Founder and managing director of Forgacs dies

THE founder and managing director of Newcastle-based shipbuilding company Forgacs, Stephen Forgacs senior, has died after a short illness.

Mr Forgacs, a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in Australia after fleeing the 1956 Soviet invasion, bought Ullman Engineering in Newcastle in 1962, where he worked as a machinist.

‘‘Over the next 50 years he built a business that is today one of Australia’s largest privately-owned ship build, repair and heavy engineering companies,’’ a company statement said.

Forgacs, which maintains its headquarters in Newcastle, now employs 1250 people at seven major industrial sites and shipyards in NSW and Queensland.

‘‘It is with deep sadness that the Directors of Forgacs Engineering Pty Ltd announce the passing of the Company’s founder and Managing Director, Mr Stephen Forgacs,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Stephen never forgot his early days as a tradesman.

‘‘His mantra was ‘nothing works like hard work but everyone needs an opportunity’.

‘‘This commitment of Stephen’s is evidenced by Forgacs now indenturing approximately 120 apprentices company-wide.’’

Mr Forgacs is survived by his children, Pamela Farragher, Elizabeth Burgess and Stephen Peter Forgacs, and his six grandchildren.

The company said Mr Forgacs’s direct family had increased their input into the decision-making of the business in recent months, and that the company would take a ‘‘business as usual’’ approach.

‘‘The current Forgacs Engineering operational management and staffing structure will remain unchanged,’’ the statement said.

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