Open for business as “Walters Welding and Iron Works” on Upper Wellington Street in Hamilton – shop 20’ x 40’. Primary activity was ornamental iron for residential properties, porch handrails, fire escapes, equipment repairs.
Dutch marine contractor Boskalis comes to dredge Hamilton Harbor and Walters Welding quickly becomes the fabrication and maintenance partner. This puts Walters Welding on the road to becoming a respected industrial contractor. Industrial work becomes the mainstay of the enterprise’s existence for decades to come.
Having outgrown its twice expanded Wellington Street facility, Walters relocates to 1318 Rymal Road East. This location expanded and reconfigured many times to suit changing work conditions. It remains an important fabrication facility in Walters Group and its head office address.
Key markets through the 70’s remain local heavy industrial clients, as well as local general contractors. Work primarily focuses on the Hamilton area plus a number of federal prison projects in the Kingston, Ontario area.
The economic recession of the early 80’s hits Hamilton hard. Walters responds by rebranding itself as Walters Inc. and begins to seek work outside its home market. Key successes are expanding its industrial presence into the Pittsburgh steel industry.
Founder Walter Koppelaar Sr. retires and passes the reins to eldest son Nicholas Koppelaar. The company begins to modernize and introduce state-of-the-art CNC fabrication technology.
Nicholas Koppelaar retires from his tenure as President, and his youngest brother Walter Koppelaar takes over.
Computerized detailing is introduced in Walters engineering offices. Within 12 months, most drafting boards are replaced and Walters’ journey towards its leading position in the use of 3D technology is established – a position it remains proud of to this day.
Walters acquires a fabrication facility in Allenport, Ontario and “Plant 2” comes on-line to support its growing workload.
Walters acquires a new greenfield campus and opens a state-of-the-art fabrication and coatings facility in Princeton, Ontario.
Walters starts building a relationship with Metropolitan Metals of Manhattan, NY and ultimately Metropolitan Walters LLC is born. Metropolitan Walters develops a reputation for outstanding and innovative performance on some of New York City’s more challenging projects.
Walters becomes involved with Intelligent Engineering of London, UK for the purpose of promoting its SPS technology. Ultimately, Walters becomes a shareholder of SPS North America and actively pursues opportunities to incorporate this innovative technology. The first project where Walters makes use of the technology is on the renovation of Carnegie Hall in NYC.
Walters acquires a minority stake in Feature Factory and Feature Walters is born. Walters subsequently acquires 100% in the company and today Feature Walters is a highly prized asset in Walters Group family. Feature Walters has a broad portfolio ranging from public art installations, highly detailed architectural interiors, modular construction, and building features. A major recent project was the completion of 90 prefabricated class A washroom modules for The BOW Tower in Calgary, AB. These included all granite work, back painted glass, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical components.
Walters opens a fabrication facility in Hamilton’s industrial core. The Queen Street plant replaces the Allenport plant and provides 75 tons of lift capacity. It is equipped to fabricate heavy plate work.
Walters becomes a partner in Steel Construction Group, a recognized authority in the management of offshore fabrication with offices in Shanghai. The company provides logistic support and quality assurance for all materials procured.
Walters relocates its Queen Street facility to larger quarters in Stoney Creek, Ontario. The new facility provides lifting capacity of 150 tons and also houses the company’s in house training facility which it operates in partnership with Mohawk College of Hamilton.
Feature Walters team relocates to the Walters Group Hamilton head office to become more fully integrated into Walters Group family.
Walters Group invests in Qnect software. Walters Group becomes an investor in Qnect LLC, a software development company that automates connection engineering, as a strategic partner. Walters will assist Qnect’s vision to be the world’s premiere resource for advanced connection engineering.
Walters Group completes a significant minority acquisition of ownership of US company Dave Steel Company, Inc. Dave Steel Company is a family-owned business with a long history in steel fabrication dating back to 1929. With two plants, one in North Carolina, and one in South Carolina, they provide steel fabrication for both commercial and industrial projects. Their capabilities, solid reputation in the industry, and strong culture made Dave Steel Company a natural fit for Walters Group.