Charles Kahn

January 25, 2010 

His jobs: Vice president, Kahn Development; director, M.B. Kahn Construction Co.

Age: 39

Family: Wife, Jennifer; two children, Abby, 8; Emily, 6

Education: Bachelor's degree in business from Mulhenberg College; master's degree in construction management from Clemson University

Community/professional involvement: Board member, March of Dimes Midlands and Beth Shalom Synagogue Board; vice president, Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center

His story: Kahn began working in the construction industry for his family's company at a young age working summers on projects around Columbia. After college and grad school, he resumed working as a field engineer and later moved into estimating and then project management.

He has managed several projects for M.B. Kahn, including the Charles Darby Children's Research Institute building at MUSC. In the past two years, he has become more involved with Kahn Development working on the development of the company's retail projects in the Carolinas and Virginia.

What saying does he live by? "You get out of something what you put into it."

His life changed when ... "At the completion of the first project after joining the firm full time, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from being a part of something bigger than myself that would remain as a testament to the hard work done by myself and others."

How did he recover after failing at something? "On one particular project, I prepared a bid for the construction work for an existing client. But I was not successful. The key to recovering from a failed bid is to quickly try to see what could have been done differently, determine if it is reasonable, and see how to use the new information in other projects."

How does he balance the family/business relationship working with his father? "For many years, my father and I worked in different areas of our businesses without much daily interaction. It was important to have some period of independence prior to working together.

"Once working together, it is important to have a clear idea of who will decide different matters and remain consistent. Although not without its challenges, working with a family member does provide perhaps the best opportunity for mentoring over the years."

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