Time passes remarkably fast when you’re busy.
It’s been four decades since Jan Nyquist, owner of Pipefusion, also known as Nydock, started the business.
It all began, like most things do, out of necessity and a love affair that has endured more than four decades, slowly evolving, and transforming through time.
It began in 1978 when Nyquist was the tender age of 23. At that time, he had endured what he describes as two uneventful years in university studying English and philosophy, which brought him to the conclusion that university just wasn’t his thing.
“I was broke and had no plan for life,” he recalled. “Since I had few options, my father offered me a low-level job at KWH Pipe and the rest is history,” he recalled.
Nyquist instantly fell in love with the polyethylene pipe industry. He worked hard, often 16-hour days, but only stayed with the company for six months. He then joined a plastic piping company in Toronto. The company was in all aspects of the industry from sales, fusion, and municipal and industrial applications.
Two years later, just before his 26th birthday, Nyquist would go out on a limb, borrow some money, quit his job, and start Pipefusion Services.
Again, he worked tirelessly with relentless determination trying to make a go of it. He took on projects fusing polyethylene pipe in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, and on mostly mining projects in Ontario.
Since that time, the company has been involved in piping projects in Hawaii, the North shore of Ellesmere Island, New York City, Virginia and throughout the mining community of northern Ontario and eastern Canada, just to name a few regions.
That was just the beginning.
The company has evolved and found new applications for its product. Now, it also manufactures floating docks, pontoons, Transport Canada-approved dock boats, floating boathouses, and other products, including custom plastic pipe fittings. It has become a wholesaler and distributor of high-density polyethylene piping products where it sells, fuses, and installs piping systems in mining and municipal and industrial applications.
In recent years it has also developed a highly successful dealer program for its docks and pontoons, helping it expand its reach for its docking products in Ontario.
It now has dealers in Kingston, Apsley, Midland, Mactier, Magnetawan, Temagami, Elliot Lake, and Sault Ste. Marie, and hopes to expand wherever there is water in both Canada and the United States. And given that all its products are manufactured on Aspdin Road in Huntsville, Pipefusion and the Nydock brand have not only created year-round jobs in the community but have become great ambassadors for the town.
“I became the first independent fusion contractor in the country,” Nyquist told a crowd of about 100 people who gathered at his large farm property close to Pipefusion’s headquarters on June 9, 2022. They were there to celebrate Pipefusion’s 40th anniversary.
“I really want to congratulate you on building such an amazing company. Your product is second to none. You provide excellent employment for our town and your generosity to this community is beyond description. We’ve been so fortunate to have you and your company call Huntsville home,” said Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano at the celebration of Pipefusion’s milestone.
She said projects like the Hunters Bay floating trail, the floating docks in downtown Huntsville and the Avery Beach docking facility are just some of the ways the town benefits from everything that Pipefusion and Nydock do.
“You have been so good to the municipality in the works you’ve done. I have to mention the project that happened in 2020 because it was just so simply amazing. Pipefusion won a tendered award to replace some docks in downtown Huntsville, and incidentally, they came in at about half the price of what we had budgeted for the project, and then Jan said, ‘you know what, how’d it be if I replaced the floating docks too and I’ll do that on my dime.’ How incredible is that?” questioned Terziano to applause from those in present.
Others like Dan Watson, executive director of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, were also in attendance.
Watson let those in attendance in on a secret. He told them that when Nyquist says: “I’m not going to say no,” it’s usually a good sign. He spoke about all the work Nyquist has done for the arts community, no matter how off the wall it may have seemed.
He also thanked Pipefusion’s Brad Payne. Payne and his wife Ginny, after many years of working with Nyquist, became company shareholders in 2018.
Watson also commended Pipefusion’s employees, saying that when they show up their knowledge and their generosity is impressive.
Watson also mentioned Nyquist’s late mother Stina. She was heavily involved in the arts and a strong supporter of the arts community in Huntsville before she died in 2016. He said she’d be proud of her son not only for the success of his company but for the life he’s made for himself. Watson then raised a glass “to not saying no,” and others followed.
Members of the Royal Bank, where the company has done much of its business through the years, were also in attendance. Frank Berdan, vice president of commercial banking, described Nyquist as someone who has inspired others, created sustainable jobs, supported local events, and given back to his community. He also described Nyquist as a very sincere and emotional individual.
“We’re extremely proud to have Nydock as one of our clients. My boss often asks me ‘is there a company somewhere in your portfolio that you think exemplifies what a relationship should be between a bank and a customer?’ And I’m always first to say Nydock because we love working with you guys. We love all the employees. We love everything you do for the community, and I’m really hoping that we could be your banker for another 40 years,” he said.
Michelle Gardiner, commercial account manager, also with the bank, was holding back tears. “Sometimes you walk into a business and you know it’s special… from day one I knew that what you have built here over the past 40 years is very special,” she said, adding that she and her colleagues have been lucky to be a small part of it. “I admire your out-of-the-box thinking, your drive, your savvy business sense… you care deeply about your community, and I really want you to know we care deeply about you, too,” she said. She congratulated Nyquist, Brad, Ginny, and the whole team on the milestone.
Peter Redwood of the Rotary Club of Huntsville described the tremendous help Nyquist and his staff have been to the service organization. “All through the four and a half years of DockFest, this organization, led by Jan and his employees, have been our Godsend.” He thanked Nyquist and staff for everything they’ve done for Rotary through the years and told those present that Nyquist was presented with a Paul Harris award in 2019 for all his contributions, an award that is not given out lightly.
Dexter Perera, managing partner of BDO Dunwoody, noted that accountants often get to see an aspect of a business that nobody else really gets to see, “and I can honestly say what Jan has done with this company is remarkable. He’s grown it from its infancy… leaps, and bounds. Made great business decisions. Great strategy to bring Ginny and Brad in who, as he said, bring a big complement to the business with different skill sets.” He also said there have been years where the company has grown by about 30 per cent. “A testament to Jan and his eye for talent… and a client I love working for,” he said, also referring to Nydock as the gold standard for docks and docking systems across Muskoka and Ontario. “And the future is very bright,” he concluded.
Curt Smigel of Infra Pipe Solutions, formerly KWH Pipe, where Pipefusion purchases its pipe from, flew in with his wife Heather from Vancouver for the celebration. He said his wife was shopping on the Main Street of Huntsville and people knew of Pipefusion’s celebration. “That speaks to you, your moral compass, what you’ve designed, what you’ve created—all of the people here, cheers to you!” he told Nyquist.
Following the celebration, Nyquist sat down with Huntsville Doppler to talk about the event. He was humbled and a bit emotional about the accolades.
“I have made a lot of good friends in this community, my home, and if everything goes to hell, not that it will, I have many couches to sleep on,” he laughed.
He said the company continues to grow and at 67 he has no intention of retiring any time soon. “The only thing worse than death is retirement,” he joked. He gave credit to his friends, associates, business partners, professionals, suppliers, allies, and employees and said he could not have done it all without them. Nyquist said he hoped everyone enjoyed the food, put on by the former owner of Tall Trees Randy Spencer, and music by the talented Tobin Spring. “I think it was a good time,” he noted.
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