"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels..."

Einstein

Posted on 12 August 2016 by Jim Wilkes

As the great Steve Jobs highlighted, “You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…”. Will Lomax, Onguard’s Founder and Technical Director, is intent on changing things too. He would have got on well with the late Steve Jobs. Both men share a love of superb aesthetics and quality design. Both men demand excellence and both have a proven appetite for challenge. Bringing Onguard Seismic Systems to life has demanded the astute use of, and commitment to, all of these traits. It’s a salient point, because pushing the edge isn’t for everyone. In fact, most people deliberately step away from edges of every kind. That’s why changing anything isn’t easy.

The catalyst for changing the way wine tanks are protected came from Will and Onguard’s engineering team working alongside Marlborough winery owners while assessing the damage to their wineries after the 2013 earthquakes. Delivering the news on expensive repairs and seeing the resultant pain and frustration on owners’ faces focuses the mind. It was patently obvious the failure of traditional systems was demanding a better engineering response, and now, so were owners. Team Onguard responded by designing an innovative, more capable and significantly better seismic system. In doing so, they’ve changed things. A better mouse trap is here. Their new system is rapidly becoming the default specification for savvy structural engineers and risk averse winery owners.

The highlight for the company in 2016 has been setting up the operation in hustling, bustling, and ultra-cool San Francisco. California dreaming is no longer a dream. It’s now reality and proves yet again that a ‘can-do’ and ‘will-do’ attitude helps New Zealand firms punch well above their weight. That said, there’s more to being innovative than just having a great idea. Any idea needs believers, and businesses need their believers to prove their belief by becoming paying customers. Winery owners are certainly doing just that and as a result Onguard is in growth mode. Successfully crossing the pacific the company has installed the new system into the premium Kenwood Vineyards in Sonoma, California.

Kenwood Vineyards was established in the 1970’s. They were a pioneer then, and after 46 vintages, they’re still a pioneer. This time they’re showing their pioneering spirit by becoming an early adopter of Onguard’s new seismic technology. Not surprisingly, pioneers have a habit of being first, and pioneers generally ‘get’ other pioneers. Kenwood’s winning philosophy is built around an uncompromising commitment to producing the very best wine. Onguard’s philosophy is built around an uncompromising commitment to producing the very best protection for that wine.

Onguard has been an upstart with attitude right from the beginning, and like all upstarts, it wouldn’t lie down when it was told to by those who wanted to believe the world is still flat. Onguard engineers knew there had to be a better way to protect wine tanks from earthquakes and they were the first company to really stand up and challenge the status quo. Not satisfied with the traditional approach to protecting customer’s wine tanks they came up with a completely new approach, and in doing so have created the ultimate safeguard.