After 24 Years, F&V Companies Announces Leadership Moves

Co-founder Larry J. Fleis, PE, the President of the F&V Companies, Inc. announced to staff yesterday that the board has moved forward with some leadership transition moves.  The Board of Directors has appointed Fleis as the Chairman of the Board.  He will continue to serve as president of FVCI, the parent company of Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering (F&V), F&V Construction (FVC) and F&V Operations and Resources Management (FVOP).

Paul R. Galdes, PE, Vice-President of all the operating companies, has been appointed President of the engineering company and Sr. Vice-President of the other companies.

Craig L. Shumaker, PE, the Kalamazoo office manager who has been handling QA/QC for all the companies, has been appointed as Vice President of Operations and Treasurer for all the companies.

As President of the parent company, Fleis will continue to oversee all three operating companies and support the management teams. Galdes will now be responsible for the day-to-day management of the engineering company.

“I’m not turning in my key and walking out the door,” said Fleis, who along with fellow civil engineer and friend, Steve Vanden Brink founded the firm in 1993. “But the transition is continuing.”

“It’s an exciting time to be at F&V,” said Galdes, who joined F&V in 1993. “We’ve all been anticipating and planning the transition for a long time.

“A lot of companies fail when they don’t plan and all of a sudden the founders want to retire and people are left looking around for their next move.”

F&V initiated its leadership and ownership transition plan in 2006 with the creation of the Principal/Associate program. Galdes was one of six Principals named at that time. In 2014, Galdes was also named Vice President of Operations.

“This is going to have a positive ripple effect throughout the company because somebody has to fill in what Craig and I have been doing,” Galdes added. “There are opportunities for folks that have been with the company to fill leadership roles today and for years to come.

“I’m looking forward to the next 25 years and seeing our current staff grow and meet those challenges.”

“This transition is just a natural progression,” added Shumaker, who joined the firm in 2006 when F&V merged with Gove Associates, Inc. “And it’s already been happening for a few years with some of us doing varies duties.

“None of us are getting younger so there’s a whole next generation that is evolving and being coached here at F&V.  It’s going to be cool to be a part of it in the next few years.”

Fleis said he has been working closely with Galdes in just about everything that is happening at the company and that Schumaker has already been responsible for QA/QC for the company and monitoring all the projects.

Vanden Brink was Vice-President at F&V until his departure in 2015. Fleis set no timetable for his retirement, but said he would like to begin reducing his hours and work load.

“I’ll still be helping Paul and the management team and I’ll still be cracking the whip where I can,” Fleis said.

In addition to the transition moves, John DeVol, PE, Robert W. Wilcox, PE, Donald J. DeVries, Kendall A. Beck, PE were appointed as advisors to the Board of Directors.

F&V will celebrate its 25th anniversary in January of 2018. It has grown from a two-person civil engineering firm to over 200 employees with nine offices in Michigan and Indiana.

Earlier this year, F&V was recognized again as one of the “101 Best and Brightest Firms to Work For” in West Michigan and it will also be recognized next month as the 30th fastest growing firm in the United States and Canada – A Zweig White “Hot Firm”.