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Susan Forgie: Joining the family business

susan-forgie My parents started DAForgie over 40 years ago. We retail and service agricultural, gardening and construction equipment over 2 depots in Limavady and Lisburn. During this time our family business has grown substantially using a flexible approach focused on customer service and adapting to the changing needs of the market. We are the main dealers of many well-known brands including #Kubota, #Honda, #Merlo and #Kverneland.

I joined my family business in October 2020 after working for 12 years in private practice as a solicitor. I completed my law degree at the University of Ulster Jordanstown in 2004 and also a Masters at Queens, before I moved to England where I completed my solicitor exams at Cardiff University. Once I qualified as a solicitor in 2009, I moved to London where I stayed for 4 years before moving back to practice as a family lawyer in Northern Ireland.

I really enjoyed my time as a solicitor, however when my parents approached me about their succession planning, I was delighted that they would consider me. Although it may be seen as a natural progression to join your family business, it still took me a great deal of consideration to ensure it was the best move for me and that I was the right person for the job. My parents had always encouraged, myself and my 3 sisters to pursue our own careers. My mother always wanted joining the family business to be a choice and not something we felt pressurised into. As an adult reflecting back, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to have my own career away from DAForgie. I do believe my mother is right and having a career separate from your family business is a positive move, as you develop so many more transferable skills and new ideas you can bring to the business. Succession planning is something that we talked about as a family. However, I have found that succession planning is not something that is often talked about in Northern Ireland, even though it is very important. To other people in this situation, I would say, have the conversations and ask about the future plans for the business.

Since joining DAForgie, I have been on a massive journey and learning curve. My role has developed since I joined the business and I feel it is evolving every day. I am actively involved with managing staff on a daily basis and in particular our After Sales and Stores team.

Throughout the years of trading DA Forgie has built a reputation for providing an excellent quality and highly reliable service to customers. As a solicitor I realise how important customer care and managing customer’s expectations is. I want DAForgie to continue to provide excellent customer care to our valued customers so that DAForgie can continue to grow as a company.

Personally, I am married with 3 young children, twins Lily and Ria who are 5 and David who is 2 years old, and so working full time in a family business can be demanding, especially when dividing my time between work life and family life. I hope that my children will enjoy growing up and helping out in the family business as much as I did and that DAForgie will become engrained in them the way it is to me.

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