The history of the family company starts at the beginning of the last century. At the late twenties Herman Wilms decided, together with his brother Wiel, to relocate from Twente to Den Helder, as he hoped to find an opportunity for having a good life. Herman Wilms, the grandfather of the current P. Smit B.V. Constructiewerkplaats director, did take-over the blacksmith from Piet Smit in April 1932. This blacksmith was a good craftsman, which was recognised and known within the community. Within the smithy, located in the Krugerstraat, horses were equipped with horseshoes, and agricultural machinery and tools were fabricated and repaired. Due to the good reputation and positive brand awareness Herman Wilms decided during the take-over the company name to remain unchanged. Despite the crisis in the thirties and the following years of war, the company sustained its position. The smithy was slowly but surely transformed into a construction and repair workshop. Several times the building in the Krugerstraat was renovated and expanded, the last time in the sixties of the last century. However, throughout the years new living houses arose around the workshop, which hindered the company to achieve further growth.
Herman Wilms and his wife Dina had three sons, named Piet, Herman, and Jan, who all started working in the company when they completed their school education. The oldest, Piet, and the middle child, Herman, started working in the construction workshop, while Jan took care of all administration in the office. When at the end of the sixties and at the beginning of the seventies the offshore industry was making an entrance into the North Sea, pioneering oil companies and drilling contractors were settling in Den Helder. The son Herman envisaged new opportunities for the company, which was doing already a lot of construction work for several government bodies, like Rijkswaterstaat. Using his relentless enthusiasm he was able to win the trust of companies like Placid, Petroland, and Penrod, which resulted for him to become the figurehead of P. Smit B.V. within the offshore industry. Around 1980 son Herman obtained the overall management from his father. Herman was especially known by his customers for finding clever and pragmatic solutions for all sorts of construction problems. Therefore, it was a shock when he unexpectedly passed away in 1995, as a result of a debilitating disease. Piet Wilms has also passed away and in 1997 Jan Wilms retired from the company.
At first Hermans daughter Lisenka was assisting within the company during various school holiday periods, before she started working fulltime for the company in 1992. She was already very familiar with making quotations, carrying out calculations, and placing purchase orders. She also already knew all clients and suppliers. It was therefore not a surprise she took over the overall management in 1995 from her father, after him suddenly passing away. The dedicated personnel and the faithful customers helped her to find her way in this “man’s world” and under her control the company activities could be continued without any interruption. The offshore industry was en remained the biggest client and still is currently accountable for approximately 70% of all company activities. After a while it became apparent that the old building in the Krugerstraat didn’t meet requirements any longer. It became also too small for the activities and it was located in the middle of a residential area. These were enough reasons to investigate a new build workshop, which was accomplished in 2006 at the industrial estate Kooijpunt in Den Helder. The company was relocated to the Schrijnwerkersweg 7 already on 17 November 2006, which was followed by the official opening on 30 March 2007 en one day later by the 75 year anniversary celebration in a spacious and modern building. Being a token of appreciation for her efforts and entrepreneurship Lisenka van der Wilt-Wilms received on 7 January 2008 from the Helderse Ondernemers Vereniging the award “Entrepreneur of the year 2007”.