FELCO People – Carlos & Clara Araque
"FELCO is our second home!”
Carlos Araque who is responsible for the assembly workshop at the FELCO factory is retiring. He is going to join his wife Clara, who worked alongside him for forty years and who retired two years ago. A meeting with an endearing couple full of humour.
"We have spent almost all our lives here with my wife Clara. FELCO is our second home", says Carlos Araque. As head of the assembly workshop at the FELCO factory in Les Geneveys-sur-Coffrane, he is retiring after 43 years with the company. Not without some emotion. "Oh yes, it will be a bit of a shock to leave all this behind".
A central department
Since 1979 his job has been to check that everything works in this central department of the factory. As this is where the various components are assembled to give life to a new tool. It takes an experienced operator just under one minute to assemble and adjust a pruning shear from scratch. "When I started, there were only 18 of us working in this department. Now there are more than 60," Carlos says proudly.
His loud voice, tinged with a proud Spanish accent, easily covers the hum of the electric screwdrivers as he moves back and forth between the workstations, checking that all the operators have what they need. And even when he is busy with administrative tasks in his small office, he regularly peeks out through the constantly open door to see if everything is working as planned in 'his' workshop.
For a long time, his wife Clara also sat at one of the workbenches, assembling secateurs. "And in the 42 years I've been working in the workshop, I've assembled quite a few," she laughs. She retired two years ago.
Coexistence between spouses in the assembly shop was never a problem for the couple. "It wasn't complicated, because we always kept our work and private lives separate. Once we walked into FELCO in the morning, we each played our role for the day, and that was it," says Carlos. "Yes, it went really well overall, but sometimes I had to keep quiet," Clara says with a huge laugh. There is a lot of humour and complicity between these two spouses who never stop laughing and teasing each other.
Family at work
They have been able to combine working for the company and their private lives over the years and have seen their only daughter grow up. "I like this company because it is a family business. We know the owners, as we see them almost every day on the premises," says Carlos.
He will be closing the workshop door behind him for good. Carlos will finally have some time to himself, to take care of the technical management of FC Coffrane, his favourite team. He is looking forward to this retirement, of course, but he readily admits that, from time to time, he will feel a little nostalgic. "I am proud to have made my small contribution to the worldwide reputation of the FELCO brand.”