John Kane, C'84
Tucked away in John Kane’s desk is a slip of paper with two numbers written on it. The slip of paper serves as a constant reminder to him. “The ‘33’ is the percentage of second-generation companies that succeed,” explains Kane. “The ‘15’ is the percentage of third-generation companies that succeed. If you forget about the culture of a firm or try to change it too quickly, you can fail.”
His, however, is a second-generation success story.
Kane is the president and CEO of the Kane Company, which includes Office Movers, Inc., Office Installers, Inc., Office Archives, LLC, Office Shredding, LLC, and Kane 3PL, LLC, a third-party logistics provider. He purchased the original company, E.I. Kane Inc., which was started by his father in 1969, after seven years as president in 1998. Since then the company has created 400 new jobs and expanded from Maryland into three additional states.
Kane received a degree in business management from the Mount in 1984 and now serves on its board of trustees. “As George Gelles said, ‘There’s just something about the place.’ For me, it just fit,” Kane notes. “You are beginning the building blocks of a foundation that will help you get to the top.”
Although Kane took to the family business early on—as a 12 year old, he washed trucks for his father—he decided he would join the Coast Guard after graduating. “I wanted to go into an environment where I stood alone and didn’t have that tag of being the owner’s son,” he says.
Kane had great potential for the industry, though, and his father knew it. “He called me up and said, ‘We need you. Would you reconsider?’” says Kane. “I loved working in the business and believed in it. So I said sure.”
Good move. He became a service representative for Office Movers, Inc., in Landover, Md., and over the next 20 years steadily moved up the ranks until he purchased the company. He is devoted to the success of the transportation industry and is an advocate for transportation safety, infrastructure development and balanced growth. Kane has held leadership positions with the American Trucking Association and the Maryland Motor Truck Association. “I wanted to take an active role and stand up for what I thought was best for the industry,” he notes.
It was his involvement with these organizations that initially introduced him to the world of politics. He was named by Governor Robert Ehrlich as the chairman of the Maryland State Republican Party.
Several years ago, his father passed away. Kane believes his father was proud of him and the growth of the business. And he was pleased too “that people he had hired were still with us,” says Kane. “That was important.”