Get to know Jeff Riach, President of Oakworks, Inc., which since 1977 has been committed to providing safe, durable, comfortable and ergonomic equipment to industries supporting the health and wellbeing of people all over the globe.
How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?
I have been designing and building massage tables for over 32 years.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
My wife Linda and I moved to a commune after college to pursue our dreams of helping our society move from materialism to a more earth-friendly and spiritual path. During our time there we were introduced to massage by a group that was focused on massage who held a retreat at our facility. At the same time, we had started a wood-working company, and I was teaching solar energy workshops. We fell in love with massage, and the leader of the retreat group asked us to build tables for him and the budding massage industry. Over time, it became our focus and continues to be our major focus today, although we also build hi-tech medical tables and accessories now.
What is your favorite place in the whole world?
Lucky for me, it is a very big place, the ocean. I started body surfing and progressed through surfing and now I windsurf whenever I get a chance. The ocean is a very spiritual place for me.
If you could have any profession in the world, other than what you do now, what would you be?
During college I was a folk singer and guitarist, so I have been playing for almost 40 years. I play for friends now and then during gatherings, but I intend to become more active professionally again, writing and performing original work and supporting causes I believe in.
What is your motto or concept that you live by?
Work hard, play hard, always act ethically and thoughtfully.
What is your most treasured possession?
A 1942 D'Angelico archtop guitar; an amazing instrument with a long history of making music.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
Relaxation massage by someone who knows when to do more, and the value of nurturing.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My marriage. My two daughters getting married this year to wonderful young men, and our business. (Oops, that's three!)
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Stop being afraid of social situations. I read about stars who are really afraid of social situations and I relate. I can be very outgoing, and very insecure at the same time.
Care to share any details on family life; i.e. spouse, partner, children, pets?
I have been married for 33 years to Linda, and we have two daughters, Alissa, 28, and Michelle, 26. No pets at the moment as our two small poodles both died of old age in the last six months; they were 14 and 16.
Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.
I drive a 2000 Honda Insight that I bought 10 years ago, and it gets almost 60mpg on average; I also drive an Audi TT convertible, so I have multiple personalities! I have been anything from a vegan to a lacto-ovo fish-eating semi-carnivore since I was 20 years old. I haven't eaten any meat or fowl since then.