FI Innovations’ history has its beginnings in fibrous plaster technology … the original firm, T D McIntosh and Sons were Invercargill’s specialists in ornate plaster ceilings. Thomas McIntosh, Gareth’s great-grandfather, passed his skills and knowledge on to his son, Bill McIntosh.
Although fibreglass was invented in 1938 and became commonplace during WWII, (primarily for its insulation properties), the technology took a little longer to reach New Zealand shores.
At that stage Bill McIntosh thought fibreglass might be worth checking out, with a view to creating moulds for his plaster products.
So Bill ordered Southland’s first batch of fibreglass resin. It duly arrived, but with no instructions … he took the lid off and placed the resin pottle in the middle of a large room. Bill instructed the apprentice to run past and fling the hardener in (just in case it exploded). History tells us that it didn’t explode. After more trial and error, they refined their methods.
Bill McIntosh was quick to see the benefits of this new substance. Within a few years, T D McIntosh and Sons were no longer doing plaster ceilings. By the 1960’s, plaster had all but been forgotten. Much later, the business passed to Bill’s son, Dave McIntosh. Trading under the Southland Fibreglass name, they began doing non-slip resin flooring, alongside the general fibreglass work.
In the 1990’s, young Gareth Dykes learned the fibreglass trade at his grandfather’s factory … and along the way picked up Bill’s pioneering spirit. After an extended overseas adventure, he returned to Southland in 2002 with his wife Melissa. They accepted the opportunity to take over the old family firm – adding 4th generation innovation to this long-established Invercargill business.