Robb Leonhard to lead Viking Masek after brother and co-founder dies

Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies' named its remolded lunchroom after the late Rick Leonhard. The writing on the wall means "Rick's place to be creative and enjoy drinks," written in the creative and funny way that Rick jotted it down on a piece of paper three weeks before he died, Robb Leonhard said. Photo courtesy of Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies.

Last updated on September 1st, 2021 at 12:58 pm

Viking Masek president Robb Leonhard.

Robb Leonhard will lead Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies after his brother Rick Leonhard, the company’s president and co-founder, died in July at the age of 57 following a three-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Rick and Robb Leonhard founded Viking Masek 19 years ago and have since grown the company into a leader in the packaging systems manufacturing space with more than 85 employees across its dual headquarters in Oostburg and the Czech Republic.

The former executive vice-president brings more than 20 years of experience in the industry to his new role as president of Viking Masek. Robb Leonhard says he plans to carry on the legacy of his older brother, who was known for his ability to build relationships, his creativity, and his unwavering demeanor as a leader, he said.

“If we had some adversity in a project, he was that guy that could sit down in a meeting and say, ‘we’re all good,” Robb Leonhard said. “He had a calmness about him even in a storm.”

Viking Masek recently completed a 33,000-square-foot expansion at its Oosburg facility which involved remodeling its lunchroom, a place where employees often found Rick Leonhard mixing drinks for co-workers on Friday afternoons, Robb Leonhard said.

Former Viking Masek president Rick Leonhard.

“Rick was very much liked by our employees,” Robb Leonhard said. “He didn’t do it often, but once every two weeks he would go to our lunchroom, mix drinks, and walk around the company handing out margaritas.”

Written in Rick Leonhard’s creative style of handwriting, a wall in the lunchroom now reads, “Rix Kreatif Liba-Zona,” which stand for “Rick’s place to be creative and enjoy drinks,” Rob Leonhard said, adding that his brother wrote those words on a piece of paper three weeks before he died.

For Robb Leonhard, carrying on Rick Leonhard’s legacy means capturing the same sense of passion his brother had for Viking Masek, its customers, its employees and their families, he said.

“There’s 85 jobs on the line here and their families and of course it’s the same for our customers,” Robb Leonhard said. “That’s what I need to stay focused on. Working with and trusting our people because it really is like family.”

Over the course of the company’s history, Viking Masek has evolved from manufacturing vertical form, fill and seal machines to manufacturing, selling and servicing fully automated packaging systems. Viking Masek focuses on food and non-food markets including coffee, crackers, cannabis and more.

Click here for Rick Leonhard’s obituary.

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