeah animal is they're the ones to beat here and we just toured the space rec facility in Lodi. We leave we use them quite a bit because it's close to the valley here. And that was that was a fun tour. I can't think of the last name but the guy's name was Wes he used to run the Interlake plant. Okay, was in Lodi so there's another guy this business key once you get in this business like the Hotel California

Danny Medina 32:36

you will never get out because he even went

Mark Hiddleson 32:39

so that Interlake plant shut down kind of when I got in the business like late 90s The one up here and he went into building steel buildings or something like that but when Heartland steel products bought out the Lodi facility he they asked him to come back and run it so he's back in the business great tour a great facility they make a great product it's it's interesting over the years, the paint, you guys powder coat everything right? We do. And then that makes a difference. I remember the Andersen the old days Anderson, the paint would still be drying on the rack. And it wasn't that good. I think they have almost immediately shut that plant down. When they bought it. They did a quick ship out of there or something but they didn't

Danny Medina 33:26

use it didn't stay too long now.

Mark Hiddleson 33:30

But this space rack has a they still LMT was always famous for their paint job and for us, and we sell a lot of use material t so a lot of my customers that's like it's racking, they don't care about a job. But I have other clients like this one we did with a platform that's beautiful. By the way, it's the same color I'll post some pictures of it on the on the notes of this so people kind of know it's the real thing of the version of what's on the logo of your shirt. Right there paint line and so but when a customer does care about paint they care

Danny Medina 34:01

right? I mean, of course it tells us it shows them that you care about them. Yeah you know fundamentally mark you know as well as I do that this is all about building relationships and and partnerships with those who purchase from us and and as being an extension of you knowing that you know what we sell you you're going to be proud that you sold and so that's just something that is is main point for us here you know that's that's what sells mandates us you will take care of our clients, you will put something out there that you're proud of and and the look and aesthetics is one of those things that we are very in tune with. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 34:42

that's that's a good point. I want to ask you Are there any more mentors that you wanted to mention you mentioned Ron and so the guys that add me Canfield or Canfield was me Kansas seems like everybody came from me can fit

Danny Medina 34:59

you There was a reason for that. Yeah, load

Mark Hiddleson 35:01

American warehouse is from me Camfield a Monica think of a lot of the imechanica was the start of something.

Danny Medina 35:11

To answer your questions, the ones that I've been fortunate to stay in long term like four years here with Sol 10, with with an arco and, and there was also Hannibal, there was no tenure run there. I did some with rock and roll. You speak about mentors, the ones that stick out on the lines, the ones that I had mentioned, to be honest with you, the ones that are really going to stick with you and they've been through thick and thin with me, you know, as, as I've grown from from a youngster trials and errors of life in general, I know that I'm able to go and talk to any one of those gentlemen that are still here with me, which we peace out. If I had to mention some others that it'd be gosh, there's so many my head just got flooded with them. I can see their faces, right. Or there's a lot of them.

Mark Hiddleson 36:08

What about other dealers that you've worked with? Like, you know, other people might competitors or potential competitors are in this business. A lot of we haven't worked. We saw a lot of wholesale projects, too.

Danny Medina 36:19

So I really cut my teeth with advanced storage systems in their in their pushback. So I really cut there I was with them for a little bit. So that's where I learned that. Then I also got involved with a company called Rapid rack, which did the show me the boldest shelving. We were getting editors from Western Pacific at that time. And I cut my teeth on those. So that's where I first learned about catwalk shelving.

Mark Hiddleson 36:48

Jim the guy there was it's Randy. It was Randy, Randy Taylor, Randy Taylor and Jim law, right?

Danny Medina 36:55

Yes. Jim long came from salmons. Right when when I was at rapid we bought salmons because we wanted to expand the rack. Jim lawncare from salmons Randy Taylor came from Western Pacific I believe. And we merged all that together. So even before that, Mason Nava injure, would be a mentor. He was an old man in the shelving, and she was, you know, do you do it this way, this is the way you're going to do it. But Mason Nava injure would have been a mentor of mine. I've been fortunate that these guys have helped me become the man I am today as well, not just in material handling. But they took an interest in my personal well being. And even if I tripped and fell, they didn't harm against me and knew would help me grow and get out of it. So the gentleman that I spoke of earlier, the sales, the bronze award. Tony Gonzalez, who's no longer with us, was a mentor. as rough as he was, it was rough,

Mark Hiddleson 37:57

because he ran the operation side of oh, he ran digital system, right. And they're all Yeah, well, that's because your stuff was always on time, though. Right? It was never any a lot of times, like you've got a project a date or anything. It could be off a few days. Do you guys were always on it?

Danny Medina 38:12

Right? Yeah, we didn't have a choice. We still don't have a choice. And if we're going to be late, I've got to make sure I tell you ample time so you can prepare.

Mark Hiddleson 38:19

Yeah, yeah. That's good stuff. So what we're getting pretty close to wrapping up. So I wanted to ask you, your hobbies, you know, you got to be able to still have a Harley Davidson.

Danny Medina 38:33

I've got to not to stop telling in a Dinah. Yeah, I ride. And I get that when therapy. And I was told that when my bikes were down, and it was like, couldn't ride that I could You could tell. I mean, I guess I would come in a little more antsy than normal. But it wasn't just a coffee, right. I wasn't able to write. So that's a hobby of mine. Definitely.

Mark Hiddleson 39:00

How long have you been? When did you get your first bike?

Danny Medina 39:03

I think I was like, legally, probably 18. Okay, but you know, well,

Mark Hiddleson 39:09

that's what my stepdad was over. And he was talking to my kids. And he was like, yeah, things used to be different. He's in his, he's almost 80. And he grew up in the Central Valley. And he said, he goes back then the cops knew everybody and my kids were like, well, what do you mean? He goes, Well, they knew you because they'd be chasing you on your motorcycle orchards. Right in they need cm downtown.

Danny Medina 39:38

You hear this all the time twice, you know, times have changed. We all know that. But that's an absolute truth. We we'd run down the railroad tracks our mini bikes going across the river because the cost of chases and just waves. Okay, get all we would.

Mark Hiddleson 39:51

Yeah, it was good, clean, fun. And as long as you you know, you weren't doing other stuff, which unfortunately, some of us did it but we don't have time. We're running out of time. I'll raise my hand on that one. Yeah. Yeah, me too. And there was something else he reminded me when when he said about the personal was, I was thinking about this morning because I knew we were meeting. A lot of times I remember when my from the time my daughter was born until she was about those who went to kindergarten. I always worked at home on Fridays, because my wife and I worked it out where she worked on all her work on Friday and Saturday, and I would take Friday's the work, I was still working with taking care of a baby. And I remember working with you during those days and schedule a lot of my calls or stuff that I was doing on Friday, because I'm like, well, Danny gets it a lot all the things like I was always kind of nervous about that, like customers judging me because I'm working from home because back then, you know, it was 90 it was 2000 and people weren't work from home wasn't. You know, I thought people were gonna judge me like, Oh, you're just in your pajamas working. And everybody used to work I've worked a lot on. So that was cool. I remember I was like, well, Danny gets a he knows that I'm working in if he hears a baby crying in the background, or I got to stop the conversation and change the diaper. It's like you got to do that's the important stuff, right? Yeah, that was one of the most proud things like I'm I'm a dad first, right? I'm a material handling salesman, but but a dad first. So

Danny Medina 41:25

we do this. So we can be that exact. It's so much bigger than than just a job. Yeah, it helps us do those things. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 41:34

I'm glad we just kind of bumped into each other a few that when you were with seismic and I didn't know. And man, I was excited when I found out. That's I got Nancy and Danny. So last question, what are your the have any apps like we're talking about, you know, doing drawings by hand and everything? And we've we've evolved with the new but is there any technology that you use that that's new that you just kind of found out or, you know, programs he'd like to use?

Danny Medina 42:09

AutoCAD, obviously, there's the 3d inventor, which we have here is proving itself to be a great feature. I've got to come on board with that a little more, I'm afraid, you know, what? It's an inventor. So 3d program of AutoCAD things and you can look at things and you know, me being old school, change doesn't come as easy as it should. But I'm working on that I'm a work in progress. That's not perfection. That's happening. And the, the new things that we're trying out are able to take cameras, three 360 views and have that measure and use that as a tool. So those are the things that are that are out here. And as it evolves, we're going to try to evolve with it so we can be current. Fortunately for us, the staff I have in my department, they're young, they're energetic, they're knowledgeable, this stuff can be a little intimidating. So they like the old guy, right? And they're going to do really, really well. So that's the new things in material handling itself is the robots that are coming on. Right, as as our industry has grown from from driving to push back to robotics. Now. If you remember back in the old days, guided wire systems we have all that's coming on board. So we're fortunate that we are partnered with some people with the robotic side of retrievals, that that's going to be a big thing. So you know, that's what I'm looking forward to to do.

Mark Hiddleson 43:42

Yeah, me too. Even in the automation side in the robotics, it's just the the safety equipment that has to go around it. I mean, a lot of those those are projects that's a completely interviewed mill Dino mill Tandy from wire crafters. I do. Yeah. So I have mill mill as a show to, you know, Mondays Mondays with mill, did you know that? You know that? I didn't know that. Yeah, when we were doing a wire crafters project and I I hadn't talked to him in probably 10 years. So I just kind of looked it up. And I Googled him, and it comes up that he's got every week they can they kind of convert to sales, meaning because he kept cracking jokes or doing different things. It was educational about their products. And so their marketing guy said, Hey, we're gonna start doing these Mondays with milk. And so about three once a week, but yeah, he's got a racehorse and but when I interviewed him, he said that when I hadn't even really thought of it, that's one of the reasons I'm doing these is I'm finding out what do I need to be looking for? Because that's something we can do. We're not doing the robots. I mean, we're a good resource for finding people who do that. But we will provide the barriers right or the safety protection the platform's are.

Danny Medina 44:50

So I'm going to piggyback on what you just said and I'll go back to the very beginning of of like, working with art Canfield. He would talk challenges worth four Left house is what you would say this as you go on a sales call to sell a forklift. What about the trash cab? What about this? What about that? So if you go and just selling a forklift, what else are you passing up? Especially a person in your position when you go out to sell a platform, or whatever it is you're going to do. There's something else that needs to be done. If you would tell me why never forget what time you said, that person needs a scale so he can weigh his stuff. You need to sell him a scale. I'm gonna Okay, let's do that. Yeah. So that that is the mentorship that I was in. So it's for you to say that now. You've got it. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 45:39

Well, this has been awesome. Danny, thank you so much. I know I've read to say this is your time off like he got off. So you're off the clock, man.

Danny Medina 45:47

You know, you, you.

Mark Hiddleson 45:48

You've been a great friend, great mentor, a great resource. I love working with you. You're top of the charts. Man. I've been looking forward to this. Thank you. Thank you for joining us today.

Danny Medina 46:02

Once again. It was an honor and a privilege. Thank you for asking.

Outro 46:06

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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