Dougie Smith Retires after 45 Years at FiFab
How did you begin your career at FiFab?
I started here on the 22nd May 1978, 45 years and 6 months ago. I had worked in the building trade in my teens but when that industry fell through I was desperate for work. One of the guys I had worked with in the building trade babysat for the FiFab MD at the time. He said to me ‘I know this place we may be able to get a job’ and so we set off that moment on a seven-mile walk from Ballingry to Glenrothes. When we reached FiFab and asked to speak with the MD, the receptionist said he wasn’t there, we told her we had come all this way and would wait for him to return. Around two to three hours later, he arrived, and admiring our staying power, he hired us.
Tell us about your time at FiFab?
I started as an unskilled labourer as I hadn’t worked in a factory before or worked with sheet metals before. I was trained up by peers and mentors who were working at FiFab at the time, everyone who was working there at that time played a part in making sure the new employees got trained up and could complete tasks. My skills then grew through completing coursework and college work, and I began working on the shop floor where I further became a supervisor. I moved into engineering in 1990 and moved up to Engineering Manager at one point before moving back to Production Engineer.
What has kept you at FiFab for 45 years?
I loved the job I was doing and enjoyed working with sheet metal. I enjoyed working with the people round about me. Over the 45 years, there were good times and some challenging times, but the good times always outweighed any challenges. I actually had a full record of attendance, not taking any days off for illnesses in all my 45 years with FiFab up until October this year when I suffered a TIA and had to take 5 weeks off. The company supported me through this time and I was back in action shortly after.
What did you enjoy most about working for FiFab?
The people I have worked with at FiFab. There are a number of fellow employees I have been working with at FiFab for a similar number of years to me, all of whom have become like family. There are over 100 years of invaluable experience between just three operators in one section and well over 100 years’ experience in the engineering team alone.
With your invaluable experience and knowledge, did you partake in any mentoring at FiFab?
Yes, we have had some apprentices come through the engineering department and we have been able to lend pearls of wisdom. We would take one under our wing for a week or a month and show them the ropes. We allow them to see a hands-on approach and demonstrate how we deal with people and situations.
What are your plans for retirement?
I actually went into semi-retirement two to three years ago and bought a motorhome. So I look forward to spending time with my wife Agnes, 47 years of marriage, and two dogs as we get out and explore in our motorhome. I will also enjoy spending time with my three daughters and seven grandkids, all of whom have grown up knowing FiFab so well.