Monday, April 13, 2009

Ewing Marion Kauffman

Today we honor Ewing Marion Kauffman for taking his private property and creating great wealth. Though Kauffman is famously known for establishing the Kansas City Royals and directing his private philanthropy, today we honor him for starting Marion Laboratories (former building pictured to the right). Kauffman grew up in Kansas City. As a young man he served in the Navy and is honored as a Distinguished Eagle Scout Award winner. Kauffman made a successful living as a pharmaceutical salesman. When his company cut back on his earning potential, he struck out on his own.

In 1950 Kauffman started his own pharmaceutical company in his basement with $4,000 in capital. As the only employee of Marion Laboratories, Kauffman did it all from packaging calcium supplements to selling a finished product. Eventually, he moved his company out of his basement and started doing some major expanding. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Marion Labs made a nice profit.

In 1974, Marion Labs Inc. reported $12 million of earning on sales. Perhaps most fascinating is that the research budget was $0. Kauffman spent most of the company energy repackaging and reformulating products other companies ultimately rejected. Kauffman kept the company focused on products that related to calcium. Marion Labs Inc. continued to grow until it was bought in 1989. Then known as Marion Merrell Dow Inc., it is now part of Aventis. When Kauffman sold his company in 1989, it was worth almost $1 billion and employed more than 3,400 people.

It is Kauffman's use of his private property to create Marion Labs and produce great wealth that we honor him today. I highly recommend that interested readers check out this video about Kauffman on his Kauffman Foundation website.

Sources:
Kauffman Foundation Biography
Marion Merrel Dow, Inc. on Answers.com
Kauffman on Wikipedia

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