Lifetime Achievement Alumni 2002 William (Bill) Vermeer

Join us as we a look back at our Lifetime Achievement Award alumni of the past 25 years. These outstanding individuals have truly left an indelible mark on Niagara and have inspired countless other entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Niagara.

Over the last 24 years, NEYA has inducted 33 entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame by bestowing them with this prestigious recognition. Click here to see a complete list of our Lifetime Achievement Alumni and join us on March 1, 2019 as we bestow a new group of deserving entrepreneurs with this honour at our 25th Anniversary Awards Gala at the Fallsview Casino Resort.

Tickets for the 25th annual Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala to be held March 1, 2019 at the Fallsview Casino Resort are now on sale. Tickets are limited, so order early!


Bill Vermeer came to Canada from Holland in 1952 with a background in greenhouse growing. Upon his arrival, he deferred his childhood dreams of owning his own greenhouse business to support his family by working factory and construction jobs. In 1959, he had the opportunity to return to his greenhouse roots, and was employed by Westbrook Greenhouses Limited. He quickly became a partner and acquired 100% ownership in 1971.

The company continued to expand its production area, ventured into the floral wholesale distribution side of the industry and ultimately began designing and manufacturing greenhouses and greenhouse operating systems.

The company also took a partnership interest in two New York State corporations to support its production and marketing efforts. Thus The Westbrook Group of Companies was formed and is today considered a leader in the North American floriculture industry. As an industry leader, Bill has always shared his talents and resources for the benefit of the entire industry. He has served on floral industry committees at both the provincial and federal levels and as President of Flowers Canada, Ontario. He has supported industry education, research and development with his involvement at the Horticultural Research Institute in Vineland, the University of Guelph and Niagara College. He is also a founding supporter of the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation and the Canadian Greenhouse Conference.

In addition to his industry involvement, Bill has been a member of the Niagara Regional Development Corporation, supported numerous activities within the Town of Grimsby and is an active member of his church community. Bill has received a Cecil Delworth Research Foundation “Living Tribute” award for his lifetime contribution to the Canadian Floriculture Industry and the Bicentennial Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to enterprising entrepreneurs in our community who have significantly impacted the development of economic ventures in Niagara. Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients are individuals who have spent several decades of their lives shaping Niagara, building a legacy, and contributing positively to our community. Save the date and join us on March 1, 2019 for NEYA’s 25th Anniversary Awards Gala.