The Kane Company honored at WBJ Family-Owned Business Awards

Washington Business Journal

If you’ve spent any time working in a Washington-area office environment, chances are you’ve seen The Kane Co. hard at work. The Elkridge-based company has been a mainstay of records management, document destruction and office moves since its founding in 1969 by Eugene I. Kane.

The company now boasts over 300 full-time employees, six facilities in the mid-Atlantic region and six major distribution centers, all of which added up to nearly $60 million in revenue in 2014. During the past several years, the company has added over 500 jobs.



Eugene had nine children, all of whom played a role in the company, but eventually chose different paths away — except for one. John Kane got his start with the company in 1972 at the age of 12, washing trucks for his father. He worked his way through the company before becoming president in 1991, and seven years later purchased the company from his father in 1998.

But John is not afraid to admit the challenges with growing a family-owned business.

“The Baltimore-Washington corridor has changed greatly over the last 25 years as there are fewer and fewer family-owned businesses of any substance from a size standpoint,” he says. “If you’re not used to failure, don’t plan on being an entrepreneur because 50 percent of being an entrepreneur is dealing with failure — daily. The other 50 percent is great, but you’ve got to be able to learn to take the failure and accept the win and grow the win and not have the failure bring you down.”

John, a former chairman of Maryland’s Republican Party, now has two of his children working at the company and hopes to transition the company to a third generation of leadership.

“What you don’t want to do is ignore the change element that the younger generation brings,” he cautions. “Because then you’re going to find people that grow stale, angry and frustrated and are not successful in carrying the generational business into the next time frame.”

One of those children, Jack Kane, is the vice president for Kane Information Securities and Kane Hospitality Services and says he’s had to work extra hard to earn his seat at the table.

“I started when I was 12 years old, sweeping warehouses and picking up cigarette butts and cleaning up bathrooms,” Jack says. “At first, some people were thinking, ‘Oh, this is the boss’s son,’ but I’ve worked extremely hard...to show everybody that I’m not just here because of my last name, but that I genuinely enjoy doing what I’m doing, and I’m good at it.”

Article by Patrick Gavin

Click here to see the video from the awards ceremony.