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Richard Lovat
LOVAT developed patented methods of increasing productivity and maximizing safety for tunnel workers.

Richard Lovat

RICHARD LOVAT-PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF LOVAT INC.
Richard (Riccardo) LOVAT was born in 1928 in a village near Sedico, in the province of Belluno, within the Veneto region of Italy. It was in Belluno that he attended the Instituto Tecnico Industriale di Belluno, a technical school and became a mechanic.

As the fourth generation of LOVAT miners, Richard became fascinated with tunnelling and underground excavation at a very early age. His father, grandfather, great grandfather, and uncles were all involved in the tunnelling industry.

Richard's first job in the tunnelling business was at the age of 16, when tunnelling was accomplished using very basic tools-sledgehammers and picks. Between 1944 and 1949, he gained valuable experience in tunnel construction as a labourer and later on as a foreman.

Between 1949 and 1951 Richard first worked in Switzerland as an Electrician and eventually, following several promotions within the same field, as an Electrical Foreman. However, due to the lack of foreseeable advancement to his career, he headed for Canada envisioning greater opportunities.

Richard arrived in Canada as a skilled mechanic able to communicate fluently in Italian, French and German. From 1951 to 1963, he worked in various capacities for an underground construction contractor in Toronto, who serviced southern and northern Ontario.

Starting out as a Mechanic he was promoted to the positions of Mechanical Foreman, Mechanical Superintendent, Site Mechanical Foreman, and Site Superintendent. It was through these positions that Richard developed innovative excavating methods, designing and fabricating equipment to meet difficult tunnelling conditions.

In 1963, Richard founded Richard's Machinery and Repair Ltd., which provided repairs to heavy equipment and the custom fabrication of tunnelling equipment. He immediately began testing various ideas for boring equipment, and eventually developed his own technology for Tunnel Boring Machines. During the first year of the company's operation, Richard designed and built his first Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for a sewer project in Welland.

Lovat Tunnel Equipment Inc. (LOVAT) was formed in 1972 to meet the growing need for greater efficiency of tunnelling operations. In addition to the design and manufacture of TBMs, LOVAT developed patented methods of increasing productivity, and maximizing safety for tunnel workers. The company also began providing consulting services to tunnel contractors.

The first TBM to be fabricated under the LOVAT name was the fifteenth 
such machine Richard built. The seventh machine that Richard built under the LOVAT name was shipped to Catania, Italy for a water project, and marked LOVAT's entry into the Global marketplace.

Since Richard first developed this equipment, over 200 of these machines have been designed and built for tunnels, subways and sewage systems around the world. More than 95% of the TBMs sold are export sales. LOVAT has managed to withstand, and even prosper through, troubling economic times due to Richard's insightful conviction that global expansion is the key to success.

LOVAT has now worked on such projects as the Washington DC and Caracas subway systems, coal mines and dam drainage tunnel in Canada, water systems in the UK, penstock tunnel in Switzerland, cable tunnel beneath the Barrajas airport in Spain, super collider tunnel in Russia and a drainage system beneath the Vatican City. The capabilities of this equipment have earned Richard and the company much acclaim, including acknowledgement in the Guinness Book of Records for being the fastest tunnel drilling equipment in the world, and two world records for wedge block tunnel lining.

LOVAT is now a forerunner in its field, supplying tunnelling equipment worldwide and successfully competing with all major tunnelling manufacturers, namely those of Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Please forward your ideas for other people who deserve recognition for their contribution to our industry to the editor.

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Copyright 2000 Tunnelling Association of Canada - Modified: May 31, 2000