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Family business not always easy, but fun

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 11:25 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 11:36 p.m.

Growing up, Ted Farha saw his cousins working in their family’s grocery store “because I think that was kind of what they were expected to do.”

“I watched that as a kid, and I thought to myself … I want my kids to do whatever they want to do, whatever makes them happy.”

As it turns out, it’s made him very happy that two of his four children — his sons Mark and Ben — have followed him into the construction business.

“It’s a real bonus to work (with) those boys because I didn’t push either one of them into the construction business … and here they are,” said Farha, who owns Farha Construction with his brother, Ed.

Ben Farha co-owns Farha Roofing, a division of his father’s company, and Mark Farha owns Farha Development and often does work with Farha Construction.

Both sons worked for Farha Construction growing up, but neither one planned to follow his father into the business.

“When you grow up in the business, you realize later in life you know so much about it,” Mark Farha said. “You have such an advantage. You have a skill set that’s already innate.”

Mark and his brother both returned to Wichita after working elsewhere.

“I knew there was a lot of opportunity for me here,” Ben Farha said. “I benefit a lot from having Farha Construction as a partner.”

Not that it’s always easy.

“I always told those guys that they needed to work harder than everybody else on the job,” Ted Farha said. He said he never wanted anyone to say, “You’re just here because your dad’s the boss.”

Ben Farha said his father and uncle can be tough on him.

“I like it that way,” he said. “I don’t want to be coddled. They definitely have high expectations for me, but that helps me raise my bar.”

Mark Farha said his father and uncle “taught me to be very picky and do the best job you can in anything you do.”

Ted Farha said he makes a point to have conversations with his sons without telling them what to do.

“Meddling … out of love can get a little overwhelming,” he said.

The three tend to talk business wherever they are, including at family dinners and other family events.

“It definitely comes up, yeah,” Ben Farha said. “Not constantly, but it’s hard to avoid.”

Mark Farha said they’re “all interested in what we’re doing, and we enjoy it, and it’s fun.”

It’s more of a convenient thing than a bad thing, Ben Farha said.

“I guess that’s probably something I learned from my dad,” he said. “When you enjoy what you do, it’s not a big deal.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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