We first learned of billionaire Shahid Khan in late 2011, when he emerged as the new owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Khan was born in Pakistan and is the first ethnic NFL owner in the history of the game. That too is a very inspiring rags-to-riches story. Before long he owned a billionaire NFL team, he lived in a night room at the YMCA for $ 2 and made $ 1.20 an hour washing dishes. Needless to say, he has come a long way.
Khan moved to America from Pakistan as a 16-year-old engineering student at the University of Illinois. He arrived in Champaçon in the middle of the Illinois winter, where a blizzard was moving around him. He had only $ 500 in his name, which was his family’s entire savings. The dorm was not open yet, so he got a room at the YMCA and got a job in that facility’s kitchen wash pot so that it wouldn’t burn through his $ 500 too quickly. Once Khan moved to the dorms, he joined the Beta Theta Pie fraternity and pursued American college life. He graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 1971 and worked with a local aftermarket auto parts company called Flex-N-Gate. Khan worked at Flex-N-Gate for seven years and found that the company’s bumper was not built efficiently. They tampered with the process of making it less complicated and, in the process, revolutionized trade.
In 1978, Khan founded his company with a small business loan. Customers flocked to his Bumper Works venture. Khan came up with a design that made bumpers with a piece of steel instead of various parts. General Motors contracted with him for bumpers that would slow down his popular Chevy LUV pickup truck to meet weight requirements. Chrysler contracted with Khan to lighten its Dodge D50 truck. Unfortunately, Flex-N-Go sued Khan for stealing trade secrets. Khan found the cheapest lawyer he found and then spent nights at the law library in his alma mater, crafting a defense after overseeing production at Bumper Works for a long time. The legal battle lasted for two years. Khan won each case. Eventually, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear Flex-en-Gate’s second appeal. In 1980, Khan bought out his former employer. Khan combined Bumper Works and Flex-N-Gate and made a list of its competitors. They ran around this list of 19 companies one by one, all of them went out of business.
Khan’s deal with GM broke down, but the automaker introduced him to Isuzu officials, who were just beginning to import cars and trucks into the US, gaining the trust of Isuzu officials. The car company needed suppliers and Khan was their man. As the Japanese import market grew, the mine business grew with them. After Isizu’s descent, Mazda soon followed. Then, he hit big time, landing Toyota as a Flex-N-Gate client. Until 1989, he was their only bumper supplier. Khan is the sole shareholder of Flex-N-Gate. As of 2001, the company’s sales were more than $ 1 billion per year.
As Khan’s malaise grew, he began investigating NFL teams’ evaluations of whether he was rich enough to buy one yet. In 2010 he bid for a 60% stake in the St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately, minority owner Stan Kronke exercised his right to match any proposal and decided to do just that. Almost as Khan lost to Ram, Wayne Weaver, the then owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, approached him and told him that he wanted to sell the team. Khan learned a lot from the Rams deal and when the opportunity to buy the Jaguars was presented, he moved quickly. In October 2011, the final price for the Jacksonville NFL franchise was placed on a cocktail napkin at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel bar. Khan agreed to an all-cash deal of $ 620 million and would assume Jeggus’ loan of $ 150 million. He took out $ 300 million in debt against Flex-N-Gate for making the deal.
Khan is a symbol of the American dream. He worked hard, made his fortune with persistence himself, and made a personal fortune of $ 9 billion dollars. Shahid Khan’s experience is one of the greatest American rugs-to-riches success stories ever.