In Memoriam: Rod Serediak

Among the finalists for our 2012 Mobile Tool Distributor of the Year contest was Rodney Serediak, a Mac Tools distributor in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Unfortunately, Rod suffered a fatal heart attack before our winner was chosen, but we would like to tell you at least part of what we learned about him.

In 1994, Rod left his job as a mechanic at Sun Oil in Ft. McMurray and started selling tools from a 16’ step van. Success came quickly as he was named Rookie of the Year.

By the time we met with Rod at a tool show last year in Florida, he had achieved Mac Tools Platinum Elite status. Part of the reason for his success is his choice of location. Ft. McMurray is in the northeast corner of Alberta’s oil producing country, and Rod knew it’s a good place to be in the tool business. In fact, his customer base grew so large that he couldn’t serve them all from a truck, so he opened a storefront too.

Rod told us he opened the store because “It’s not how much I sell, it’s for my customers.” Many of them work on vehicles and machinery out in the oil fields far from town, places that Rod simply couldn’t reach often enough, if at all. According to Rod’s wife and business partner, Susan, customers would often call to order a tool and then ask Rod to wait for them to come pick it up. To Rod it just made sense to have a fixed location as well as the truck. Still, Sue says many nights they missed supper because they stayed so late waiting for a customer. But Rod’s goal was to be a first- and one-stop-shop for every customer’s tool needs, and Sue says he achieved that goal.

As committed as Rod was to serving his customers, Sue told us he was even more committed to his family and to children in the community. His favorite charity is a group called Kids Forever Foundation, an all-volunteer group in Fort McMurray whose mission is to aid children with catastrophic illness. The Foundation helps pay for travel and/or housing for their families, special medical equipment for the home and other forms of logistical support.

Last year Rod and Susan donated a rare, Chip Foose-customized pink Mac Tools toolbox for the auction that benefits the Foundation. The winner of the raffle has decided to raffle it again, assuring that Rod’s generosity will continue for at least a little longer.

Rod Serediak’s obituary appeared in the Edmonton Journal on December 8th, 2011. On the newspaper’s website, it was followed by four pages of comments. A comment from a friend on another website sums up all of them.

“Though it says he ran a business, all would agree he and Sue have done more than that ... they worked tirelessly to provide many with the opportunity to tool up and make a living in the great city of Fort McMurray. Thank you, Rodney, and may you rest in Peace.”