The Founder


Rick Downs, president & majority owner

Rick DownsATech’s American RTM Homes™ business operating technology and its Enviro System super energy efficient home building system was all developed by Company founder and majority owner, Rick Downs, who began in 1984 in Saskatchewan, Canada to build RTM Homes and develop his proprietary Building System and related RTM Home technology.

Rick believed that energy solutions had to come from using less energy rather than developing new energy sources or alternative technology. From the beginning, as an RTM Home builder and craftsman near Sturgis Saskatchewan, he used the RTM Homes he was selling and building to pioneer and develop a new, unique, and cost effective Building System for super energy efficient construction.

Initially this system was provided to Customers as a “free upgrade” to gain both a competitive sales advantage and the opportunity to build new super energy efficient homes. Later on, in the 1990’s, he created the Enviro System trademark to fully integrate this Building System into his RTM Home Marketing Plan where it was used for both a competitive advantage and to increase profit margins.

During his first 10 years of building Rick took advantage of training programs provided by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Canadian Home Builder Associations to learn the advanced R2000® building science being developed for super energy efficient homes. He obtained his first R2000® Home Builder Certification in 1985, his last in 1994, and was also certified as an R2000® Design Evaluator, R2000® Inspector, and R2000® Air Tightness Evaluator in the mid 1990’s.

Rick also participated in programs by the Heating, Refrigeration, & Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) of Canada to learn the science behind achieving proper Indoor Air Quality in these new air tight homes. He received his first HRAI Residential Ventilation System Installer and Design certifications, based primarily on Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) technology, in 1986, his last in 1995.

Due to the evolving nature of this new building science, it was often necessary to obtain re-certification in the technology fields as ongoing research was being tested and evaluated. Ultimately this Canadian R2000® research became the basis for advanced, super energy efficient home building programs and specifications around the world, including the current Energy Star® Home Programs in both the U.S. and Canada.

For more on the Canadian R2000® Program click here.

Where Rick deviated from other R2000® Builders was in his desire to develop a Building System with standardized production techniques and processes to consistently and cost effectively deliver the desired results - most everywhere. While he obtained certifications and training he did not build Certified R2000® Homes due to the rural nature of the RTM Home business which made certification too costly … and more importantly, so as to protect Enviro System as a Trade Secret.

As actual builder and craftsman Rick was able to develop unique solutions to problems caused by air tightness criteria for super energy efficient homes. These real construction skills also helped him to fully integrate his Enviro System building techniques and processes into a manufacturing environment, and during setup of the Malta Montana facility he worked with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center to perfect many of these processes.

As a builder - designer with architectural training Rick was able to turn many of his solutions for specialized building processes, and the need for whole house air tightness, into Artistic Design Features unique to the Enviro System RTM Homes he was designing and selling. Other Design Features being more commonly offered where often able to be done more cost effectively, or better due to specialized construction processes.

As a designer - builder fully proficient with SoftPlan® CAD software Rick developed new production drawing techniques to address Enviro System non-traditional building processes. These techniques increased worker efficiency by eliminating typical construction site mathematical calculations to reduce common errors while also better integrating Enviro System into a manufacturing environment.

Rick’s advanced work with the SoftPlan® CAD software in the late 1990’s led to a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada sponsored R&D Project. The result of this 4 year project was the BUILDER™ software and his Task Logic™ database, and it was his Supply Chain experience gained by building RTM Homes in Home Center, or retail Building Material Supplier environments, that made much of this developmental work possible.

Rick Downs - innovator, designer, process engineer (manufacturing and software applications), home builder, and craftsman – the guiding force behind ATech’s Enviro System super energy efficient home building system and its American RTM Homes™ business operating technology, including its industry specific Task Logic™ Database.