PFG production worker Mohit Sharma picks up finished glass from a tempering machine at the Langley factory. Over the years the company has grown from a small family business into an operation employing more than 100 people. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

TODAY: Black Press career fair in Abbotsford

How a small Langley company pulled off a dramatic pivot to become a major glass manufacturer

Today’s Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair is being hosted at the Abbotsford Centre between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Attendees are urged to dress for success and to bring a handful of resumes. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

When PFG Glass started up, it was a small, father-and son business that delivered glass to commercial clients using a second-hand crane truck.

But they delivered faster than anyone else, company operations manager Ryan Nielsen explained.

“Everyone else, it was three days,” Nielsen recalled. “I said, I’ll deliver it in one.”

It became a guiding principle, “service above and beyond” and it fuelled their expansion from a small home office into bigger premises.

But what really kickstarted growth was a change a few decades ago that could have been a crisis, new building regulations that required more energy-efficient and safer glass.

That kind of technology was beyond the ability of the overseas glass manufacturers the Nielsens and other Canadian distributors dealt with.

READ ALSO: CAREER FAIR: Langley company keeps traffic moving

So they decided to start making their own.

“We had no choice,” Nielsen said.

It was a reverse of the usual path that sees success obtained though importing product from other countries with lower production costs, and it paid off.

From a small home office with only eight employees, including Nielsen, his brother Steve and their dad, Ole, PFG has expanded into a 125,000 sq. ft factory in Glocester Industrial Estates with more than 100 workers.

“And we’re bursting,” Nielsen said.

They have grown to the point where they hired their first human resources manager, Kristine Fay, three years ago.

Fay said the company is looking for people with a good work ethic who can handle physically demanding work.

“We’re willing to train,” Fay said.

PFG likes to promote from within, and with its rapid growth, there are lots of opportunities, she said.

“We like to be able to cross-train, so people don’t get stagnant,” she said.

It’s latest upgrade will be an OSSE (Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence) certification, that company is expecting to achieve soon.

“We’re still learning,” Ryan Nielsen said. “Always figuring things out.”

Since the shift into manufacturing, he and his brother have amended the company guiding principles to aim for “service and quality above and beyond.”

If that tag sounds a little like the battle cry of a certain animated hero, Ryan Nielsen said that may have something to do with the fact that he and his brother both had small children at the time and were watching a lot of cartoons, over and over.

PFG is just one of more than 60 businesses – such as EV Logistics in Langley, Canopy Growth Corporation, Retirement Concepts, RCMP and Protech Traffic Control Ltd. — taking part in the Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, is being held at the Abbotsford Centre at 33800 King Rd. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

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Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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