“A lot of times, you just do what you’ve got to do,” says his son Eric King.
But when you take pride in your business, you don’t mind the extra effort, Bill King says.
Eric King witnessed that pride early on. As a teen, he washed dishes and bused tables on weekends, observing his father as he worked.
But Bill King never pressured his son to join the business. In fact, Eric King initially attended West Virginia University to study pre-med. Midway through his studies, though, he changed his mind. He knew the family business, and joining it seemed like a natural fit, he says.
After receiving his master’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration in 2004, Eric King officially joined the staff.
Bill King says having his son on board has brought new energy to the 34-year-old business, which in 2011 changed its menu and name. It has also given him more free time to focus on the restaurant’s future — and his eventual, bittersweet retirement, he says.
“It’s my life,” Bill King says. “I started it, and it’s kind of hard to give that up. As long as I can feel comfortable that things will run right, there’s a time for everything.”
With his son’s involvement, Bill King says he’s confident the restaurant will be around for many years to come.
Bounce ideas off each other. By combining a long-time business perspective with fresh ideas, it ensures projects are well-rounded and that both father and son have a say in the business’ success, the Kings say.
The Kao family
Dr. Luke Kao and his son, Dr. Wynn Kao, each found his own path in medicine.
Early in his career, Luke Kao studied biophysics and how doctors can use certain drugs like Botox to treat neurological disorders. A few years after his son was born, Luke Kao left the research field to open his own neurology practice.
As did his father, Wynn Kao began his career in research. At Harvard Medical School, the University of Puerto Rico and George Washington University, he studied everything from melanoma to human papillomavirus (HPV). But after his daughter was born in 2010, he began considering a private practice.
“Obviously, that changes everything,” he says.
In 2011, both father and son found a way for their paths to merge: Kao Dermatology.
Luke Kao, who started the Maryland Neurological Center in 1977, found some of his Columbia patients could benefit from having a dermatologist on-site. For example, certain patients with muscle spasms and migraines can benefit from Botox, a drug dermatologists can administer. Other patients with vein issues often need both dermatologic and neurologic care, Luke Kao says.
“The (fields) have more in common than most think,” he says.
By opening Kao Dermatology as part of the Maryland Neurological Center off Charter Drive, Luke Kao could offer another level of care to his patients, and Wynn Kao could begin his move toward private practice.
So far, they say the pairing is a good fit.
“(Wynn) brings a lot of new knowledge,” Luke Kao says. “I bring a lot of experience, so obviously we learn a lot from each other.”
Always do the right thing. In any profession there are people who try to cut corners, Wynn Kao says. His father taught him he can be successful by doing quality work and treating people well. And don’t get hung up on the family connection in business, Luke Kao says. At work, the two treat each other as colleagues.