Patrick Roth: Swiss Precision at its Finest

By: Denise Deveau

Ask Patrick Roth how he became a hydronic specialist, and he’ll tell you it was a decision that took him by surprise. Back when he was in his native Switzerland he wanted to go into the hospitality industry. “I was two weeks into my apprenticeship and decided I didn’t like it.”

As luck would have it, a friend’s dad owned a plumbing business and asked him to help out. “And I’ve been doing it ever since.”

He worked in Switzerland for four years, and came to Canada on September 1, 2000. Since then, he’s managed and completed hydronic installations all over the Okanagan region. His passion is in the design and coordination of hydronic projects. “I like all aspects of building these funky piping systems and seeing them work.” These days as a project manager, Roth is spending less time on the road, although he’s had his fair share of onsite experience. “Every plumber gets soaking wet at least once in their lives − that’s certainly happened to me! I also remember a great project in Revelstoke that had practically everything for a huge hydronic system. It was a beautiful job to work on.”

He’s happiest tackling residential projects because it gives him the opportunity to design systems the exact way he likes. “In commercial jobs they just give the designs to you.”

Roth describes himself as a constant learner. “When new things come on the market that I think I can use, I will try it if there’s a benefit to the customer. Sometimes things really work, other times you fall flat on your nose.”


Weirdest story from on the job: Won’t say on the grounds it might incriminate me

Canadian certifications: Red Seal in 2004, TECA Hydronic System Design from BCIT in 2010

 Favourite class: Geography

Service area: Okanagan region

Most useful tool in his toolbox: Love pliers – I have a bunch for sure

Favourite tool: ProPress system – definitely the best invention ever

Tool you wish you had: Battery-operated Milwaukee cutter

 Favourite band: Guns N’ Roses

3 albums that you’d take with you to a desert island: Use Your Illusion II (Guns N’Roses), What’s the Story Morning Glory (Oasis) and Carolina (Eric Church)

Best Concert: John Hyatt

Favourite actor: Kevin Costner

Favourite movie of all time: Braveheart

Favourite sport: Soccer

Favourite season: Summer, without a doubt

Favourite car of all time: My next F-350

Favourite place to hang out: Anywhere outdoors

 Favourite activity: Hiking

 Favourite restaurant: The Train Station Pub in Kelowna

Favourite drive-thru restaurant: Timmy’s to pick up a steeped tea double double

Favourite local lunch haunt: Helmuts Sausage Kitchen

 Last book read: Swiss Watching

Favourite website: Gotta be Google…right?

Biggest pet peeves: People who are late

Pets: A labradoodle called Louis, like the French king

If you could be an animal, what would you be and why? A dog – they’ve got it pretty good

One word that describes you: Dependable

If you could meet anyone who would it be? Barrack Obama

 My rule of thumb is: Do it right

If I had a million dollars: I would invest in my children’s education


The European connection

It seems only natural Patrick Roth would take to hydronic installation and design. “Hydronics is pretty big in Europe. They’re not used to using forced air.”

So how did a Swiss hydronic specialist end up designing systems in British Columbia? “I met my wife at a fishing lodge where she was working, while on holiday with my parents in Lac la Hache (BC). We became good friends.” And the rest is history.

While waiting the year for his Canadian certification, Roth filled the time doing emergency plumbing service calls. House calls weren’t exactly his cup of tea, he says, but “coming here as an immigrant, I had to find some work to get going.”

Being Swiss and having solid hydronic credentials has proven to be a big advantage since he joined Ace 15 years ago. “I’m the only one in the office, other than my boss, that works on hydronic design. It’s been like coming home.”