FROM GERMAN BEGINNINGS
It was on a vacation to Toronto in 1997 when Wolfgang Osada looked out of a window at a burgeoning skyline and saw the future of his pipe-lining company.
“I saw all these buildings, and I thought, they are all going to need pipe lining in a few years,” says Osada.
Osada and his wife Marija had travelled from their native Germany to visit family and friends in Toronto. Osada saw the cranes decorating the downtown core and realized his epoxy pipe-lining solution, ideal for high-rise condominium buildings, would be even more effective for Torontonians than it was in his native country. In Germany, townhouses and broad low-rise apartments are favored over towering complexes.
For years before that fateful vacation, Osada had two problems.
Fresh upon receiving his engineer’s degree (Diplom-Ingenieur) in his native Germany, Osada set out to create an efficient solution for pinhole leaks in copper piping found in domestic high-rise buildings.
That was his first veritable dilemma. His second lay in the historical nature of his home country.
Germany is an ancient nation, founded under a succession of Holy Roman Emperors in the 10th century. Not surprisingly, the country is chockfull of old historic homes and apartment buildings. These are sturdy structures built at a time when fortification of one’s home was more important than cost-efficiency. Often, walls are built with concrete, brick, or stucco, rather than the drywall-and-studs approach found commonly in North America today.
When Osada discovered pinhole leaks behind those walls, the solution had to be completely non-destructive. Patchwork repair was eliminated as a viable option, as walls could not be so easily knocked down or cut open, to be patched over or replaced.
In order to be effective, in 1991 Osada adopted the epoxy pipe-lining solution which had already been put to use on municipal water lines in Germany since 1974. Steadily, Osada developed a reputation overseas as an engineer in the pursuit of perfection. Throughout the 1990s, the Rikos title became synonymous with a long-lasting, completely non-invasive solution to pinhole leaks developing in copper pipes in domestic hot water systems. But it was not until that innocuous family vacation to Toronto that Osada, and Rikos’ true impression would be determined.
Wolfgang Osada as seen today, overlooking a Toronto skyline that continues to blossom.
TO A PROUD CANADIAN SUCCESS STORY
Today, Toronto has blossomed into the high-rise capital of North America. According to research published by the city and conducted by German research engine Emporis, Toronto was home to 162 high-rise buildings under construction in Sept. 2011. Mexico City was Toronto’s closest rival at 88. By comparison, Chicago had 17.
And so it was for good reason that Marija stayed in Canada in 1997 to learn English and familiarize herself with the city while her husband went back to Germany to continue pipe-lining. It was in Toronto that Marija laid down Rikos’ foundation in North America and began the Canadian education surrounding epoxy pipe-lining. Two years later, after working tirelessly in her absence, Osada planted himself and the company permanently in the Greater Toronto Area, rejoining his now bilingual wife.
After establishing Rikos in Canada, Osada no longer had to concern himself with the logistics of preventing pinhole leaks with limited access, as the copper pipe was now most often behind drywall. Yet Canadian property managers and condominium directors were quickly realizing the benefits of a solution to deteriorating copper pipe that didn’t require the destruction of their tenants’ homes.
Furthermore, in keeping with his pursuit of perfection, Osada patented Rikos’ own epoxy solution, which not only adhered faster to reduce tenants’ inconvenience, but was also 100 percent drinking water safe IAPMO tested to NSF/ANSI Standard 61.
Since securing its first contract on 65 Spring Garden Avenue in Toronto, Rikos has become Canada’s only company specializing in delivering a complete, well-engineered and minimally invasive solution to pinhole leaks in domestic hot water systems. Now with 23 years of established results since beginning pipe-lining in Germany in 1991, Rikos continues to add to its impressive portfolio that includes over 100 domestic high-rises. We are proud of the thoughtful testimonials each of our past-clients provide after engaging in the Rikos experience first-hand.
FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS
Today, Wolfgang Osada is only left with one dilemma: demand.
How do you provide hundreds of domestic high-rises and tens of thousands of individuals with the only complete, well-engineered and minimally invasive solution to pinhole leaks in domestic hot water systems?
Osada’s answer: with an unwavering attention to detail and the same care he would provide for his own family.
Despite a growing client base, Rikos maintains the same family dynamic that propelled it to success in its humble origins. President and chief-technical-officer, Osada, still attends board meetings to explain first-hand the benefits of the Rikos solution. He continues to evaluate every jobsite before work proceeds to ensure an efficient, flawless solution in each unique high-rise building. His influence is felt throughout the company, and every member of the Rikos family has inherited his penchant for quality work. Osada’s wife Marija, continues to manage Rikos’ public-facing image. Their son Marc, following in his father’s footsteps, manages operations on site, and is being mentored by Osada for future leadership.
That family-orientation ensures that Rikos handles each client on a personal level, creating a specialized solution specific to each situation. In addition, Rikos employs just one crew. This ensures that the team applying the Rikos solution in your building is the same team that just completed another successful pipe-lining at another high-rise.
Utilizing just one team also allows Rikos to take equal measures at each job in engineering a perfect solution. The process is carefully applied and monitored, without any shortcuts that may become evident with the use of multiple crews. It is this insistence on an attention to fine detail that gives Rikos the luxury of providing a 25-year warranty on our solution.