Past, Present and Future
Although Acrobat Projects was created in 2006, our family roots in the industry are deep.
From a multigenerational farming background, three generations ago the greenhouse became accessible to farmers. We were involved.
Two generations ago, automation entered the greenhouse in the Netherlands. We were involved.
Two generations ago, automated greenhouses entered the North American market. We were involved.
Today and into the future, where sustainable food production is both necessary and feasible, we proudly continue to be involved.
How it began with growing cucumbers
Adelbertus (Bert) van den Ende (left) buys a parcel of farmland in Den Hoorn in Holland and start growing cucumbers under “Platglas” (low level greenhouses with peak height variation from 60 – 120cm).
How greenhouse structures developed
The first walk-in, wooden, gutter connected greenhouse was built on the farm. Soon after, the first vent motors were installed with timer control.
Four sons continued as growers of which the oldest, Andre, founded Royalpride together with sons Koert and Bart who continue the grower tradition.
Early years of computer developments
Al worked as apprenticeship installer for H.Hoogendoorn B.V., an electrical contractor for greenhouses.
Under ownership and management of Henk Hoogendoorn and Gé Bentvelsen the first Hoogendoorn greenhouse computer, TUCO, was introduced.
Second greenhouse computer installation in Canada
Al, left the greenhouse industry and worked in the Electrical Design department of International, Stone & Webster Engineering, Rijswijk, Holland
Then immigrated to Canada and worked for Stone & Webster in Toronto, Canada
Prior to Priva opening their North American office in Grimsby Ontario, Al, took several weeks leave of absence to install the second ever Priva Computer in Canada (the first a week earlier in British Columbia), at Westland Greenhouses in Jordan Station Ontario.
This installation was for his brother in-law and Canadian greenhouse farming pioneer Peter Van Beurden, whose sons Neil and Mike carry on the tradition today.
Beginning Jan 1, 1985, Al did the installation work of Priva computers, under employment of electrical installation contractor Albert Vanderploeg (later Plantech).
‘16 keys’ keyboard of first Priva computers
Joining an International company, importing Dutch technologies
Al joined the newly established Canadian division of Priva Computers Inc. (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada) as service technician.
He eventually established his own department, growing into the role of Logistics & Production manager.
Al started and grew the computer integration shop, building combination panels to ship across North America.
At an early point Al recognized that in North America, compared to the Netherlands, the land distances, combined with the markets lack of experience around Greenhouse systems, made computer commissioning a challenge.
Priva would benefit to offer a more integrated solution and of course their customers would too.
Independence through Acrobat Projects
Al began self employment under the company name iSPECS Inc., later to become Acrobat Projects Inc.
Al had a vision to bring independence to the greenhouse grower. Independence to choose the computer they wanted and get the best panels available.
Soon after, he was joined by Mike Galenkamp, his trusted right-hand man at Priva NA.
Mike brought with him a wealth of experience and greenhouse knowledge, built on the foundation of a solid technical education.
He continues to be an integral contributor to the culture at Acrobat Projects. The drive to always do better.
In 2015 Al van den Ende and Mike Galenkamp received the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the category Technological Entrepreneur…read more
In 2018, Al’s son Mark joined the company. Mark, who is a Master Electrician, had spent years as a project manager, installing electrical/control systems in greenhouses.
He has a strong understanding how they are built from the ground up, on time and on budget.
In 2020, Mark was handed the reigns to steer Acrobat Projects and he enthusiastically drives the business forward.