Cult Iron Works Ltd.: A Proud Tradition of Comprehensive Metalwork

Alberto Ditta founded Cult Iron Works Ltd. (Cult) in 1975 armed with raw determination and a work ethic second to none. An Italian immigrant and blacksmith by trade, Ditta established himself in the Greater Toronto area as a specialist in miscellaneous metal fabrication. At the beginning Alberto was Cult’s only employee, but he applied his comprehensive understanding of the trade and slowly expanded the company’s horizons over the years, building its reputation on the cornerstones of competence, honesty and integrity.

Eventually, Alberto enlisted the help of his sons, initially Paul Ditta, followed by both Vito and Joseph, to lend a hand, and the family went on to grow Cult from a miscellaneous metals contracting and fabrication company into a fully loaded structural steel and miscellaneous metal fabrication company offering the highest quality and price-competitive product. The company is active as a fabricator and erector and provides design-build services to retrofit construction and new construction. The road to success, however, wasn’t without its harsh lessons. “Our old facility caught fire after being struck by lightning in August of 1995, so we’ve kind of seen it all,” states Paul, president of Cult. “It forced my father out of retirement and with his assistance and guidance, we started rebuilding the company.”

Fully rebuilt into a company that delivers the very best in service and craftsmanship, Cult currently maintains headquarters and two fabrication shops in Gormley, a town in the York Region of Ontario. The strategic location makes Cult a prime contender for major metal fabrication projects in the metropolitan Toronto area. The company has ventured as far away as Bermuda in the past, but on a regular basis Cult targets projects close enough to allow employees to make it home in time for dinner every night.

Cult remains a family-owned and -operated entity, with Alberto’s sons Paul, Vito and Joe Ditta involved in the company. Paul, Vito and Joe effectively grew up on the shop floor and gradually joined the company, although in Paul’s case the position was supposed to be temporary. “I thought I was just going to help my dad out for a few months after I finished university, but 32 years later and I’m still here full time,” says Paul.

Stronger Than Steel

Cult employs some 40 professionals in total, who proudly uphold the Cult values of hard work, dedication and determination, ensuring projects are completed with exacting attention to details and total concern for the long-term quality of the products. Cult provides the total package of structural steel and miscellaneous metals with teams for design, engineering, drafting, fabrication and erection all under one roof.

The company aims to keep as much of the work performed by its own talent as possible. “We find, and have found, that there are just certain controls that are very difficult to maintain when working with outside subcontractors,” adds Paul. “With our own staff there are no excuses; we know who is accountable and affords us the ability to maintain project schedules.”

Likewise, Cult expects the same transparency and clear communication from its own network of suppliers, many of which have been Cult’s primary contacts for decades. The long-term consistency ensures Cult can look to suppliers as a partner and viable resource when projects call for extra flexibility or urgency. “We have certain suppliers for whom there basically is no competition,” says Paul. “These suppliers stuck by us during the difficult times, and we feel that their support and loyalty has been instrumental in our success. These relationships are just as important as the relationships that we maintain with our clients.” Cult has looked to its supply chain partners to ensure that materials and supplies are competitively priced and delivered as promised to meet the requirement of the project schedules required by Cult’s clients.

The strength of these relationships came into play in recent years. “Due to our reputation and our relationships with our clients, the company has not seen much of a slowdown in the amount of work available during the recent recession,” states Paul. “We are grateful that we have been able to work with some of the best general contractors and developers in the Greater Toronto Area over the years and hope to continue to do so in the future.”

Safety First

Meanwhile, Cult has proactively invested in safety training initiatives to ensure its talented professionals remain prepared for whatever challenges lay ahead. Cult enlisted the help of Safety First Consulting, based out of Concord, Ontario, to supplement its health and safety training program. Safety First Consulting also provides a comprehensive due diligence program targeting everything from workplace inspections, joint health, safety meetings and assistance in complying with any industry regulations from the Ministry of Labour and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The extra training is just one reason why Cult has been able to make 2012 a successful and active year. According to Paul, Cult normally averages between 25 and 30 employees at any given time, but demand for the company’s services has recently pushed that number closer to roughly 40 steady employees. “We are fortunate to be involved with Menkes Developments in the construction of the new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences here in Toronto,” expands Paul. “Specifically, our miscellaneous metals team fabricated and installed the feature staircase for the dining area of the hotel.”

The project consists of two towers built in the fashionable Yorkville District of Toronto, with one tower for the hotel and residential suites and a second tower exclusively for luxury condominiums. Now completed, the development will replace the existing Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, which opened in 1971.

Cult has been successful in being awarded the contracts – through PCL Constructors Canada, one of its long-time clients – to supply and install the structural steel, for several of the new Target stores set to open in 2013. Target Corporation announced it would roll out a total of 24 new stores in Ontario alone in spring 2013, with 101 more stores opening across the country by the end of 2013, totaling 125 Canadian outposts.

As activity abounds, Cult continues to leverage the decades of industry experience and safety training its team provides to every project. With whatever the future brings, Cult Iron Works Ltd. and the Ditta family will work to ensure that the time-honoured traditions of quality, craftsmanship, loyalty, and customer service.