Learn how a small family-owned metal parts company founded in 1945 evolved into a life safety company recognized today around the world.
Transcript, in order of appearance: Brad Batz, Les Fike Jr. Sally Batz
Fike Corporation is a family-owned business that was founded by my grandfather in Independence, Missouri back in 1945.
Les Sr. and Rose, my mother, mortgaged the home once, and mortgaged the home twice, and they kept buying machinery with it. And gradually the company grew.
In the mid-1950s, there was a turning point. They found a proprietary product they could center the company on, and that was the rupture disc product line. Manufacturing rupture discs propelled the company into other industries as well. It was really what allowed us to become an international business.
Through hard work and dedication, we’ve grown to over 1100 employees across the globe.
To take over as president and CEO was exciting. It felt like I was continuing a legacy of my grandfather, my uncle and my father. Being part of a third generation, it means a lot to be able to stand up and own up to a responsibility that we as a family have to this company.
My grandfather’s legacy is still felt today because there is just this idea that we can do anything. We can invent new things, we can conquer new challenges with hard work and never giving up, but at the same time, their legacy was also about including people. And making sure we take care of people.
I think some of the happiest moments and proudest moments are walking into the company picnic and seeing the people that are all part of this organization. Families that depend on each other and depend on the success of this company.
We have third and fourth generation families that have worked for this business. It means so much to us to have that kind of connectivity and history. And not only in the ownership, but in the people that work there. I think that is part of the legacy that is still felt today.
Dad was real good about listening to his customers. What they needed, what they required. And I think even today, that’s what makes us a little bit different than most companies is that we listen, and that’s very important.