Made in Ontario: Patton Sales Corporation
Jon Novack first experienced the meaning of entrepreneurship when he would wait for his father to get off work from Patton Sales in the mid-1960s.He and his sister Paula would wait for the Sunkist Growers' trucks to drive into the Sunkist plant on the corner of California Street and Sultana Avenue in Ontario. As the fruit rolled off the trucks and onto the ground, the Novack kids would bag them up. Later, they would sell the fruits of their labor to their neighbors and friends at the family home in Ontario.Meet Jon Novack, an Ontario native and now successful businessman with a “Made in Ontario” story.
Today, Jon Novack is President and CEO of Patton Sales Corporation, a steel service center company that is headquartered in Ontario, and whose roots in the Inland Empire go back more than a century.Before the inception of Patton Sales Corporation, the family business began with the Alex Novack and Sons family scrap business in the 1900s. Alex Novack was a creative businessman who bought and sold scrap metals in and around the Inland Empire. The business was located on Milliken Avenue and Mission Boulevard in Ontario, and was a landmark business for many years in the region.In 1959, Jon’s father, Bud Novack, launched a new venture located across the street from the scrap business and called it Patton Sales, named after Patton Street where the business was located. Bud Novack sold usable metals out of the scrap piles at a greatly reduced price. He quickly expanded his product selection to include military surplus, secondary steel products and used office furniture.The company flourished and as it outgrew the facility, moved to its present Ontario location at 558 E. California Street.The family’s next generation entered the business in the mid-1970s, when Jacob Zeidman (Bud’s son-in law) and Jon Novack took the company to the next level. Pattons expanded its steel and office furniture facilities through acquisition and organic growth. Within a decade, Pattons had five office furniture facilities and six steel service centers in Southern California.Expanding in OntarioIn 2007, a national company acquired the office furniture portion of the Pattons business, thus allowing Novack and Zeidman the opportunity to solely focus on the expansion and development of the Steel and Industrial Tool Division of the company. In 2008, Pattons built a new 65,000 sq ft distribution facility in Ontario at 1095 E. California Street. The goal was to provide a large selection of carbon steel, aluminum and stainless steel to Pattons’ customers with a passionate drive for high customer service.Today, Patton’s Metal Working Solutions is a regional Steel Service Center with yard locations in Ontario, San Bernardino, Irwindale, Burbank, Palmdale, Hesperia and Bakersfield.“Ontario has a fantastic infrastructure to support companies like ours,” Novack said. “We have access to ports, rails and over the road transportation that support the buy-and-sell side of our business activities.”Supplying the needs of our customers requires immediate access to them through all channels of distribution.“We are a commodity business, so our competitive advantage is only our ability to provide exceptional service, fast delivery and clean material. We feel Ontario is uniquely geographically able to help us in this regard.”Patton’s products end up wherever steel is used. Steel fences and gates, fabricated steel for buildings, trailer manufacturers, store fixtures, off-road enthusiasts and home owners doing their own steel projects all use Patton’s steel in their products.Pride in Being a Patton’s Team MemberAs Novack walked round the 65,000 sq ft facility on Tuesday, he greeted each employee by name, a firm handshake and a warm smile.Today, his company employs 40 people in Ontario and nearly 120 employees in its eight divisions across Southern California.“The company is driven by the contribution of every person in this organization. Our shared commitment and values make this company great,” Novack said.That’s not to say that company growth was without sacrifice.In 2009, as the recession was its worst, Patton’s opened a Pipe Rolling Division that supplied large diameter rolled steel into infrastructure projects. In order to do this, Patton’s teamed up with the Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County to create a specialized job training program that was available to businesses in the County.With the County’s assistance, Patton’s was able to launch this new program and provide employment and business opportunity at critical time for this company.Today, Novack remains a staunch advocate for the Workforce Investment Programs as they provide training opportunities to a sector that has been neglected and bruised over the years in California.In this region alone, manufacturing has lost 250,000 jobs in the past 10 years. Novack believes that California jobs have migrated to other states and California has become a difficult and challenging place to build and manufacture products. Novack said that good jobs with good companies are the bedrock of long-term stability in the economy.“Companies have a social responsibility to provide their employees with full-time employment, career advancement and a ladder to reach the American dream,” Novack said. “State and local policy that encourages manufacturing, building and training of the work force is essential to rebuilding our region.”Reflecting on his time in Ontario as a resident and as an employer, Novack said that he is deeply appreciative of all the opportunities his company and family have been afforded while in Ontario. He is also grateful to the leadership at the City of Ontario and its commitment to being business friendly.“Our company has thrived for more than 50 years in Ontario,” Novack said, “and we look forward to many more years of success in the City.” To learn more about Pattons, click here.