WBE Story – Paula Bass

Paula Bass is President and CEO of KBC Tools & Machinery. As a woman at the helm of a company in a traditionally male-dominated industry she is a force to be reckoned with as she navigates her 100% female-owned catalog house and distribution company providing cutting tools and machinery for the North American metalworking industry.

KBC Tools was founded in Detroit, MI in 1965 by Paula’s father and since then has grown to international status with three locations in Canada – Mississauga and Oldcastle in ON, and Delta, BC as well as Michigan, Illinois and California. Paula took over as President in 1993 and today the company has more than 600 suppliers and 20,000 clients. Paula certified KBC Tools with WBE Canada in 2016 after more and more buyers needed validation that KBC was indeed 100% woman owned, managed and controlled in order to be included in their Tier 1 and Tier 2 diversity spends, especially in the automotive industry.

Even seven years into certification, Paula admits they still look for new ways to use their certification but at the core is their ability to get a seat at the table and to have straightforward conversations with key decision makers. Certification brings recognition as a diverse supplier and validation to the negotiation process. And out of those conversations comes opportunity – not just contracts but discovering where KBC can grow, where their strengths are and where the gaps lay.

“All I ask is for a seat at the table to see if we are the right fit.”


Paula Bass
President of KBC Tools and Machinery.

Founded in Detroit, MI in 1965 by Paula’s father, KBC Tools is an international supplier of industrial metalworking tools and MRO needs. After joining the company in 1990, Paula took over as President in 1993 and currently heads up a team of 6 branch managers to fulfill the tooling and machinery needs of over 20,000 clients in the metal working and maintenance, repair, and operations industry throughout Canada and The U.S. Fueling her passion for art, Paula serves as Assistant Director of Lill Street Art Center in Chicago, Illinois, one of the oldest and most successful artist co-ops in Chicago. Paula has a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of illinois.. The single mother of identical twin daughters who are off to university in the Fall of 2023, Paula is happiest when engaging in creative problem solving with colleagues and clients to achieve greater efficiency, profitability, accuracy, team efforts and of course, fun.

Learn more about WBE Canada’s Canadian Women Brand here.

Are you a Canadian business that is 51% or more owned, managed and controlled by women interested in learning more about the benefits of becoming a certified diverse supplier? Find out more about WBE Certification!

Already Certified? Access updates, resources, training and more on the Toolbox.