Nicholas Mione, 32, is owner of Desert Diamond Industries. A 24-year resident of Las Vegas Nevada, he has five years of experience in concrete cutting and two in construction and rough framing. In this lightly edited interview, he sat down with us to answer questions about his company, his products and his business philosophy.
Have you ever been injured by an abrasive blade?
Not an explosion (exploding blade). I’ve been cut by them, I’ve had my pants legs caught on fire, been burned by them pretty badly. I have scars on my ankles from those things. I’ve had eye injuries mainly as the number one aspect from the abrasive blades that I had – particulates in my eyes, from the flying particulates. And then – you know, I don’t even know, it could be from the concrete and a combination of the dust from the abrasive blades – but I noticed my breathing isn’t, like, the way it used to be after I got out of the concrete industry. It always feels like I’ve got something in my lungs.
Why did you start Desert Diamond Industries?
So I could take over the world!
No, but so I could take over the diamond blade industry. I was sick and tired being in the sales aspect of diamond blades and seeing the abuse to the clients, the lack of customer service, the lack of service in general, the lack of product quality and the lies – the misrepresentation and the just blatant customer abuse. Being on the other end of it, as a concrete cutter, seeing what these guys are sending out and experiencing the sales aspect as a cutter… it was just bad juju, bad juju. The blades break, they’re terrible quality, no performance warranties of any type. They give you performance warranties – supposedly a warranty against any type of manufacturer’s defects – but once the blade breaks, they find a way to make it so that it’s your problem, where it’s an operator error. So they make it out to be your problem where it really wasn’t; it’s a manufacturer’s defect, the blade’s broke.
But that’s just the way it is. It’s built-in obsolescence. Lee Iacocca created the built-in obsolescence standard for vehicles, and now it’s permeated through every electronic product and every component and pretty much every product that you can possibly purchase as a consumer, and I’m tired of it. I wanted to have a company that supplied products and built products that destroy the competition because we know what they’re doing. I wanted to provide a warranty that we know will stand up to any competitor and a product that will not just outperform but destroy our competition. We’re not happy with just being good. We want to be great. Dantotsu, it’s Japanese for “striving to be the best of the best.”
Okay, the Safety Blade and Safety Blade Grinder/Cutter. Why did you design those? Was there anything from your experience in the construction and demolition fields that you put into that specifically?
Yeah, the main aspect was the safety. To be able to provide a product that not only lasted longer but was the safest on the market was the ultimate goal, to eliminate the possibility of segment loss.
After doing research on the industry, finding out the injuries from segment loss in diamond blades and being in the industry, seeing people get hit with segments, talking to people that have been injured by blades… One of my guys that I worked with, one of the foremen with (name withheld) was hit with six segments from a broken blade. Six segments.
They weren’t able to remove all the segments because the pieces were broken and it looked like some of them had just nicked him. One went into his armpit – in your armpit, you have glands, I’m not sure if it’s the thyroid glands or whatever type of glands they are – but the metals were breaking down and poisoning him, toxicity levels in his body from the segment because they couldn’t find it. They did x-rays, they found that he was having sicknesses – sickness problems, nausea and dizziness – and they found out it was from toxicity levels from the segment that they found in his body.
So experiencing things like that and seeing what I saw out there with these guys and talking with these guys, it just put in a position to… It made me a market expert. Every other diamond blade company out there – the majority of them – has no practical application, no field experience.
Especially on the executive level or somewhere in the C-suite, none of those executives have any hands-on experience, true hands-on experience, where they worked as an employee in concrete cutting – working in the field, day in and day out, 10, 12, 15 hours a day, actually seeing what it’s like to be tired, you’re exhausted, you’re wet, you’re cold, blades aren’t working right, every possibility you can have with an instrument in the field. Most diamond blade manufacturers and owners of supply companies don’t know that aspect. They don’t have that aspect. Only a few of us do in this industry.
Do you have any kind of training or experience designing saw blades?
No training as far as designing saw blades, until we started Desert Diamond Industries. I had ideas from the concrete cutting field. What happened was I was able to start working with engineers and technicians to start creating the drafts necessary to start building blades. I think our first five blades, we’ve still got them. I’ve got samples of the first products that we had made and they were really pitiful. (laughs) Some of these guys, they made some really pitiful products. I’d like to put them on the Website, too: First Designs from Desert Diamond Industries. Man, they were rudimentary, like a guy cut them out with an angle grinder, cutting slots in the blade. It was, like, unbelievable.
It was just to see what kind of performance we would get, building it from there, just coming up with rough ideas, drafting. That was where we had our hands-on experience, and then through the years, talking with engineers, getting with manufacturers and the best of the best in the industry, learning what’s the most advantageous for certain aspects of performance and certain materials.
What are your future plans for Desert Diamond Industries? Do you have any products coming out soon?
Yes, there’s a lot of future plans. We don’t necessarily want to disclose those, of course, with the competition.
And yes, we do have new products coming out. The one product that we do have out right now, that
we have just completed designing and is in full manufacturing and production, is the Ring Saw Safety Blade. That’s our new baby. We’ve got some accessories that will be able to make saws in the industry more versatile, more applicable and less costly for the end user because, with the economy the way it is now, we need to be able to find less expensive alternatives to do the same work, safely. So we’re working on that. Our team of specialists is coming with ideas on the drawing board right now, and we’ll be able to hopefully turn out some pretty heavy duty products in the future that will capitalize and dominate in a couple of other fields and couple of other industries.
And then, yeah, expansion plans, trade shows, all the good stuff. We’re going to be hopefully hitting 10 to 15 trade shows this year and expanding into some larger facilities, more testing, larger testing, research and development facilities. But we don’t want to get into too much detail for the competition. We don’t want them to know.
Well, Mr. Mione, thank you very much.
That’s it? Well, that was quick!