The First 40 Years
Wilfred Hendrikus, born April 2, 1959, son of Arnold and Diny Groenestege, Dutch immigrants to Canada. This is his story.
Fred was born and raised on a dairy farm north of Rostock. With 8 other siblings there was always something going on. His creativity was nurtured at a young age as he and his brother, Andy, were constantly making games and toys to play with. Also, there was always some piece of equipment or vehicle that needed fixing or “MacGyvering” with what was on hand, to get the work done.
Fred was smart enough and he loved math and problem solving. He was very inquisitive and loved taking things apart to see how they worked. Then put them back together again. But his attitude and quick wittedness got him in a lot of trouble going through school. His homeroom shop teacher in high school told him that he would be the least likely to succeed. Something Fred never forgot. I believe it was the fuel behind his passion to be the best at what ever he did.
Fred really wanted to be a farmer but needed money to get started. Therefore, when John Vander Hyden asked Fred and his best friend, Jim Houben to work together doing time and material projects of renovations and improvements for farmers. He jumped at the opportunity.
It was only meant to be a short time, Jim and John had other interests. However, people kept calling and it was busier then ever. It was just hard to quit, so Fred carried on, committed to finishing some projects. That, and he got to liking “building stuff”. Thus, the beginning of Fred Groenestege Construction Limited in 1978.
As time marched on, Fred realized a need for someone to focus on swine facilities with a strong understanding in ventilation, manure handling and animal flow. He came up with ideas and creative ways of addressing those areas that are still the foundation of our plans today.
Farming progressed and changed, farms became larger and so the need for bigger more complex facilities was in demand. Fred knew we had to grow and followed with the times. We had a hardworking bunch of guys who cared about quality. He just needed to offer our customers more. He added more options to quotes, details to drawings, included preliminary work, site plans and helped customers navigate the permit process such as nutrient management plans. Times were good and farming was flourishing and so were we. At one point, we had just over 100 employees.
There was a turn in the market and he had to change once more to keep up with the times. He diversified into other types of livestock buildings, light industrial and commercial markets. He was also busy for a 10 year period in Russia teaching them about swine housing and how to build facilities.
When asked what has contributed to his success over the past 40 years, his answer is “pride of workmanship”. The key is working hard and doing it well. He has built our company on relationships through honesty and integrity. He is not the cheapest, always putting quality over profit. His customers will get value for their dollar. His buildings stand the test of time.
Together since Grade 10
4842 LINE 34 (HWY 8 W) SEBRINGVILLE, ON N0K 1X0