Recently, our Founder and former Chair, Fred J. Reinders, passed away. We have been reflecting on the company that he created and the tremendous legacy that he leaves behind.
Fred grew up in the Netherlands during the war-years and learned many important life and professional lessons from his father, a well-respected local administrator and Christian leader. Trained as a civil engineer specializing in marine construction, he made the brave decision to emigrate to Canada in 1953. Fred married his lifelong love, Jane, in Brockville, Ontario and they were married for 68 years. Fred’s work expanded from coastal and marine engineering to his first entrepreneurial efforts at F.J. Reinders & Associates, a precursor firm to his creation in 1967 of the construction firm that became Maple Reinders.
Integrating constructability into his engineering side and engineering principles into his construction enterprise, Fred began to make a name for himself in both fields. At F.J. Reinders & Associates, he and his team tackled complex projects at Collingwood Shipyards and Port Weller Drydocks. He developed expertise in aviation engineering – and as he was fond of relating in his story-telling – negotiated a major deal to design and construct a large hangar and operations office on just a handshake. His reputation even secured work in the Middle East, designing a hangar and technical centre for Emirates Airlines. Fred made forays into the Canadian Arctic as well. His firm designed and construction managed an award-winning reservoir, the largest ever built in permafrost, in Pangnirtung, Baffin Island.
Maple Engineering & Construction, which evolved into Maple Reinders Constructors, started with small projects like the Cape Croker Dock Rehabilitation. However, soon Fred cleverly developed the company into two primary streams of business: civil/environmental – which encompassed water and wastewater treatment and infrastructure; and institutional/commercial/industrial buildings. The wisdom of this decision has bolstered the company through decades of economic fluctuation, as each line of business trends in opposing directions.
Although an engineer at heart and a man who easily dove into innovations and new technologies, those of us who knew Fred were witnesses to how his Christian faith and values were integral to his business dealings and the work place culture at Maple Reinders. Honesty, integrity, leading through serving and genuine care and concern for all employees weren’t just words on a wall for Fred. These values were lived out and have become the basis of the values through which Maple Reinders operates.
Fred’s deeply held personal belief was that every business relationship was an opportunity to show servant leadership and to be a blessing on our society. This philosophy made him special in the hard-driven, science-minded world of engineering and construction. It’s our intention and commitment to operate his company following the values on which it was founded, and to continue his legacy of philanthropy and ethical practices.
As we bid Fred farewell, we pledge to continue to fulfill the cultural promise of a company that not only bears his name, but demonstrates his love for the adopted country that made his dreams possible.