From fam­ily garage to for­mer sta­dium

Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing pros­per­ing in Har­bour Grace

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY CHRIS LEWIS

From crab frames to ped­ways, Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing has seen plenty of suc­cess in the last six years.

Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing Inc. has be­come some­thing of a house­hold name in Har­bour Grace as the com­pany con­tin­ues to grow and ex­pand it­self, now em­ploy­ing up­wards of 20 peo­ple, with even more un­der their belt as their part­ner­ship with con­struc­tion industry pow­er­house Canam Group con­tin­ues to grow. How­ever, the op­er­a­tion was not al­ways as big as it is to­day.

Orig­i­nally, Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing started out as a garage op­er­a­tion, where Paul Fitzger­ald, Vice President of the com­pany, would work on crab frames out of the fam­ily garage. Su­san Fitzger­ald, president of the com­pany, as well as Paul’s mother and busi­ness part­ner, said that the com­pany be­gan out of some­thing of a ne­ces­sity, with Paul grow­ing tired of the con­stant travel as­so­ci­ated with his pre­vi­ous job, and his fa­ther’s health de­clin­ing.

“Crab frames is where it all started, which we’d sup­ply to ma­rine sup­pli­ers and some lo­cal fish­er­men” she said. “Out in the garage, work­ing away at crab frames. No big op­er­a­tions, no em­ploy­ees work­ing for us, just a small fam­ily op­er­a­tion, and now it’s be­come what it is to­day.” What Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing is to­day, is a com­pany ca­pa­ble of pro­cess­ing 40-50 steel beams in an eight-hour shift, all while weld­ing 25-tons of struc­tural steel at the same time thanks to a ded­i­cated team of skilled trade work­ers, pro­ject man­agers, and a myr­iad of other em­ploy­ees, as well as some top-of-the-line equip­ment, in­clud­ing a Python X Beam Line – some­thing the Fitzger­alds say is a pow­er­house for this type of work. All of this means that Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing can work on ma­jor projects such as the St. John’s Com­mu­nity Mar­ket, and the re­place­ment of the Provin­cial Air­lines han­gar roof.

Fol­low­ing in­cor­po­ra­tion in 2009, the com­pany started work in 2012 and have seen plenty of big changes over this rel­a­tively short times­pan. In 2012, the com­pany’s first of­fi­cial year, they moved to a shop in Bay Roberts – the first big move out of the fam­ily garage. It was in this shop that the com­pany would spend their first five years, where they moved into the ma­rine sec­tor, all while con­tin­u­ing work in the man­u­fac­tur­ing di­vi­sion. How­ever, an even big­ger move came for the com­pany in 2017, when they got wind that the for­mer S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace was avail­able.

“Right now, I think we have one of the biggest steel fab­ri­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties in the prov­ince,” Su­san said of the 30,000-square foot space the com­pany is now work­ing out of. “A lot of hard work and money went into it, es­pe­cially when it came down to the elec­tri­cal part of it, but it all worked out in the end because we’ve got a great space to work out of now.”

Paul, much like his mother Su­san, car­ries a great deal of pride when it comes to the com­pany. He said to see it grow from the be­gin­ning, in 2012, to the present, is al­most un­real.

“It’s amaz­ing to see it grow like this, and to see it con­tin­u­ing to grow. We’ve got a lot of good things com­ing for the com­pany over the years, so it’s only up from here, but to see where we were five years ago, and look onto the floor to­day and see what we’re do­ing now, it’s crazy,” he said, not­ing that he’d like to see the com­pany do fur­ther work in the At­lantic provinces and pos­si­bly south of the border in the United States.

“We still work on crab frames here, too, though,” he added proudly. “We’ll never for­get where we started, no mat­ter how big it gets.”

CHRIS LEWIS /THE COM­PASS

Su­san Fitzger­ald and her son Paul are president and vice president of Fitz’s Mo­bile Weld­ing Inc.

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