Frederick Charles Mannix was born on October 21, 1913 in Edmonton, Alberta. His father was a construction pioneer from Manitoba who moved his contracting business to Edmonton in 1905 to work on the railway grade for the Great Northern Railway.
Fred C. began working with his father while still at school, but in the 30’s he began his career in earnest, becoming a partner. These early years with his father gave him a solid foundation in general contracting. In 1942, when his father’s health was failing, the decision was made to sell the business. However Fred C. kept an ownership position and headed up the new organization, which operated as a Canadian subsidiary of the Morrison-Knudsen Construction Company of Boise, Idaho. During the remainder of the 1940’s, he participated in the building of many of Canada’s major infrastructure projects including highways, pipelines, mines, dams, railways and airports. In 1951, Fred C. was able to bring full ownership of the outfit home to Alberta, under the Mannix Construction banner.
During the 1950’s Fred C. diversified his business, establishing Manalta Coal Ltd. In the mid-1950’s his group was successful in their bid to construct and own the Pembina Pipe Line Ltd. which later diversified into oil and gas production, eventually becoming Pembina Corporation. In 1954 he established Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. based in Minnesota which became a leading designer, manufacturer and service contractor of railroad maintenance equipment working principally in Canada and the U.S.
Fred C. Mannix withdrew from active involvement in the business in the 1970’s and passed the business to his sons, Frederick P. Mannix and Ronald N. Mannix who grew the group to maturity in the 80’s and 90’s. They capped off a century of the family business with the divestiture of the energy assets in 1997 by selling Manalta Coal, Pembina Pipeline and Pembina Resources Inc. to the public markets. Fred P. and Ron each have built solidly on their father’s legacy from the Loram Group, establishing the Mancal and the Coril Groups respectively.
F. C. Mannix was a founding member of the Canada West Foundation, a director of the Royal Bank of Canada and the Steel Company of Canada.
Other honours he received were an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of Alberta in 1972, an honorary membership in the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, as well as honorary membership in the Alberta Road Builders Association, the U.S. construction industry’s Mole Award, and entry to the Hall of Fame of America’s Builders. Fred C. was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame when Junior Achievement of Canada established it in Toronto in 1978. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, and an Honorary Associate of the Conference Board of Canada. In 2005, Fred C. was inducted posthumously into the Calgary Business Hall of Fame.
In 1939, Fred C. wed Margaret Ruth Boughton of the Ottawa-Hull region and together they raised their three children on the outskirts of Calgary in the Fish Creek area. Fred C. and Margie Mannix established the Carthy Foundation in 1965, together with their children Fred P., Maureen and Ron, as a family legacy. Giving back to the community was important to them and this family value is being practiced today by their grandchildren who are now the stewards of the foundation. Fred C. was also one of the founding members of the Calgary Foundation in 1955.
Fred C. Mannix passed away at the age of 81 on July 29th, 1995, but his many legacies remain for all. Although an intensely private man and remarkably reticent about his own past accomplishments, his legacy reveals a man of exceptional talent and vision, a master builder helping to build our modern day Alberta, Canada and many parts of North America.
The Family of F.C. Mannix