How about his two kidney transplants? Old news.
Philanthropy? Box already checked. (His passion is the National Kidney Foundation.)
The most interesting thing to me about Paul is his rise from a hungry middle-class kid to a business lord in one of the most important cities in the world.
He loves talking real estate, banking and how networking is the key to every business success. He can reel off the return on various parts of his real estate empire — he owns 15 buildings. He has his own private equity firm called Bethesda Investments. He’s successful enough that he’s happy to talk about his few missteps.
“One was a carpet company, and one was a national home improvement company,” said Paul, 56. “They were bad investments because I didn’t understand them and I couldn’t devote the time to them. Invest in things that you know.”
What he knows is banking and real estate.
His 8 percent share of publicly held EagleBank is worth more than $30 million. The bank, which has $2.7 billion in deposits, has grown 20 percent a year and has 15 uninterrupted quarters of earnings growth. Eagle has 400 employees across 16 branches, from Silver Spring to Reston.
Eagle is responsible for funding hundreds of local businesses, from Georgetown Cupcake to Tiny Jewel Box to downtown’s Shakespeare Theatre to Jose Andres’s Think Food Group of restaurants.
Eagle this year has soared onto the Post 200 list of biggest companies in Washington.
“I always knew I wanted to go into business for myself,” said Paul, who fell in love with accounting his senior year of high school. “I always had that oomph . . . that entrepreneurial side.”
While he was in college, he worked at an eatery at Ted Lerner’s White Flint Mall, where he centralized its food purchases. As a sophomore at the University of Maryland, he ran a school dance marathon and tripled the previous year’s fundraising.
His involvement also taught him at a young age the importance of networking.
He got to know the president of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
He got to know the chancellor of the University of Maryland at College Park.
After graduation, he joined Coopers & Lybrand accounting firm in New York. But his contacts in Washington led him back, and he took a bookkeeping job at a Rockville construction firm in 1980.
Two years later, an impatient Paul decided to start a real estate company. He and his wife were living in an apartment in Montgomery County on his wife’s salary as a social worker. His construction company job had held back his salary because it was facing difficulties.
He decided to jump off his own fiscal cliff.