Meet the Artisan: Richard Dueck

Richard Dueck gets to live out his artisan dreams with every project in precast concrete. We sat down with the Kelowna-born owner of Versatile Concrete to learn how the operation is so much more than a business, and the limitless medium that is concrete. 

How did you get into the concrete business?

I've been working with concrete most of my career. I started in basic construction and that led into skatepark construction, and I spent 11 years building skateparks. I got really, really involved in understanding how concrete application for skateparks can work. That led me to concrete counters and precast concrete production, so it's been a part of my life pretty much my whole 30-year career. 

What is it that you love about the medium?

Really, and it's in our name, but I love the versatility of it. I love that I can create so many different things in so many different ways. There isn't a limitation to what can be kind of done with custom concrete, that other mediums have. That's what's drawn me to it.

Do you have a dream project in concrete?

I get to do that pretty regularly. I work with designers and collaborate with people with a dream that know enough about the medium to know what's possible. That collaboration is really, really fulfilling. Sitting down at a table and drawing out some ideas, then refining those ideas into something possible, is a really rewarding process. It’s really, really fun. 

Amazing. Every project gets to be a dream.

It sounds kind of tacky but it's true. You have a lot of people with ideas that just can't be realized any other way.

Looking back over the years, is there a remark from a client that really stuck with you that you'll always remember?

Shane Worman of Worman Commercial, who we’ve worked on many complex projects with like concrete precast building entrances, once told me that what he appreciates about us is that we don't limit his imagination. That's stuck with me since he said it and it means there's a lot of pressure on us to try and find a way to make wild things happen, sometimes. But it again goes to that notion that we regularly meet people who have a vision that just can't be realized in any other medium.

You were born and raised in Kelowna, and run this successful business here. What do you love about the Okanagan?

I love Kelowna because it's got so much diversity in the surroundings. We've got an amazing hospital, airport, university and tourism here is fantastic, so we always have a diverse group of people that call Kelowna home. That means that I have a steady stream of clients that want to do interesting things.

What is something you're grateful for right now?

Right now I'm grateful for family. I'm grateful for our kids — they're happy and healthy. COVID definitely made it so we get to spend a lot of time together. So appreciating the ones that you're around is really important at a time like this. 

Work with a custom concrete artisan who won’t limit your imagination. Versatile Concrete has two decades of experience handcrafting precast concrete to bring your vision to life. Contact us through our website or call 778-215-6440 to get started.

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