Neudorf a Story of Rags to Riches

Neudorf a Story of Rags to Riches

by Frank Fulton

Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, August 2016 Issue

A Canadian success story

Over the past few years I’ve looked back at the lives and achievements of a number of contributors and entrepreneurs that have influenced our industry. If grades were handed out for rags to riches success stories, Peter Neudorf could very well be at the head of the class.

Peter Neudorf, the elder brother to ten siblings, was born in the small Mennonite community of Neuanlage, Sask., in 1930. At a very early age, Peter had to help out his father, Cornelius, the owner of the local general store, by selling vegetables in the back alleys of Saskatoon. Although Peter was a third generation Canadian, because the family lived in a small isolated rural community he grew up speaking only German. During World War II, Peter’s family moved to the St. Catharines area of Ontario so Cornelius could find work. This would be Peter’s first opportunity to attend an English-speaking school. So imagine, the world was at war with Germany and Peter and his brother Bill showed up at Fairview School speaking only German. The Neudorf boys had to toughen up quickly. Peter says he enjoyed school but was there for a very short time. With a large family and very little money Peter was required to get a job at the age of 12. He worked at area farms for a year before getting a job at Canadian Canners in St. Catharines. All of his hard-earned money was given to his parents, a practice Peter would continue for many years.

Peter was initiated into the glass industry when he got a job at Niagara Glass in 1945. Over the next 11 years he learned the trade, met Theresa, the love of his life, was married, and started a family of seven children. In 1956, Peter decided to open his own glass company and founded Ontario Glass Craftsmen. In large part due to Peter’s hands-on approach, the company became one of the largest glazing contractors in Ontario over the ensuing years.

In 1986, Neudorf was planning to bid on the National Art Gallery project in Ottawa. One of the competing bidders was to be Keith Ferguson of Ferguson Glass. The two men met, decided this job would go better if they combined forces and that collaboration lead to the founding of Ferguson-Neudorf Glass.

Initially one would think this an odd couple: Keith was a university graduate with a business degree, Peter a self-educated, hands-on glazing contractor. Keith took a calculated and methodical approach, Peter a “grab the bull by the horns” and “shoot from the hip” approach. However, together they combined a set of skills that launched an organization that would become amongst the leading North American companies in the field of curtainwall and skylight construction.

Over the past 30 years, Ferguson-Neudorf has steadliy grown in both ability and size. Today they operate out of two facilities with their main plant and head office in Beamsville and an assembly plant near Fort Erie totaling 270,000 square feet with up to 300 employees. Between the two plants there are 10 glazing lines capable of producing in excess of one hundred modules of custom curtainwall a day.

Keith Ferguson passed away in 2010 and the Neudorf family purchased all his shares. “Out of a deep respect for Keith, his name will always remain in the company’s name,” says Jeff Neudorf, president. To this day, Peter still comes to the office every day of the week and walks the floor of both facilities two or three times a week, but it’s the sons: Jeff, John, Bill, Peter Jr., and nephew Danny who now do all the heavy lifting. When talking of the great Canadian entrepreneurs who have made an impact in our industry ,and great Canadian success stories in general, Peter Neudorf is most certainly there amongst them.

Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via email at

OGMA Newsletter – August 2016

It is with great sadness that we bring the news of the passing of our long time friend and industry colleague, Jim Epworth, founder of Upper Canada Glass in Oak Ridges, Ont.  Jim left us in his 84th year on June 11 and is survived by Joyce, his wife of 62 years, sons Howard and […]

OGMA Newsletter – June 2016

The legal review of the Construction Lien Act has been ongoing but the review group requested another extension to the end of April 2016. Prompt Payment Ontario has begun the lobby effort by mailing letters to all MPPs requesting their release of the report to PPO and to a timely vote in provincial parliament.  A […]

Are You Ready for AODA?

by Frank Fulton Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, June 2016 Issue Accommodating Disability Not long ago I attended the Top Glass Conference and Exhibits show in Mississauga, Ont., put on by Glass Canada and spent the day between manning the OGMA booth and schmoozing with visitors, exhibitors, old and new customers and former employees. […]

Update on Glass Supply Challenges

In March 2015, OGMA released a bulletin to its members to make them aware that glass supply was anticipated to become a challenge and more costly due to double-digit increases in demand in the United States, the reduction of glass production capacity in North America, an escalating U.S. dollar, and a severe shortage of transportation […]

OGMA Newsletter – April 2016

The legal review of the Construction Lien Act is now well underway and the review group was to have prepared their recommendations for submission to the Ontario government by the end of March 2016. The OGMA has teamed up with the Prompt Payment Ontario (PPO) group to represent our interests in bringing fair payment terms […]

Fred Fulton: Entrepreneur and Gentleman – Part III

by Frank Fulton Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, April 2016 Issue In my previous two columns I told you about Fred Fulton’s early days in Toronto, his beginnings in the industry with Pilkington Glass, the start up of Sealite Glass, and the establishment of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada. Sealite Glass was […]

Fred Fulton: Entrepreneur and Gentleman – Part II

by Frank Fulton Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, February 2016 Issue The early days of insulating glass in Canada were like the wild west. There were no standards, very limited technical knowledge, and upstart companies were beginning to spring up mindlessly slapping pieces of glass together and selling them to an unwitting public. The […]

OGMA Newsletter – February 2016

The legal review of the Construction Lien Act is now well underway, an information package has been completed by the legal review group for distribution, and the review group is preparing their recommendations for the Ontario  government.  Their submission has been delayed until March, 2016. The OGMA has teamed up with the Prompt Payment Ontario […]

Ontario Construction Lien Act Review Information Update

There has been a lot of activity over the past few months and a mountain of documentation, reports, and information has been compiled. We are providing this update on what has transpired to keep members informed. Prompt Payment Ontario (PPO), the consortium of trade associations that the Ontario Glass & Metal Association has partnered with, […]