Pace Academy's new Kam Memar Lower School, which opened its doors in October, is a hub for our youngest students, a place where science and technology, innovation and design, visual and performing arts, and wellness and play—on The World's Greatest Playground—thrive. In addition, the striking addition to the Pace campus is a lasting monument to the life and work of entrepreneur Kam Memar.
Pace parents Diana Memar and Bijon Memar, a Pace Trustee, contributed the lead gift to Accelerate Pace, the capital campaign in support of the project, in memory of Bijon’s late brother, Kam, an entrepreneur, a world traveler, and a man dedicated to his parents and brother.
In 1962, Bijon and Kam left Iran with their parents, Farah and Hushang, a physician. Following a three-year stint in Germany, the family lived in Massachusetts and then in Maryland, where Dr. Memar worked for the federal government opening drug-addiction treatment centers. The Memars later settled in the Atlanta area, where Dr. Memar built a private practice.
“My brother and I were just 20 months apart and were always close,” Bijon remembers. “People often mistook us for each other.”
Kam studied zoology and chemistry at the University of Georgia and always longed to start his own business. After college, he founded Atlanta Investment Services, which sold oil and gas leases, before entering the medical billing industry. “Kam’s motto was, ‘I’ll never work for someone else,’” Bijon says.
Later, Kam struck out on his own again in the late 1980s and founded Medical Bureau Inc., a billing company located in Augusta, Ga. Bijon, employed by Cox Enterprises at the time, joined Kam at MBI in 1989. The business quickly grew.
Despite its success, the brothers closed MBI in 1992 to launch Medac, a company focused strictly on anesthesia billing. Medac was in the midst of launching Kam Technologies, a proprietary software that would allow clients to track reimbursements in real time, when Kam was killed in a car accident on Interstate 20.
Bijon was devastated but carried on despite his heartbreak. “Kam’s vision was to grow the company and sell it—and we had named the software after him. I knew I had to stick with the business.”
Under Bijon’s leadership, Medac overcame significant challenges—bugs in its technology, financial hardships and legal struggles. “Everyone told me I wasn’t going to make it,” Bijon recalls, “but Kam taught me to be honest and persevere. He had a very positive outlook on life. He was a great communicator—very caring and loving. He was just a great guy. So I went out there and sold and sold and sold.”
Today Medac is one of the largest anesthesia revenue cycle management companies in the world. “I wouldn’t be where I am without Kam,” Bijon says. “I could have done a lot of things to keep his name alive, but Pace seemed like the right fit. Kam was very loyal. He always said that we had to take care of our family first—and although I didn’t expect to get that sense of family from Pace, the school has been amazing. Pace has nurtured our son, Michael Memar [now in seventh grade], and our daughter, Madeline Memar, [who currently attends the Atlanta Speech School and hopes to return to Pace].” The family’s connection to the school has been further strengthened by Diana’s involvement; she taught AP calculus in the Upper School math department for four years.
Kam was 41 when he passed away, and he wanted a family of his own. The Memars believe that Kam—an athlete, avid traveler, consummate dealmaker and intellectual—would have loved Pace, with its focus on global education and commitment to exposing students to a variety of activities and perspectives. They feel it’s a place that he would have found deserving of his loyalty and generosity.
And so the Kam Memar Lower School will stand as a testament to Kam’s passion, charisma and curiosity—and as a legacy of a family’s love.