Arts & EventsHow Krumpers Solar Solutions Came to Be

How Krumpers Solar Solutions Came to Be

How Krumpers Solar Solutions Came to Be

Canada hasn’t always been home for Diana Livshits. How she got here and how she and her husband Yury came to take over Krumpers Solar Solutions is quite a remarkable story.

Diana grew up in Latvia with her mother, father and older brother. Latvia was a free country until the military occupation by the Soviet Union occurred in June 1940.

Diana’s father came from a military family and had a PhD in Fibre-optics but Diana’s family had always wanted to leave Latvia—that was their dream. The newly imposed Soviet system did not allow for freedom, let alone the pursuit of a meaningful life, both from a religious and an individualistic standpoint.

Trouble struck in 1969 when Diana’s father was arrested for participating in a demonstration in support of freedom of immigration from the Soviet Union. He had loaned 100 rubbles to a colleague but after many false accusations, he was officially charged with being “an accessory to a bribe.” He was sentenced to six years in prison.

In 1975, the family was “by fluke,” as Diana puts it, allowed to leave Latvia (the Soviet Union). This, however, was easier said than done. Their process of immigration was long and entailed many steps.

The family went from the USSR to Austria where they were met by an immigration representative and had to decide where they wanted to end up. Their choice was ultimately Canada but in order to make it happen, the family had to travel to Italy and apply to come to Canada. They waited in Italy in the interim for their acceptance.

When their application was accepted, Diana’s family immigrated to Canada.

When they arrived in Toronto each member of the family essentially had to start life all over again. Diana studied at the University of Ottawa, her brother studied at York University and the University of Toronto and her father established a career as the vice president of engineering for a telephone company, Trigild Engineering. Her mother was a doctor in Latvia and was unfortunately not allowed to practice in Canada.

Diana spent some time working at Nortel. She calls her time there “a superb learning ground.”

After some time in Toronto, Diana’s father was offered a new position with Nortel, one he simply could not refuse; Nortel was the Apple of its time. So the family moved to Ottawa.

Much like their immigration to Canada, Diana says taking over Krumpers Solar Solutions with her husband happened by accident.

The house Diana lived in was always at an extreme temperature; it was either boiling hot or freezing cold. There seemed to be no middle ground, let alone consistency. While Diana was visiting a friend in Windsor, her next door neighbour received word of the temperature situation in Diana’s house and gave her blinds for the windows. These weren’t just any blinds, however. These blinds were designed to keep the cold out and the warmth in during the winter and dual-functioned to keep the heat out and the cold in during the summer. These blinds were specially designed to regulate the temperature of any house without obstructing the view from the window.

Yury, Diana’s husband, was very excited about the technology and science of the blinds and bought the rights to this technology. She proudly states, “it really took off from day one.” With her husband’s know-how in engineering and Diana’s background in commerce how could it not!

Since the Livshits opened Krumpers in 2008, they have set up their own manufacturing plant in Ottawa. Looking to the future and down the road for Krumpers, Diana says “we want to keep the manufacturing local, we want to keep it here in Ottawa."

There is a hub of high-tech innovation in Ottawa. The smart technology of Krumpers for window blinds allows for access to a pool of highly skilled individuals that will take Krumpers into the next stage of products that will further increase efficiency in window dressings.

Diana expresses that she and her family are grateful to Canada for taking them in and giving them a better life than they could have hoped for in the Soviet Union. They are therefore “very adamant that we want to keep this Canadian,” Diana says.

Recently Diana’s 11-year-old son Boris did a science project on the blinds. He came to visit a home show where Krumpers was in attendance. While Diana was preoccupied, Boris started speaking with a client about the product. The client asked Boris what he plans to do when he grows up and Boris enthusiastically replied, “I’m Krumpers, the second generation!”

If this is any indication, Krumpers Solar Solutions is sure to stay in the Livshits family for a long time to come. Their journey from Latvia to Canada, and everywhere in between, has remained a part of them and is something their hard work and determination has come to be defined by.

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