François Lautard of Paris develops his commitment to Aveyron in all its forms
Francois Lothar, the heir to a family of “scrap merchants”, knew how to modernize his company and stay on track with the help of his son Maxim, whom he entrusted to oversee. Aveyronnais at heart, he remains very attached to the home department, particularly through friendly netting and eight-pin bowling.
It all started at the beginning of the century, a few years before the war of 1914. His great-uncle Joseph Lotard, who lives in Montreuil, collects old tin cans in a horse-drawn cart. He then melts them in a furnace, removes the tin that was then used for crimping, and finally restores them in ingots. “My grandfather Francois, who lived in Obervilliers, took over the business in the 1920s, says his grandson Francois, and later bought a farm in Cairol, near the birthplace of the Moulin de Salleles family in Condom-d’Aubrac.
“My father, Roger, born in 1921, continued and founded Lautard SA in 1953,” and the young Francois joined in the mid-1960s.
“I was born in Aubervilliers in 1944, but I grew up in Aveyron, in Saint-Comé-d’Ault, with my grandparents in Rigaldi,” explains the latter, adding that “mutual aid and solidarity were strong values.” in our campaigns”.
Together with the brothers, the school in the village of Saint-Come was established in the castle (instead of the current town hall), then he moved to Paris, at the age of 8 he entered the small municipal school of Aveyronnais.
The Petits Rouergats are training to return home
“Then I spent all the school holidays in Saint-Comte, with my grandparents who raised me. I really needed to find the fresh air and atmosphere of Aveyron,” he recalls. “Three times a year, at Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, we took the Petits Rouergats train from Paris to Rodez. This train brought all the children back to the country. It was joy on the way there! Tears on the way back!”
Young Francois grew up and attended the lycée Condorcet, where he continued his secondary education, before “doing” his military service in Montluçon and then in Reims.
He already frequents the many parties organized by the Amicales Aveyronnaises de Paris. “We went dancing at the salons Vianney and Delbor, where we met the locals, he recalls. At a party in Prades-d’Aubrac in 1972, I met my wife, Agnes, from Saint-Geniez-d. Olt. We got married that same year.”
Thirty-five years together, “a perfect union with the same passion for the country,” recalls François Lautard. “Unfortunately, my wife died in 2008 after a long illness.”
He joined his father’s business when he returned from the military. “I went through all the stages, he says. I started sorting different categories of metal, drove shovels, trucks. Finally to become a site manager, then a sales manager…”
But the wonderful adventure and (almost) all planned destiny of the eldest son came to a halt after the death of his father Roger in 1996. “I had to leave the company in April 1997 due to a family conflict. “, explains Francois Lautard, who still has a bitter taste today. “My father’s wish was not followed.”
A new beginning
Here, the 53-year-old entrepreneur is forced to start from scratch with his 23-year-old son Maksim, who was hired a few months ago.
The two merged in 1997 to form FML, based in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. “Hell of a problem!” He remembers. But the entrepreneur’s connections, know-how and, above all, his reputation provide him with the trust of bankers and various partners.
The father and son duo Francois and Maxime, who later showed “courage and will”, are the winning duo. The experience of the former combined with the energy and new ideas of the latter – a graduate of a business school – allows the rapid development of FML.
“A few years ago I handed it over to my son, says Francois Lothar, now 78 years old. He learned very quickly and took over the reins of the company. It looks very good, he says proudly. A chance! ” Currently more than 40 branches in France and Europe company, this proximity allows it to provide all scrap and metal recovery and management services to manufacturers in every region.
François Lautard, who has retired from FML Recyclage, continues to invest and maintain the connection between Paris and Aveyron. “Like my grandfather and father, I am the vice-president of the friendly Gayrol. I am a man of traditions.”
If there’s one tradition that really lives on, it’s the annual feast held every year on the last Sunday of January, which the people of Aveyron always enjoy. The next meeting is scheduled for 29 January 2023 in Nogentel in Nogent-sur-Marne.
An eight-pin bowling craze
And there is another area in which François Lautard has been engaged for a very long time. Like a really good Aveyronnais, he has been bowling since he was eight. And in 1961 he continued in Paris, where he joined Sport Quilles Rouergat, a club that had celebrated its 70th birthday a few years earlier.
In August of the following year, he took part in the first French junior championship in Rodez, where his team finished at the top of the table. Later he played with two brothers Jean-Claude and Gérard Enjalbert from Magrin and Gilbert Boissonnade from Pont-de-Salars. A few years later, in 1994—he was 50—he equaled the French record for a game with a total of 66 pins. A record that has never been broken in Paris to this day.
“I continued to play all my life. I was also president of Sport quilles Rouergat for 25 years and also co-chairman of the Paris Committee with Roger Laurens from Nayraj,” says Mr. Lautard. “Together we organized two French championships in Versailles in 2000 and 2007. I fully invested myself in the success of these competitions, with the great help of my co-chairman and the Parisian players. I am very proud of it!” An event that brings together 400-500 Aveyronnai each time in the Paris region.
If the Paris Committee knows how to accept, it shines outside. Last summer, in particular, Gary Guibert, a member of the Solidarité Aveyronnaise club, took second place in the individual French championship held in Saint-Amans-des-Côts. Led by Denis and Gary Guibert, Paris also won the French Team Championship in Rodez in Excellence (the “Holy Grail” of bowling), a title coveted by the best Aveyron teams. Other Parisian teams also reached the podium – first in Promotion with young players, and second in Essor. Gary Guibert’s team won the French Cup at Espalion in August. “An extraordinary performance,” enthuses Mr. Lothar, who says, “I’m very happy that bowling is going well in Paris.”
The performances are all the more remarkable because the Paris Committee has only a few hundred licenses, while Aveyron has close to 4,500.
Francois Lautard, now retired from business, still looks fondly on the company he founded with his son Maxime. He now spends his time between Paris and Aveyron, his family’s cradle, where he likes to catch up with his childhood friends, near Saint-Geniez, Saint-Come and Espalion…