Fleckimet: Next generation ready to add more steel to family business
As a new set of graduates file out of university this month, we consider one engineering graduand whose career will unfold in the third generation of a metal fabrication firm
Samuel Fleck from Kells near Ballymena may be graduating from the University of Ulster this week, but he has already kickstarted his engineering career – as the next generation of management preparing to lead the business established by his grandfather George Fleck in the mid-1970s.
Fleckimet provides metal fabrication services to major companies across the UK and Europe. They specialise in metal solutions for major construction and retail projects, including structural steelwork, stainless steel, structural glass balustrading and staircases.
Their client portfolio has grown significantly in recent years to include work for Samsung, Audi, Chanel and Selfridges. Current projects include the new flagship Apple store in Edinburgh city centre and Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.
Samuel, who will graduate from the University of Ulster with a first class honours degree in engineering management, is looking forward to helping the family business grow, alongside his father and brother – both called George Fleck.
Samuel said: "Watching my dad manage and develop the business as I was growing up made me aware of how much hard work and dedication is required to be successful.
"However, I was also impressed by how rewarding it can be. High levels of technical engineering skill mixed with business management competency can produce great results."
While university gave him a grounding in engineering design, technology and systems – as well as research, marketing and business management – his year on placement brought the learning to life.
"I spent a year at Wrightbus in Ballymena where I was able to put my knowledge into practice for one of Northern Ireland's most internationally successful manufacturing companies. It was an excellent opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced engineers and managers in the industry. It's an experience that has really given me the drive and ambition to make a difference to the family business," he said.
His father George Fleck said having his sons follow in his footsteps had reminded him of the importance of succession management.
He added: "We are proud of how far the company has come in recent years and I personally gain great satisfaction from every project delivered and new client secured, to each member of staff who has contributed to our growth.
"In such a competitive environment it is imperative to constantly aim for improvement and adapt to client needs. We carry out a percentage of work in Northern Ireland but our specialist metal fabrication services have really appealed to a range of blue chip clients in the UK and Europe. I want to develop our position in those markets and we can now do so with confidence, knowing that the company will have as good a management structure in the future as it has today."