“We were born on invention, engineering and manufacturing,” said Brad Batz, current President and CEO of Fike Corporation and nephew of Les Fike Jr. “Often times, we’d run across something and question, ‘Can we make that?’”

The answer was often, “Yes.”

This mentality led Fike directly into other industries, including fire suppression. Fike was working on an application that required a deluge system, a pressurized container that would flood a small compartment space in a marine engine room application. To complete the suppression system, Fike engineers added a rupture disc for the perfect leak-tight seal that would burst at a given pressure.

Business was good. So good that it was time to expand internationally and into new markets.

Les Sr. retired and handed over the company to his son, Les Jr., to write the next chapter of the Fike story.

Germany, Canada, India and Singapore were just a few of Fike’s new territories during this era of growth in the 1980s. But perhaps no other partnership was more telling of the Fike family’s character than their international partnership with Takashi Shimura in Japan.

Les Fike Jr. received a letter from Shimura specifically wanting to represent Fike in his home country. After several meetings and conversations, both parties agreed: they didn’t want Shimura to just represent Fike; they wanted Shimura to open Fike’s first international location.

Les Jr. and Shimura agreed to a deal validated by nothing more than a handshake. The terms were when he retired, Fike would buy him out.

After decades of partnership, Shimura successfully retired in 2015—all of it riding on nothing more than a handshake deal made more than 30 years prior.

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