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Loss of a “Hidden Champion”

Longtime Hymmen owner and CEO Dr. Werner Pankoke passed away December 9 at the age of 85 following a stroke.

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Longtime Hymmen owner and CEO Dr. Werner Pankoke passed away December 9 at the age of 85 following a stroke.

Pankoke was born on March 29, 1938, as the third child of Bielefeld dentist Dr. Wilhelm Pankoke, decided not to follow in his father's footsteps when he began his studies. Instead, he was drawn to Munich Technical University, where he pursued his grandfather Theodor Hymmen's interests by studying mechanical engineering.

After graduating with a degree in engineering and a doctorate in business administration, Dr. Werner Pankoke took over the management of the Hymmen family business in 1967. The mechanical and plant engineering company had been founded by his grandfather in Bielefeld in 1892. Dr. Werner Pankoke succeeded in establishing the company worldwide as an indispensable technology partner in the wood-based materials industry with the development of the continuous double belt press.

The entrepreneur generally worked in a secluded manner. Irrespective of this, he was recognized for his entrepreneurial activities by Prof. Hermann Simon's "Hidden Champion" award and by winning the “Challengers Award” at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia.

A father of two and grandfather of six, Dr. Werner Pankoke retired from the family business in 2002 when he handed over the management of the company to his son Dr. René Pankoke, the fourth generation to run the Hymmen company. Dr. Werner Pankoke also leaves behind his wife and constant companion Dr. Christa Pankoke.

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