Charles Pankow (1923-2004) graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1947, and 36 years later he was honored by Purdue with an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering. His college education was interrupted by military service during WWII. As a U.S. Navy ensign, he was stationed in Japan until 1946.
After 15 years in the design and build industry, “Charlie,” as he was known to his family, friends and colleagues, formed his own construction company in 1963. For more than 40 years, he was a pioneer in concrete-forming technology and a champion of the design-build method for faster and more efficient construction of buildings (Pankow Builders once completed a 40-story condominium in seven months).
During his distinguished career, Charlie invented processes for manufacturing hollow concrete piles using a slip-form technique and slip-forming vertical air conditioning ducts; he created innovative systems for increasing project automation, including total onsite precasting of structural and architectural elements; and he is perhaps best-known for his leadership in the development of moment-frame technology that has advanced the science of earthquake resistant construction.
Charlie was a leading member of more than a dozen national associations and academies, including the American Concrete Institute (ACI), American Arbitration Association, Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), among others. In 1980 Charlie served as president of the American Concrete Institute (whose Southern California Chapter he had helped form in 1957–the first local ACI chapter in the U.S.). He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. He was a noted speaker at numerous state and national conventions, and he authored several chapters in the Concrete Construction Handbook by Joseph Waddell.
Charlie was especially honored in 1999 to be recognized by Engineering News-Record as one of the Top Six World Builders during ENR’s 125-year history. His career was also replete with other awards and peer recognition for his many contributions, such as Design-Build Institute of America’s Brunelleschi Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2003; ASCE’s 2002 OPAL Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Construction; Purdue University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award; ACI’s Henry C. Turner Medal Award in 1990; Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Industry Achievement Award in 1993; and many others.
Charlie was well known as a connoisseur of the arts, having established a considerable collection of ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Russian artifacts. He amassed one of the largest private collections of Russian and Greek icons in the United States. Charlie also contributed generously to numerous educational institutions and charitable organizations over the years, most notably Purdue University.
“Pankow invented processes for manufacturing hollow concrete piles using a slip-form technique and slip-forming vertical air contitioning ducts . . .”
The Charles J. Pankow Legacy
A Better Way to Build:
A History of the Pankow Companies
The Charles Pankow Oral History Project at Purdue University
CHARLES PANKOW AWARD FOR INNOVATION
The Charles Pankow Award for Innovation recognizes the contributions of organizations working collaboratively to advance the design and construction industry by introducing innovation into practice.
wall of wind resilience and innovation facility
Wall of Wind Resilience and Innovation Facility
State of Florida
National Science Foundation
Florida Sea Grant FM Global
Applied Insurance Research (AIR) Worldwide
RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.
Targeted hits for modal parameter estimation and rating (THMPER)
Federal Highway Administration
Pennoni Associates Inc.
Intelligent Infrastructure Systems
Seismic design methodology for precast concrete for diaphragms
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
University of Arizona
University of California San Diego
S. K. Ghosh Associates, Inc.
thermal integrity profiler
University of South Florida
Pile Dynamics, Inc.
Foundation & Geotechnical Engineering LLC
Florida State Department of Transportation
Washington State Department of Transportation
RABITTM BRIDGE DECK ASSESSMENT TOOL
Rutgers University, Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
FHWA, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Geomedia Research and Development
Ingegneria Dei Sistemi
hybrid composite beam (HCB)
HC Bridge Company, LLC
Transportation Research Board – IDEA Program
The University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Transportation Technology Center, Inc.
NEW SUSTAINABLE CONCRETE MIX DESIGN
American Engineering Testing, Inc.
Cemstone Products Company
Advanced Structures and Composites Center of the University of Maine
Advanced Infrastructure Technologies, LLC
ECO SOUND BARRIER
CLAREMONT TUNNEL SEISMIC UPGRADE
East Bay Municipal Utility District
LIGHTWEIGHT MODULAR composite firewall system
Composite Support & Solutions, Inc.
Southern California Edison
San Diego State University
University of Southern California
cable-stayed bridge cradle system
FIGG Engineering Group in collaboration with:
Ohio Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Maine Department of Transportation
University of Toledo, Department of Civil Engineering
Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel, The University of Western Ontario
Lawrence Technological Institute
University of Maine, Civil Engineering Department
THE SHAWNESSY LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT STATION THIN-SHELL PRE-CAST PLATFORM CANOPY SYSTEM OF DUCTAL FIBER REINFORCED CONCRETE
Lafarge North America, Inc.
City of Calgary
University of Calgary
Stantex Architecture Ltd.
coupled truss walls with damped link elements
WSP Cantor Seinuk
Enrique Martinez Romero
S.A., Taylor Devices, Inc.
State University of New York at Buffalo
STEEL PLATE/COMPOSITE CONCRETE SHEAR WALL SYSTEM
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
NBBJ Design; et al.
TUNNEL JACKING DESIGN for the boston central artery project
Hatch Mott MacDonald
Mott MacDonald; et al.
MMFX MICROCOMPOSITE STEEL REBAR
MMFX Technologies Corporation
Federal Highway Administration; et al.
economical rehabilitation of a steeltruss bridge using an frp deck
New York State Department of Transportation
Hardcore Composites; et al.
composite transmission tower and construction technology
Ebert Composites Corporation
W. Brandt Goldsworthy & Associates
ICE BAN DEICING PRODUCTS
Ice Ban America, Inc.
Archer Daniels Midland; et al.
Smart-Leg Shockless Load Transfer System
ETPM International, the European Commission; et al.
Knapp Street Laboratory and Environmental Information Center
Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.
New York City Department of Environmental Protection Engineering
SIMPLIFIED MONITORING SYSTEM FOR CIVIL STRUCTURES
Strain Monitoring Systems; et al.
Eclipse™ Shrinkage Reducing Admixture
Grace Construction Products
ARCO Chemical Company
High Performance Steels for Highway Bridge Applications
American Iron & Steel Institute
Federal Highway Administration; et al.
development and application of aramid tendons
Sumitomo Construction Co., Ltd.
Japan Highway Corporation; et al.
The FIRP™ Glulams
Oregon State University
Wood Science & Technology Institute
Carbon Shell Space Truss Bridge
University of California, San Diego, Division of Structural Engineering