Class of 1982
Founder, Canfor Corporation
L.L.G. “Poldi” Bentley fled Austria with his family in 1938, evading the Nazis but abandoning his business as well as most of his possessions. Arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia with little more than imagination and determination, Poldi set out to make a name for himself in this new country.
Just a few months after settling in Vancouver, Bentley formed Pacific Veneer with his brother-in-law, John G. Prentice, who had also fled Austria. Their small furniture and paneling veneer company grew quickly, expanding into the forest industry and becoming a supplier of plywood for aviation and marine applications during WWII. The company was renamed Canadian Forest Products Ltd. in 1947; the company and its affiliates are known today as Canfor.
From humble beginnings, Canfor grew to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, employing over 10,000 people with sales of approximately $3 billion. Bentley passed away in 1986; the company remains a monument to his entrepreneurial spirit.
Throughout his career, Poldi Bentley adhered to a basic business philosophy: “If your word is good, you don’t need a contract in business. If your word isn’t good, you shouldn’t be in business.” There were contracts, of course, but honesty and integrity remained Bentley’s trademarks throughout more than four decades of Canadian business history.