RETIRING — Rich Flikkema and his wife Delores show a special plaque given to him for his retirement after 30 years at Intercontinental Truck Body. Photo courtesy of Cory Rilley/ITB
Article submitted by Cory Rilley/ITB
After nearly 30 years, Rich Flikkema has announced his retirement from Intercontinental Truck Body (ITB).
He has had more job titles and duties than can be listed.Some have included shop foreman, night watchman, custodian, and maintenance and grounds keeper.Living on the work site Flikkema was often on duty even when he was not on the clock. He has lived on and cared for the ITB property nearly 30 years.
He started working for ITB in the fall of 1983, and has been an integral part of the company’s history. ITB was still a young company when Flikkema started.He implemented many of the tools and assembly procedures that are still in use today.
At 75 years young, it is not uncommon to see him run home for lunch…literally, “run”!He will jog at a pretty good pace up to the house.Flickkema says “The Lord has blessed me with good genes.”It is not unusual to find him clambering up a ladder, high in the air on a man lift or on a forklift.
One of the things he will miss most is driving the beloved 1950’s Farmall.Flikkema has spent countless hours in the yard driving that old tractor. Whether it is removing snow around the property, dragging gravel or moving van bodies; he has put many miles in that seat.Flikkema said “When I am on that tractor it brings back memories of younger days when I ran that model tractor when they were new”!
He has seen employees come and go over the years. He has seen managers and even ownership change.In the time that he has worked at ITB, they have produced 10,000 Van Bodies and 1,200 Grain Bodies; most of which, he has reviewed and approved orders before production. When necessary, he provided additional prints and drawings for the crew.
When asked about his years at ITB, Flikkema stated he was most proud of “When we got the first computer and were able to put professional looking prints onto the floor for the crew to work from.”He went on to say, that he believed that Llew Jones (Jathco Computers) was the one who built the first computer.
Another accomplishment that he was proud to contribute was the extension of the gantry crane system in the main shop.In the early years of ITB, the shop was not as large as it is today. He reminisced about how the main shop had additions on two different occasions.Flikkema and Karl Koons worked hard to extend the gantry crane system that ITB has today.
After Flikkema has left and is enjoying his retirement, ITB will still be finding things that he always “just took care of”.ITB will be feeling it for months to come.He will truly be missed.
If you know him and his wife, Delores, they are a very humble couple who don’t crave attention.
Rich and Delores will unfortunately be leaving the community and relocating to Wisconsin; closer to their son and grandchildren. The move comes with mixed emotions.
Flikkema said they are sad to leave all of the friends and church family they have made over their many years in the Conrad area.They are excited to create the next chapter in their lives. The Conrad community will be losing a very special couple.
ITB wishes them the best, and hopes to see them again soon.