Owner and President
When Pat Fink opened FCM Products, an independently owned sheet metal fabrication business, he brought with it an incomparable drive and determination that would give his company longevity. But it was his metalworking prowess that made FCM the success it is today.
The Early Years
Born to working-class parents in Cleveland, Ohio, Pat Fink was raised with seven siblings in Los Angeles, California.
As Pat matured, he intuitively understood the importance of industriousness and became quite entrepreneurial even as a youth. With keen logic, he became adept at learning how things work and took on projects that would challenge him physically and mentally.
In 1969, having just graduated from high school, 18-year-old Pat took a job at Affatati Company, a metal fabrication company in City of Industry, California.
During his 11 years with Affatati, he learned virtually every aspect of the metal business, including fabrication and design. There he created custom control cabinets, prototypes for Bowing, and other items for water treatment plants and countless other industries.
Also during that time, Pat met his wife and together they had two children.
By 1978, however, Pat was tired of the smog and overpopulation that continue to be a mainstay of life in Southern California. So he packed up his young family and moved to Texarkana, Arkansas, where he took a job as the fabrication shop foreman at Ledwell & Sons. He would remain there for three years.
In 1981, Pat undertook a new business venture with his former employer from Affatati Company. This time, the two men would open Advanced Metal Products in Nash, Texas. Pat stayed with the company for two years as plant manager. Although the company was soon on its way to success, the two partners had differing management styles and Pat resigned two years later in 1983.
The day after leaving AMP, he accepted a job at Cobar with Bruce Brooks, a man who would play an integral role in Pat’s career at a later date.
His time at Cobar would be limited, however, and three months later Pat went to work for GSL, which became Colgate Palmolive. As the new construction foreman, he was in charge of new installation projects and he remained with the company until 1987.
Finally, in March 1987, Pat’s dream of owning his own business was realized. FCM Products was born and originally resided in an empty, humble warehouse on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Texarkana, Texas. Despite its less than ideal location, the tiny business began to grow.
During the years Pat had worked for other corporations, he had made a name for himself as an industrious worker, fair supervisor and skilled craftsman and designer. That reputation, coupled with his exuberance and passion for his craft, resulted in the growth of his clientele and an increase in repeat sales.
When Pat heard that Bruce Brooks wanted to leave Cobar, he asked his former colleague to become his new business partner and the two men continued to grow the business together.
In 1994, Pat built a new home for FCM at L.E. Gilliland Drive, near the intersections of Highway 82 and Loop 245. What was once an overgrown piece of property with drainage problems and lots of standing water was developed and transformed into the state-of-the-art facility it is today, complete with offices, a massive warehouse, a sand blasting area and a professional painting facility.
Not only has FCM continued to thrive as a company, but it has also served as a school of sorts, where Pat has taken on numerous apprentices over the years. As a result, he has launched countless careers as he turned ordinary men into skilled metal fabricators.
“I’ve always believed that the company is only as strong as the men who work for it, and I’ve tried to teach my staff this lesson,” Pat says, recalling the course of his career. “Some of my guys have been with me since I started the company and I hope they know how much I appreciate their dedication. I think the fact that they stayed says a lot about the company we’ve become.”
Sadly, Pat’s business partner and friend, Bruce Brooks, has been one of the few to leave the company. He vacated the role of vice-president when he died and once again Pat was FCM’s sole owner. Despite the company’s tragic loss, however, FCM has continued to thrive, becoming the premier sheet metal fabrication company in the Ark-La-Tex.
Now, with 40 years in the metal fabrication and design industry under his belt, Pat continues to look ahead towards the future with his trademark optimism. “There is nothing we can’t do,” he says, referring to he and his FCM family. And after looking at everything he’s done over the years, from the jobs he’s undertaken to seemingly impossible projects, that statement is easy to believe.