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Tell us about yourself: Where were you born, where did you grow up? Born and raised in Oklahoma City, I attended parochial schools, John Carroll

Elementary and Bishop McGuinness High. I went off to college at Washington University in St. Louis. After three semesters, I transferred to Central State University, now known as the University of Central Oklahoma, in Edmond, Okla., where I received my B.S. in mortuary science. My mother’s family has been in the funeral business from 1856 to this day, though I never worked in the family business. The course, psychology in grief, which dealt with loss, has actually come in handy in relating to people who have been laid off.

Tell us about your family. I was the first and only child of Doctor and Mrs. K.E. Bohan, two loving parents

(both passed). My father was a pediatrician, and my mother was a dietician who retired to be a stay-at-home mom upon my birth. They did what parents are sup- posed to do – work hard to protect me and give me a wonderful childhood. They also convinced me that I could do and be anything in life.

How did you start your career? My very first job was as a pot washer in a dinner theater. It was not my dream job,

but I was 17 and glad to have a job. I decided that if I was going to be a pot washer, I would be the best darn pot washer in the world. I poured myself into each task no matter how dirty or menial, and in six months, I was managing the kitchen. On my last day of work, leaving to go to college, I found out that when the head

chef hired me, he assumed I was spoiled, thinking a doctor’s son would quit at the first sign of hard work. He said that I had surprised him and it made him rethink some old stereotypes. He apologized and offered me a position as the head chef at a new facility in Memphis, Tenn. I was flattered, but college was part of my long-term plan. After a year and a half at Washington University and determining that being a doctor like Dad was not what I really wanted, I transferred to CSU. I worked my way through college while working in a funeral home (a great place

to study). After graduating, I spent six months in the funeral business and decided it was a needed and honorable profession, but not for me.

How did you become involved in the apartment industry? I reached out to a college friend, wanting him to hire me as a property manager.

To my amazement, he offered me his position of vice president of property manage- ment. Thus, I found myself at the tender age of 21 with NO experience in real estate

“Congratulations to Ken Bohan for receiving HAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has an impressive list of accomplishments that reflect his passion for community service. His steadfast involvement in the community has made an impression on us all, and we know Houston is a better city with residents like Ken around.

HAA has made a very good choice in selecting him for its Lifetime Achievement Award. However, I believe he still has much to achieve as I have just appointed him to the Houston Planning Commission, where I expect he will be a major contributor.”

–Houston Mayor Annise Parker

“I’ve known Ken Bohan almost as long as I’ve not known him. That probably makes one of us pretty old.

I think the word ‘Bohan’ must be Gaelic for ‘determined.’ Ken is one of the most determined and deliberate people that I know. Everything he does is planned. He is steadfast in achieving his goals. If you’re lucky enough to be on Ken’s team in a challenge, you’re sure to be guided by a steady leader resolved to achieve a winning outcome.

His attachment and association with HAA could be described as devoted. Ken is the most unique member of HAA. You might say he is a ‘purveyor of possibilities.’ Ken often sees the potential in individuals before they see that potential in themselves. I’m sure many people reading this article can attest to that. Thousands of folks are in positions within the industry now, not because they imagined themselves in that role, but because Ken Bohan imagined them in that role. Ken has a knack for seeing the potential and talent that lies within each of us. And he’s made a princely living off of that knack!

And for the record, he is pretty old.” – Mike Bodin, Equity Residential

Pursuit ofHappiness Ken and his parents

Ken with Dean O’Kelley, Urvashi Vaid, Mike Bodin and Annise Parker

Dean and Ken visit Laguna San Rafael, Chile in 2005.


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