Karel Velan, founder of major Canadian valve manufacturer Velan, has passed away. Born in Poland in 1918, Mr Velan’s death came just a few months before his 100th birthday.
According to a statement from the company, Mr Velan peacefully passed away in his sleep while being treated for complications related to pneumonia at Montreal General Hospital.
Mr Velan grew up in Zywiec, Poland. Following the Second World War, he completed his Master of Engineering studies at the University of Brno in what was then Czechoslovakia.
When communists seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, Mr Velan, his wife Olga and their two sons fled the country, initially settling in Switzerland before immigrating to Canada in 1949. In 1950 he founded Velan Engineering in Montreal, soon patenting an innovative bimetallic steam trap.
In 1954 Mr Velan oversaw the establishment of the company’s first overseas manufacturing plant, while in 1956 he began travelling extensively to establish the company’s network of overseas distributors.
Since then Velan has grown to become a major international company for the construction of industrial valves, employing over 1900 people and manufacturing in nine countries on three continents.
A statement from Velan describes how Mr Velan remained involved in company operations late into his life, continuing to regularly visit the office until he was 96 years old.
More information about Karel Velan’s remarkable life is available on the Velan website.