Alumnus Shahid Khan featured in Forbes cover story


"With sweat and smarts, Pakistan-born Shahid Khan built a $3.4 billion manufacturing juggernaut from the ruins of an Illinois auto parts maker. To celebrate, he just bought one of the worst teams in the NFL, with the pledge of a similar turnaround. Only in America, folks."-- lead in Forbes cover story by Brian Solomon.

Khan featured on cover of Forbes magazine
Khan featured on cover of Forbes magazine
With the start of the professional football season, Shahid R. Khan, the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has made the cover of the September 24 edition of Forbes magazine. Last fall, the Engineering at Illinois alumnus (BS 1971, Industrial Engineering) acquired the NFL franchise, becoming, as the story's title states:"The New Face Of The NFL And The American Dream." Solomon's story references Khan's humble beginnings as a teenage immigrant, his time at Illinois, his incredible business success, and the recent acquisition of the Jaguars, considered among the worst teams in the league and extremely ripe for a turnaround.

"Approaching the Jaguars’ turnaround in the same sunny-but-quantitative way he would a struggling auto parts factory, Khan brought in a new head coach, offensive guru Mike Mularkey, but retained the staff that led the team to sixth in total defense last year," Solomon wrote. "Meanwhile, his 30-year-old son, Tony, will helm the team’s new technology and analytics group, turning his love of sports statistics into what the Jaguars hope can be a tangible, Moneyball-esque advantage."

Always the entrepreneur, Khan plans to keep the team in Jacksonville and elevate the Jaguars into a global brand, just as he has done in his previous business ventures.

"We have great respect and appreciation for Shahid and all his professional and personal achievements in the community," said Molly Tracy, associate dean for advancement for the College of Engineering.

Describing Khan as an "extremely intelligent and very savvy business person,” Tracy noted his on-going commitment to Engineering at Illinois, including service on a number of boards, such as the College of Engineering Board of Visitors, the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Alumni Board, as well as the MechSE extern program, which entails students job-shadowing engineers.

Khan was inducted as an inaugural member of the Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame in 2010. Previously, he had received the College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 2006, “for outstanding contributions to the automotive industry and to the University of Illinois.”

Distinguished Alumni Khan
Distinguished Alumni Khan

A member of the UI Foundation Board of Directors, Shahid, and his wife, Ann Khan, have supported academic programs in College of Engineering, the College of Business, the College of Applied Health Sciences, as well as athletic programs, such as the Atkins Tennis Center. In April 2011, Khan was one of six distinguished Illinoisans recently honored as a Lincoln Laureate, the state’s highest award for achievement.

Photos: Jon Fletcher For Forbes

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