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“He just wanted you to learn the basics of the business...so when you came out of college, you knew what the job was about.” John M. Kane
John M. Kane John M. Kane
President of Kane Company

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  • "1969 freight company..."
  • "always very industrious..."
  • "that was a mistake..."
  • "21 years old..."
  • "basics of the business..."
  • "looking back...no..."
  • "I got to the point..."
  • "flawed strategy..."
Holleman Business Succession Forum
Interview with
John M. Kane
President of Kane Company

Introduction:

Vernon Holleman III, CLU
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Vernon Holleman III, CLU, sat down with John M. Kane, in John's home, to discuss, among other things, his history in his family's transportation company and the transition of that organization from his father to him. They talk through how and when John began working in the business, what he learned and gained from both his early experience as well as working with multiple siblings, and an father who decided to "un-retire". His thinking and ideas on how he will apply the wisdom he gained when the next generation of Kane children expresses an interest in working in the country's most successful commercial moving company is also made clear in the interview. This interview is a window into the experience and success of a leader who started working with a father in childhood, the father-son working dynamic, the challenges and solutions of multiple siblings in a family business, the importance of keeping the right culture in the company, and some of the avenues to a successful succession plan.


Notable Discussion Topics:

Among other topics, John discusses the following issues with Vernon Holleman III, CLU:

  • Learning business acumen from a Father
  • Importance of ground floor work to ultimately being a successful CEO
  • Father-Son Control Issues and Generational Marketplace Dynamic issues
  • Multiple Siblings in a Family Business
  • Rules / Criteria for Next Generation Entrance into a Family Business
  • Importance of Maintaining the right Culture for successful succession planning


Background:

John Kane was born in 1961 in Washington, D.C. and until the age of 10, was raised in New Carrollton, Maryland. During his formative years he was raised in Chevy Chase and Silver Spring. He is one of nine siblings all of whom, but one, still reside in Maryland. John has 51 first cousins. Family Christmas parties usually mean 150 relatives wearing name badges.

In 1972 at the age of 12, John Kane began his career in the transportation industry by washing trucks for his father. He worked his way steadily through the organization, and in 1998, after seven years as president of the family business, John purchased the former E. I. Kane, Inc., and further energized the transformed Kane Company with his broad passion for success.

During the last several years the company has created 500 jobs and expanded into three additional states in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Under John's leadership, the company has received many awards in the industry, particularly in the field of safety. In 2004 and 2007, Office Movers, Inc. received the Maryland Motor Truck Association Chairman's Safety Award. Throughout the company's years, numerous awards have been received for safe driving and employee safety. The Kane Company was named by the Washington Business Journal in 2007, "Best Places to Work." In 2007, Baltimore Business Journal voted Office Movers, Inc., as "Top Employer," and "Top Private Company." Core Net Global honored Office Movers, Inc. with the "2008 Service Provider Leadership" award. In 2007, the Greater Washington Commercial Association of Realtors recognized Office Movers, Inc. as "Best in the Industry Movers." For over 15 years, Office Movers, Inc. has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as the largest moving company in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Today, the Kane Company expresses its commitment to total customer satisfaction through four subsidiaries- Office Movers, Inc., Office Installers, Inc., Office Archives, LLC, and Kane 3PL, LLC, a third-party logistics provider. Kane, a serial entrepreneur, started a new company, Office Shredding, LLC, in December 2007, and recently started eCyclers, LLC, in September 2008. The Company has over 1,350 associates.

John's introduction to management commenced upon his graduation from Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, when he became a service representative for Office Movers, Inc. in Landover, Maryland. Over the course of 10 years, he was promoted from Branch Manager to Executive Vice President and became President of the E. I. Kane Company in 1992.

Besides his degree from Mount Saint Mary's University, he has continued to pursue educational opportunities through the Wharton School of Business' Senior Management Program. In addition, he has tirelessly devoted his energy to the success of the transportation industry and he is an advocate for transportation safety, infrastructure development and balanced growth. He has held positions as Vice President for the American Trucking Association, President and Chairman of the Washington, DC Area Trucking Association, Chairman of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and Chairman of the Greater Washington Area Board of Trade's Transportation and Environment Committee. John is currently the Chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Recognizing the importance of community, John serves or has served on the Boards of the Stone Ridge School, Imagination Stage, Goodwill of Maryland, Washington, D.C. Area Food Bank, UMMC Shock Trauma in Baltimore, Junior Achievement, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Mount Saint Mary's University. Mount Saint Mary's recognized him as Alumnus of the Year. He and his wife, Mary, received the 2007 President's Medal for outstanding service and loyalty to the State of Maryland. John was named in 2007 as one of "Washingtonians Power 150." He was also voted as one of the 150 powerful people in Washington, DC by the Washingtonian Magazine.

John Kane has been active in politics for many years and completed a four year term as Chairman of the Maryland State Republican Party.

Recognized for contributions to business, politics and the community, John and his wife, Mary, were voted as one of Maryland's most influential couples.

John and Mary have three children, Jack, Grace, and Elizabeth and reside in Potomac, Maryland.