ANGA : Uszczelnienia Mechaniczne Sp. z o.o.
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Antoni Gacek, eng.

Antoni Gacek, the eldest son of Stanisław Gacek and Zofia Kubiczek, was born on 5th January 1945 in Kozy. Both his grandfather Józef, and father Stanisław were smiths by trade, but the father eventually changed his profession to become a railwayman which was the result of the contemporary authorities’ aversion to private initiative.

From his family home, it was closer to Hałcnów than to Kozy, and so Antoni, just like his whole family, attended both primary school and church in Hałcnów. After finishing vocational school in Bielsko-Biała, he continued his education at a technical secondary school of mechanics while working at the same time at a motor reducer factory (currently Befared). Upon graduation he went on to study at the Silesian University of Technology; and in 1972 obtained a degree in engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Afterwards, in the 1970s he returned to “his” technical secondary school, this time as a teacher.

Education and the urge to learn were his passions, and in reality he studied in a number of different ways throughout his entire life. His was a generation of avid learners absorbing knowledge from both books and learned authorities. That is why, later on in life, he valued young people who wanted to learn. And a number of them have benefited from his help. He used to offer them material aid in the form of grants. He shared his material wealth with others. Mr. Gacek founded scholarships for young people, fostered charity events, supported schools, and in several churches one can see the results of his aid. He also used to be of help in some ordinary everyday problems, he was someone that one could always turn to asking for help and would never be let down. On some occasions he even offered help before he was asked for it.

He used to help strangers, but most of all he helped his family, close and distant. Tradition and family were other great passions of his life. It wasn’t accidental that the early days of ANGA are linked with his grandfather’s and father’s smithy. For Antoni Gacek, craftsmanship was a kind of artwork, and he believed that it required the Divine Spark. When seeking his ancestry roots and delving into the family’s history, he reflected with enthusiasm on any piece of information there might have been on the artistic talents of the family members. For him, someone gifted in fine arts or music was of equal importance as a good and reliable mason or smith. He prized talent, hard-work and reliability, just the same. He believed that talent is necessary to pursue any profession. Today, with the benefit of hindsight one can say that he did not waste his own talent. Not only did Antoni Gacek want ANGA to continue his family’s craftsmanship traditions, but also to offer employment to his family members. He rejoiced at every success of his family and was always eager to promote these successes.

His ideal, as he often used to emphasize, was “an engineering way of thinking”. In practice, it meant that every single issue should be considered theoretically first, but then, in the end, what really counts is to apply the theory in practice. This practical thinking used to be at the beginning of everything he did in his life. This is where his streamlined ideas used to come from, first of all, in the factory, and then, later on in his own plant. And his ideas were by no means few and far between. In fact, these ideas generated him some material benefits and let him start the company, which made him so rightly proud of.

He was a busy man, in the good sense of the word. His mind was always full of interesting ideas. Few people know that before he founded ANGA, he used to own … a strawberry plantation in Kozy. The profit made on this plantation and the money obtained for patents at Befared contributed to the founding of ANGA.

Zakład Mechaniki Maszyn was founded in the memorable year of 1981, but what is noteworthy, it was in the autumn of that year, which was still before the enforcement of martial law. Mr. Gacek used to work as a delivery driver, accountant, employer, as well as a blue-collar worker at the plant. In the beginning the company was engaged in regenerating mechanical seals. In 1983 Antoni Gacek’s company started its own production of mechanical seals. Until 1989, the company’s production curve demonstrated a steady rise of output every year by some 50-100% and the owner himself was a co-holder of a half of the 30 patents implemented then. ANGA and its owner earned official acclaim. He deserved the credit for ANGA being awarded in 1994 the ISO 9001 certificate, whereas he as well as the company were awarded the Golden Statue of the Leader of the Polish Business'94, and also the Golden Laurel of the Regional Economic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Katowice. His achievements made him a member of the Advisory Council by the vice-chancellor of the University of Bielsko-Biała.

Antoni Gacek left behind a prosperous and modern plant, and in reality, four companies: “ANGA” Uszczelnienia Mechaniczne Sp. z o.o. (1981), "CERTECH" Sp. z o.o. (1997), "ANGA-SERWIS" Sp. z o.o. (2002), AVIOMECHANIKA Sp. z o.o. (2005). And the end result matched his plans at the very start – the fortune of his entire life has remained in the family.

He was a firm and exacting person, who expected just as much from himself as from others. He had a plan for an active and creative life, and he realized his idea admirably. It was due to his talent, ambition and hard work that he achieved so much. He earned the acclaim and the gratitude of those who had known him, as well as those with whom he had worked.

Antoni Gacek died after suffering from a long and severe illness on 28 October 2006, in Kozy.
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