Celebrating Father’s Day in the Structural Steel Industry: Honouring Legacy and Ensuring Future Success

13 Jun 2024

By Colleen Blackmore-Doucette, President

As Steel Plus Network and its members celebrate Father’s Day, we take the time to recognize the significant contributions of founders and leaders in the structural steel fabrication industry. These visionary individuals have shaped their organizations and the industry itself, leaving a lasting impact. Let’s explore how Father’s Day intersects with the steel industry and the critical role of succession planning.

Honouring Founders and Leaders

Father’s Day provides an opportunity to honour the legacy of those who laid the foundation for their organizations. Their dedication, hard work, and innovation continue to inspire us. Stephen Benson, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Benson Steel said, “We recognize our founders at every major event, employee or client based, and we share their story and how we will continue to build on their principle beliefs.”

Many steel companies, like Benson, are family-owned, passed down from one generation to the next. These family ties create a sense of continuity and pride. For Charlie Wicks, Project Manager at JCT Metals, founded by his father, Gary, in 2012, “I honour my father’s legacy by sharing core values, telling stories about my father, and holding onto the traditions he created.”

“As a family owned business, this experience has been wonderful, challenging, dynamic, bumpy, rewarding; all things in a family scenario. Nothing quite like it.” – Stephen Benson

For Charlie, the experience has been more intense. “It was shaky for the beginning years. I took advantage of what was being built, lost all respect from co-workers and hit rock bottom. Since maturing and working on self-growth, things have done a complete 180. I enjoy coming into the facility everyday and am passionate about what we do, working with my co-workers, and showing the family I can and I will help bring success to the family business.”

The Importance of Succession Planning

Successful succession planning ensures that the expertise, knowledge, and values of founders are passed on to the next generation. It prevents the loss of institutional memory. A well-executed succession plan facilitates a seamless transition of leadership. It minimizes disruptions and maintains business continuity. For Stephen, “It’s a process, and the mentor needs to be available for discussions.” 

In family businesses, non-family employees play a crucial role. Their buy-in and support for the next generation of leaders are essential. Clear communication about succession intentions fosters trust and commitment.

“It is hugely important to have family and non-family support for any new executive and leadership team.” – Stephen Benson

Striking the right balance between merit-based promotions and family inheritance is critical. Non-family employees need to see that leadership positions are earned based on competence and qualifications. “Employees can share in performance based promotion as well as share in corporate profits when available. Family MUST prove worthy of any promotion or installation into a leadership position to develop employee support,” said Stephen.

Celebrating the Future

Father’s Day reminds us to invest in developing the skills and capabilities of the next generation. Mentorship, training, and professional growth opportunities are vital. Just as fathers build strong bonds with their children, leaders in the steel industry must nurture relationships with successors. Trust and collaboration are key. Effective succession planning ensures that companies thrive beyond the founder’s tenure. It secures the future of the business, employees, and stakeholders.

As we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s honour the past, embrace the present, and prepare for a vibrant future in the structural steel industry. Happy Father’s Day to all the visionary leaders who continue to shape our world! 🌟🏗️👨‍👧‍👦


  • Stephen Benson, CEO & Chairman of the Board, Benson Steel, Bolton, ON
  • Charlie Wicks, Project Manager, JCT Metals, Strathroy, ON