Unilock founder dies

February 5, 2021 -  By
Please Fill Out The Following Fields.

Ed Bryant (Photo: Unilock)

Ed Bryant, 85, founder of Unilock, passed away at his home in Horseshoe Valley, Ontario, Canada on Jan. 28, 2021.

Born on Nov. 30, 1935, in Edmonton, Bryant spent his early years in Alberta. After two years at the University of British Columbia, he enlisted in the military and was eventually stationed overseas. Upon returning, he worked in B.C. and Alberta on the pipelines with Mannix, a career path that ultimately brought him to Toronto where he received training in a new innovation called “computers.” He used this knowledge to help create one of the first companies (Global Travel Computer Services) to offer computerized booking systems to the travel industry.

A ‘happenchance’ encounter while Bryant was building his home in Horseshoe Valley led him to set the wheels in motion for an entirely new market, now known as the North American Hardscape Industry. A Swiss stonemason who worked with Bryant on his Horseshoe Valley home convinced him that paving stones were the answer for his sloped driveway. Unfortunately, at the time, no one in North America was manufacturing paving stones. To Bryant, this seemed like an intriguing opportunity, and soon the company that would become Unilock was born.

With the help of his new friend, Fritz von Langsdorff, Bryant raised the capital to purchase a new Hess multi-layer machine and began producing one product (UNI-Stone) in one color (natural), at scale. In Ontario, immigrants from Holland and Germany took an interest in becoming paver installation contractors. Ed’s company helped train them, promoting the German DIN standard for pavers to ensure the quality of installations.

Ed Bryant and Fritz von Langsdorff purchased a Hess multi-layer machine and began producing one UNI-Stone in one color at scale. (Photo: Unilock)

Ed Bryant and Fritz von Langsdorff purchased a Hess multi-layer machine and began producing one UNI-Stone in one color at scale. (Photo: Unilock)

In the late 1970s, Bryant and Langsdorff traveled to the U.S. and formed the Uni-Group, first uniting companies who had purchased licenses to manufacture the UNI-Stone, and then adding other unique paver shapes.

Soon, Bryant had evolved Unilock from a manufacturing company to a marketing organization with full-color product catalogs, installation videos, advertising campaigns and programs such as the Unilock Authorized Contractor program. In the 1980s, additions were made to manufacturing plants in Ontario, and new locations were opened in Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, and New York, followed by Cleveland and Boston in the 1990s.

In 2012, Bryant received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a rare honor bestowed upon Canadians for significant achievements, in recognition of his business success and philanthropy.

Using the skills and principles that he honed in the military, Unilock said Bryant was the kind of leader who inspired ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things. In the early days of this industry, he was mindful to ensure that his success never came at the expense of others.

He ensured that win/win relationships were built with customers, suppliers and partners so that many people benefited from the new ground he was breaking. In Unilock, he and Heather created a culture that feels like an extended family, a company with heart and soul.

Friends and family are invited to share condolences, photo tributes and stories at this memorial webpage. In lieu of flowers, the Bryant family encourages those interested to direct donations to the Answering TTP Foundation or to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

This article is tagged with and posted in Design/Build+Installation

Comments are currently closed.