Pakistan is a country best known for producing unbelievable talents and astonishingly brilliant minds in almost every field known to man. Whether it is sports, science, business, finance, art, literature, education, or any other subject or forte, even while facing extreme financial hardships and undeviating adversities, this country has given birth to gems that shine while moving profusely towards their desired goals.
Shahid Khan, a Lahore-born business magnate with a net worth of almost $4.4billion, comes into the same category. The son of a hardworking professor mother and born in a middle-class family whose bread and butter were served up courtesy of a small construction business.
Here are some unknown facts about the man not known to Pakistani audience:
1. Shahid ‘Shad’ Khan was only 16 years old in the year 1967 when he moved to the US to pursue his dream of becoming an architect, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign (UIUC). His dorm room cost about $2/night, so for him to cater his own financial needs as a student, he got his first job was as a dishwasher – a job which paid him about $1.2/hr.
2. Soon after, in his very first semester at college, he threw away his career blueprint of becoming an architect, citing the plain reason that the ‘architects just don’t make enough money’, and instead pursued a professional degree in Industrial Engineering.
3. In 1978, with $16,000 from his savings and $50,000 from a loan company, he started Bumper Works, a small business which made one- piece, lightweight bumpers for trucks. Within two years, Khan bought Flex-N-Gate, the company that had initially hired him and brought his own business Bumper Works into the fold.
4. By 1987, Shahid Khan’s Flex-N-Gate became the sole supplier of bumpers for Toyota pickup trucks, and within two years, his company had the honor of being the only supplier of bumpers for the entire Toyota line in the United States.
5. In 2011, Shahid Khan became the first non-white owner of a National Football League team when he completed the purchase of Jacksonville Jaguars for an estimated $760million.
6. He also owns an English football club, Fulham Football Club, a then-Premier club, currently plying its trade in the second tier of English football, from Egyptian business tycoon, Mohamed Al Fayed, in July 2013 for around $400 million.
7. Shahid Khan now resides in a posh penthouse, situated on the 61st Floor of Park Tower in Chicago, one of Chicago’s tallest buildings, a 9000 square-foot estate which cost him a cool $8.3million. He is married to his college-sweetheart, Ann, and has two children, Tony Khan and Shanna Khan.
8. Shahid Khan is also well-known for his philanthropic work, running the Jaguars Foundation which provided more than $1,000,000 in grants in 2012 to children’s and family programs, as well as other NFL and team-related initiatives. The Foundation also donated more than 11,000 charitable tickets with an in-kind value of nearly $500,000.
9. Shahid Kahan is Ranked 179th in the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans and is overall the 491st wealthiest person in the world; the 1st in Pakistan followed by Former President Asif Ali Zardari.
11. After his penthouse, his most prized possession is a 308ft long yacht that boasts six bedrooms, three decks and a private sundeck with a pool Jacuzzi-BBQ area. As a symbol, a silver Jaguar has been attached to the bow, with one of its paws resting on a silver American football helmet.
12. His well-groomed mustache has become a mascot for his teams as well as a sign of pride for his town Jacksonville in USA.
Khan, President and Owner of Flex-N-Gate Corporation, the 14th-largest North American automotive supplier, which employs over 16,000 people at 52 manufacturing and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico.
Here are some awards and distinctions he has received so far:
1999 – Awarded Distinguished Alumnus Award the by the University of Illinois, Department of Mechanical Science and Industrial Engineering.
2006 – Awarded by University of Illinois the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.
2007 – Mr. Khan received the Minority Business Leadership Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
2011 – Mr. Khan became a Lincoln Laureate, the state’s highest award for achievement given by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, for his philanthropic work in the state.