Phaze 3 Management is a unique asset management and development firm committed to growth and change.
The firm is led by Rick Ekstein – a natural disruptor who invigorates every business, not-for-profit group, industry association and political organization that he touches.
After nearly 40 years building businesses around the world, where currency fluctuations, environmental regulations, freight rates, and trade rules are in constant flux, Rick has mastered the art of spotting future trends, innovating and infusing creative approaches, and staying one step ahead of the competition.
In the most recent phase of Rick’s professional journey, he is focused on growing his personal business portfolio and bringing value to the organizations he supports.
The company name is spelled with a “z” to reflect Rick’s unconventional and creative approach to problem-solving and his exceptional ability to “think outside the box”.
Rick views his life so far as a series of phases.
Phaze 1 – Rick’s formative years as a first generation Canadian were shaped by his parents’ struggles. His father, Frank, escaped Czechoslovakia the day before Hitler closed the border. Rick’s mother, Anita, was hidden by a Polish priest after her parents were killed by the Nazis.
Arriving in Canada with nothing, Rick’s parents met, married and had three children, whom they raised in extremely modest circumstances.
Frank became a minority partner at a small lumber company, where Rick was handed a broom at an early age. By the age of 14, Rick was driving a forklift on weekends and school holidays. At 16, he graduated to driving truck. Rick’s spare time was spent helping Frank with his part time job training and breeding Arabian horses and working on his uncle’s dairy farm. Hard work was at the core of his youth.
Phaze 2 – After graduating from York University with a degree in Political Science, Rick joined his father and purchased the business from the existing owners. Rick’s brother, Peter, followed five years later, and they grew the lumber company from a small local business into one of North America’s leading full service distributors and remanufacturers of softwood and hardwood lumber and specialty panel products. Weston Forest has operated in more than 40 countries on five continents.
“Phaze” 3 – Looking for new challenges, and wanting to give his executive teams a chance to grow, Rick handed over operational control of Weston Forest to his business partners in 2015. He intends to focus the third phase of his life on growing his personal business portfolio and on strengthening the impact of the organizations he supports.