Al Klar’s success with Range Rider Truck Canopy Specialists and his involvement in the community and region were recognized recently as he received a Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Klar immigrated to Canada from India in 1972 and started Range Rider in Summerland in 1983.
Setting up a business during the recession of the early 1980s was difficult and the first five years were a challenge for Range Rider.
“It was a tough economic time, but we worked very hard,” he recalled.
Over the years, the truck canopy manufacturing business has expanded. In the late 1990s, Range Rider was able to set up in the United States.
At that time, the value of the Canadian dollar had dropped against the U.S. dollar, making Canadian products and exports attractive to the American market.
“The Canadian dollar in the 1990s definitely helped us grow,” he said. Today, the company continues to sell its canopies in the U.S. and in western Canada.
In addition to his work with Range Rider, Klar has been involved with the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the Economic Development Commission.
He is also on the board of the University of British Columbia — Okanagan and is the chair of the Summerland University Committee.
In 2002, a 27-hectare parcel of land was set aside for a campus in Summerland, in an arrangement with Okanagan University College.
Shortly after that time, the university college split into UBC — Okanagan and Okanagan College. A Summerland campus has not yet been created, although Klar remains optimistic.
“I haven’t given up hope,” he said. “We will keep trying until something happens. Projects of this size take time.”