THE PANKOW COMPANIES
Charlie Pankow started his company in the singular belief "that success can be achieved in the construction industry by applying management innovation, engineering creativity, strict cost and quality controls, and state-of-the-art construction techniques." He succeeded in business by exceeding the expectations of his clients in solving their problems as they arose; not generating change orders; doing whatever was necessary to finish projects on time and within budget; and not walking away from the building site until he had addressed all of their issues. This approach has been embedded in the company's various taglines, from "Construction through Cost Control" to "A Better Way to Build" to "Thinking Beyond the Building." And so, when an owner had difficulty getting his project built, he often called Charlie Pankow: "It can't be built" was music to his ears.
Founded in 1963 in Altadena, California, Charlie Pankow, Inc., was the vehicle through which Pankow promoted design-build, an approach which involved the builder in the planning and design, as well as the construction, of projects. Pankow and his colleagues, all of whom had worked together within a building division of Peter Kiewit Sons', believed that winning the trust of the owner and the other members of the building team was key to the success of a project. Design-build was the means by which they gained the trust of the owner, architect, and subcontractors. A culture grounded in the mentality of doing whatever it might take to execute a project established the reputation of Charlie Pankow, Inc., and its successor, Charles Pankow Builders, Ltd. (CPBL), and provided a launch pad for the spread of design-build as a best practice in the industry.
In 1993 Charles Pankow Builders capped three decades of design-build promotion by becoming a founding member of the Design-Build Institute of America, an organization that wields global influence on best practices in integrated project delivery.
Today, the Pankow organizational structure includes Mid-State Precast, a subsidiary that began life in Corcoran, in central California, as a casting yard for The Paramount, a residential project in San Francisco that marked the first use of the precast hybrid moment-resistant frame that the company had helped to develop in a high-rise structure. Mid-State Precast (www.midstateprecast.com) provides high value, low-cost structural and architectural precast and prestressed concrete components, preconstruction, design-build services, and installation services to the construction industry. As such, as much as 90 percent of Mid-State's annual sales have derived from producing precast elements for projects that did not involve CPBL as contractor.
The legacy of Charles Pankow is carried on in the company and foundation and two concrete research laboratories at Purdue University that bear his name. For its part, the company continues to stand out as a general contractor that performs construction work, a tradition anchored in Charlie Pankow's desire to control costs, schedules, and quality. And so, Pankow engineers continue to work not only with other members of the building team, but also in the field, to the end of achieving the owner's functional and aesthetic vision.
There were two sides to Charlie Pankow that are reflected in the company that he created: The curious engineer always looking to solve the owner's problems and the superb craftsman. Together, they comprise the Master Builder that Pankow sought to restore to the building site.
For more information about the Pankow Companies, visit their website at: www.pankow.com.