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KAPPAZ MICHAEL HEGEL KAPPAZ GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR, EXECUTIVE, ELECTRIC POWER DEVELOPER, PHILANTHROPIST Michael Kappaz, founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the K&M Group of Companies died suddenly in his sleep January 27, while on an airplane travelling from Washington DC to Panama. Mr. Kappaz founded K&M in 1986. Under his leadership, the company forged an entrepreneurial role unique in the electric power industry by combining innovative project financing strategies with engineering expertise. Mr. Kappaz was a pioneer in developing the concept of Build-Own-Operate (BOO) and Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) for structuring private Greenfield infrastructure projects. His many "firsts" included the development and financing of the first non-recourse privately financed project in Latin America and the first limited recourse project in South Asia. K&M assisted over 50 countries in attracting private investment to their power sectors through projects representing over 30,000 MW; developed, and/or constructed 20 Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and performed technical/financial, feasibility and negotiation for another 30 IPPs. Mr. Kappaz's son William has proudly stepped in as the President of K&M to continue building the business his father successfully started over 25 years ago. Mr. Kappaz was an accomplished author and frequent speaker on the topics of infrastructure development and project finance. The day he died he was on his way to the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Panama to present his paper: "SHOW ME THE MONEY! - Project Debt for Infrastructure Projects in Developing Countries." Mr. Kappaz was Chairman Emeritus of the U.S.-Colombia Business Partnership. He was on the board of trustees of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and of the Washington National Opera. He was also on the boards of the Business Council for International Understanding, the Bretton Woods Committee, the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, and the Latino Student Fund. He was a member of the "Group of Fifty" top U.S. and Latin executives and is listed in Who's Who in America. Prior to founding K&M, Mr. Kappaz was Vice President and General Manager for International Operations with Bechtel Power Group where he managed multi-billion dollar power projects worldwide. Mr. Kappaz received a B.S. in Industrial engineering and Operations Research from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He received an MBA and completed other post-graduate work at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Stanford University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr Kappaz established the Kappaz Graduate Fellowship Fund to support international master's degree students at his alma mater, the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. He and his wife were active supporters of Catholic Charities of Washington, particularly the Spanish Catholic Center, which provides health and social care for families in need. In 2012, he and his wife were presented with the inaugural Blessed John Paul II award by Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl in recognition of their leadership and years of involvement with Catholic Charities. He was a founding board member of the Latino Student Fund and, as an opera lover, a benefactor of the Washington National Opera. Mr. Kappaz used to say he was living proof that America was the land of opportunity for a young immigrant. He recognized that opportunity and gave much in return to his new country. He was extremely proud to be an American. He was born in 1942, in Cartagena, Colombia, the son of Syrian/Lebanese parents, but at 21 he moved to New York to pursue his studies in engineering and finance. A year later he married his high school sweetheart. Michael "Mike" Kappaz always considered his family to be the greatest of his many achievements. He is survived by his wife of almost 49 years, Chafica Dau Kappaz; six children, George Kappaz (Amarie) of Potomac, MD and Singapore, Nur Helene Fairbanks (Ralph) of Potomac, Christina Kappaz Ardila (Mauricio) of Colombia, Karen Donatelli (Christopher) of Washington DC, William Kappaz (Laura) also of Washington DC, and Patricia Slipher (Geoffrey) of Baltimore, MD; also by his mother Elena Hegel Kappaz of Cartagena, Colombia; by two brothers, two sisters; and by twenty one grandchildren.Michael "Mike" Kappaz always considered his family to be the greatest of his many achievements. He is survived by his wife of almost 49 years, Chafica Dau Kappaz; six children, George Kappaz (Amarie) of Potomac, MD and Singapore, Nur Helene Fairbanks (Ralph) of Potomac, Christina Kappaz Ardila (Mauricio) of Colombia, Karen Donatelli (Christopher) of Washington DC, William Kappaz (Laura) also of Washington DC, and Patricia Slipher (Geoffrey) of Baltimore, MD; also by his mother Elena Hegel Kappaz of Cartagena, Colombia; by two brothers, two sisters; and by twenty one grandchildren.
Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 21, 2013