Contributed/South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation
PENTICTON - John Pankiw, president of the Cantex Group of Companies, has become the latest major donor to support the new Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Pankiw has donated $100,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to supply the medical equipment for the PRH expansion.
Pankiw founded Cantex in 1971, four years after he and his family moved to Penticton from Lillooet as the new District Highways Engineer for the Ministry of Highways. Cantex now mainly concentrates on heavy construction and mining services, but is also involved in aggregates, paving and real estate.
Although he retired in 2006, Pankiw remains as company president. He admits it has been very gratifying to see the company grow over the years.
“It has been a fun trip,” he said. “Not without its challenges, but at the same time there’s a lot of satisfaction.”
Pankiw’s career with the Highways Ministry saw him work in various communities around the province. Eventually the ministry asked him to serve in the Fraser Canyon community of Lillooet.
The Pankiw family spent eight months in Lillooet before he was transferred to Penticton.
“Penticton is an absolutely great community to raise a family. There’s not many places that can match it,” he said.
Of course, Pankiw found the Okanagan very much to his liking. Although retired, he remains an active outdoorsman.
He has four children with two of his three daughters being engineers. One daughter has a key role with Cantex in Penticton. Coincidentally, his other engineering daughter has considerable experience with hospital projects in Alberta.
“Interesting enough, my daughter in Calgary was a project manager for a number of years on hospital construction projects,” he said.
She, of course, is totally onside with her dad’s decision to support the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.
Pankiw added he is fully confident the SOS Medical Foundation will reach its $20-million campaign goal.
“I find Penticton to be a very generous community. We’re known for our volunteers and that’s just another form of generosity.”
Pankiw is a member of the Penticton Rotary Club which also intends to contribute a considerable amount to the PRH campaign.
This is not the first time Pankiw has made a major donation for the community, having previously donated $100,000 to Okanagan College’s fundraising campaign which spawned the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus.
“I consider both the hospital and the college to be very significant entities in the community,” he said. “So I thought they were very worthwhile causes to contribute to.”
Construction of the new tower at PRH is set to get underway in the spring of 2016.