An adolescent interest turned into a life-long passion for Ivan Gooch, who last week celebrated 50 years as a cabinet maker at Stratford Furniture.
Fifty years ago, 16-year-old Ivan had an interest in wood work in high school and sought out a cabinet making apprenticeship with Stratford Furniture.
"It really doesn't feel like it's been 50 years. I guess that's how you can tell you are in the right job," says Ivan.
"I don't think there is anyone else in the history of this company to have stayed for 50 years," owner operator of Stratford Furniture Neil Cameron says. Neil says Ivan, who has worked in all the different departments over the years, is a very well respected member of the team.
While Ivan has seen team members come and go, the biggest change has been advancing technology.
"As the machines have upgraded they have made the work we do easier and faster."
While the golden half century milestone is significant for any work place, Neal says finding an appropriate gift to mark the occasion was difficult.
"We tried to send him on a holiday to Rarotonga and he didn't want it," says Neil. It took a long time to come up with the recliner chairs.
"When Ivan finally slows down I am sure he will make good use of them."
Ivan was thrilled with the gifts and looks forward to making time to enjoy them.