Paving a Path for the Future: John Pankiw’s Legacy
Paving a Path for the Future: John Pankiw’s Legacy

Paving a Path for the Future: John Pankiw’s Legacy

John Pankiw is well known in our community as the founder of Cantex Group of Companies. Many also know that his dedication to his business is matched by his dedication to philanthropy. Through his devotion to his profession, he helped build many highways and rural airports throughout BC including the Coquihalla Highway, and through his devotion to his community, John Pankiw laid the groundwork for positive change.

John entered the construction world at a young age, starting his career in highway construction at just 16 years old. In these early years of his career, his job took him all around British Columbia and Alberta. After seven years in the field, he returned to complete his high school education and went on to the University of Alberta, where he received his degree in Civil Engineering.

His work brought him back to BC, and in 1967 he was transferred to Penticton as District Highway

In 1971, John founded his own construction company, Cantex, which started with only two employees (including himself). Over the next five decades, his company grew into a multifaceted enterprise with divisions in construction, gravel crushing, paving, and mining services.

Though he is now retired, John remains a guiding force within his company, trusting the reins to capable successors while continuing to impart his wisdom. The same philosophy extends to his philanthropy – a forward-thinking approach aimed at leaving a lasting impact.

John has been a member of the Rotary Club of Penticton for over 50 years, and served for several years as the Club’s New Projects Chairman, guiding the club to support initiatives such as the running track for the local high school, the Soupateria expansion and the first Skaha Lake Splash Park. Beyond the Club’s activities, he has made personal contributions to the SOS Medical Foundation, notably towards initiatives and programs that support local frontline staff.

In the early 1990s, John’s friend and fellow Rotarian, Rory McIvor approached him about starting a Community Foundation for Penticton and its surrounding areas. Inspired by McIvor’s vision, John became one of the founding donors of what is now the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen, with hopes of building a sustainable financial resource for future community needs.

John’s most recent gift, an incredible $4 million donation to the Community Foundation, truly embodies
his spirit of giving. With a keen eye towards the future, John created an Endowment Fund with his
donation, which will generate annual grants to support local charities. “I consider it a privilege to be able
to create a family legacy that will benefit our community in perpetuity,” said Pankiw.

“All the communities in our region are dear to me. The lake, the people, and the communities are what
makes this region what it is. I hope that I can be a part of supporting the various needs of these
communities, and when I’m no longer able to manage it, I know it will be in good hands” said Pankiw.

John Pankiw’s legacy is not just one of bricks and mortar, but one of vision, care, and unwavering
dedication to the common good. And as his story continues to unfold, so too does the impact of his