John D. Prahl



John is a central Illinois native with over 35 years in the construction industry.  Prior to relocating to Tampa with the Carl A. Nelson & Co. in early 1985 (Canco acquired that firm’s Florida division in early 1986), he was Vice President of both Nelson & Co. and their parent firm, S. M. Wilson & Company/Holding Company.  Before joining Nelson & Co. in 1983, Prahl had spent 10 years in sales and management with Varco-Pruden Buildings, a major steel building manufacturer, with the last three as regional manager in a 13 state area. Canco has been a franchised builder for Varco-Pruden, the second largest steel building manufacturer in the US, since 1991 and received an award for being their largest builder in the US in 2007 completing over 810,000 square feet of buildings. Varco-Pruden was purchased in 2008 by BlueScope the largest steel building manufacturer in the nation with 33% of the market.  BlueScope also owns several other steel building manufacturers including Butler Buildings, one of the oldest and the largest steel building manufacturer in the US. At the Varco-Pruden builder’s meeting in San Diego in February of this year John received the coveted “Legends in Steel” award from Varco-Pruden Buildings which has only been awarded 6 times in the 52 year history of the company. He is currently serving his second 2-year term (first in 97-98) as chairman of Varco-Pruden’s President’s Advisory Council.


John and two investments partners founded Canco General Contractors, Inc. in 1986 and the company has grown into what it is today with John now holding total ownership and management of the company that employs 24 full time employees and completed $25,000,000 – $30,000,000 in negotiation work in 2006 and 2007. While the majority of Canco’s work over the past 27+ years has been primarily in Florida they have recently become licensed in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and also in North Carolina.


John is responsible for the overall management of Canco and for contract procurement. He is active in the Lakeland and Plant City Chambers of Commerce, is past President of the Temple Terrace Rotary club, and is a 1989 graduate of Leadership Tampa. He served on Governor Chiles’ Advisory Group for the Worker’s Compensation Reform Bill and served an 18 month appointment to the District 13 Grievance Committee by the Florida Bar Association.  After being widowed John met a wonderful lady named Carolyn whom he married 13 years ago. John and Carolyn are very active in First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland and Carolyn is in real estate investments. John is also active in real estate development through JP Properties-PC, LLC and Frontage Real Estate Investments, LLC which developed a 30 acre business park on I-4 in Plant City in 2007.


The success of Canco over the past 22 years is best referenced by the fact that they have built multi-project relationships with over 90% of the clients they initially contracted with many now owning 5 or more Canco building projects. Canco also has an enviable reputation financially with long standing banking, surety, and insurance companies, as well as the area’s better subcontractors and material vendors. Canco builds commercial, industrial, and religious buildings with contracts from $1,000,000 – $12,000,000, with over 80% on a Guaranteed Maximum Price/Shared Savings form of agreement. In recent years our church building division has grown to nearly 50% of annual revenues with 7 church building projects currently under contract.


John is directly responsible for bringing over 90% of all contracts to the company with referrals from past clients and area lenders. While Canco has a $10,000,000 single job bond line and a $20,000,000 aggregate (through Berkley Regional Insurance Company) less than 10% of the company work is bonded, with major lenders (Wachovia, SunTrust, Bank of America, Platinum Bank and Regions Bank) all waiving bond requirements if Canco is the builder.