What do manufacturers in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, space exploration, and defense industries all have in common? They all desire the latest technology and most advanced equipment and solutions, so they go to Jeremiah Weekley at Fabrication Solutions & Technologies (FST), a leading authority on steel fabricating, steel processing equipment, and solutions in North America. As founder and president of the Longview, Texas, company, Jeremiah works with giants from these industries, providing top-quality equipment, solutions, and service for all their needs—including equipment to manufacture the kinds of things that go into space.
Jeremiah draws inspiration from Europe’s automation practices and aims to modernize the North American industry and bring it up to the level of its international counterparts. FST handles everything from single solutions to full-scale design projects as one of the only companies in North America to offer end-to-end, full-scale factory design and equipment specification. They also provide training and after-sales service and support, often using multiple machine types for a full-scale solution. FST is one of the few companies capable of complete greenfield design, ranging from wind tower and offshore monopile construction, stainless tanks and vessels, to automated steel processing operations.
We caught up with Jeremiah to learn more about FST and his entrepreneurial journey.
How has your 20 years’ experience informed FST’s success?
I’ve managed imports and exports extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia, and was an executive in steel fabrication sales and imports, oil and gas tank manufacturing, and fabrication of high-pressure ASME vessels for natural gas. I worked my way up from entry-level sales to being the North American sales director at my previous company and worked there for 10 years until some entrepreneurs contacted me to start a tank and vessel facility from the ground up. Those two jobs allowed me to be on both sides of the industry— the sales side as well as the shop floor side. I learned to see through the clients’ eyes, which has served us very well. I also have consulting experience in manufacturing and engineering, so I can advise on assessing talent, developing strategies, and even some M&A to help companies better sharpen their operational focus in sales, marketing, and beyond. Ultimately, I’ve been blessed with a wide range of experience and business mentors, who have shared their experience and wisdom, which has been invaluable.
What’s the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur?
The failure. When you take a risk and fail, you question everything. Being an entrepreneur is a litmus test of humility, and the fundamental lessons come when things don’t go the way you want. It’s a double-edged sword, because failure is brutal, but it highlights areas that need growth. No true entrepreneur just “makes it.” It’s a continual journey of learning. Even when failure may not directly be your fault, you still have to analyze your role and adjust for the future. I always say mistakes are not a problem, it’s making the same mistakes over and over that hinders self-growth and indicates true problems in both business and life.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
When we launched FST, the dream was to bring the latest technology and manufacturing solutions utilized in Europe to a desperately lagging North American market. Starting with a vision and a laptop and selling high-end equipment is a scary place to be. I made sales calls and emails all while implementing our marketing plan and focus. After we built our team, we saw sales revenue exceed $10 million by year five. None of our growth and sustainability would be possible without the team members who trusted our vision and do a remarkable job every day. When you’re a business owner, it’s humbling and a bit frightening to consider the people whose livelihoods depend on the success of the business. No one does great things alone. Overall, my relationships with employees, clients, and partners are my greatest accomplishments. When someone invests in my vision, I always strive to exceed their expectations on returns not only to broaden future opportunities for collaboration, but also, on a personal level, to have them value my integrity, character, and work ethic. I’ve been able to parlay the success of FST into additional opportunities and partnerships that keep me excited and passionate about the future.
What do you enjoy the most about your work, Jeremiah?
I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to work with and be mentored by some brilliant business minds, who helped me to believe in myself and understand the hyperfocus necessary when taking a risk on an opportunity. Any company is only as good as its team. I enjoy the people I work with every day—both our staff and our customers. Our clients are very diverse and unique and I consider them close friends and partners. I love learning their stories and working with them to help grow their companies, many of which are multi-generational family businesses.
Founder & President
Fabrication Solutions & Technologies
Website: www.FSTSteelFab.com / www.JeremiahWeekley.com
LinkedIn: Jeremiah Weekley
Facebook: Jeremiah Weekley
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