Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder in Miami: Stan and Joyce Cohen

Self-Made Man

Stanley Cohen was the eldest of four children of a New York City furrier. He grew up on Long Island, but his family moved to Florida in 1948, when Stanley was 14. He graduated from Miami High School in 1951, then earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida.

He married young, and the couple soon had two children, Gary and Gerri.

Cohen took a junior management job with a construction firm. He was a fast learner, and he struck out on his own in 1963, when the ambitious man was not yet 30 years old.

He called it SAC Construction Co., after Stanley Alan Cohen.

Florida map, with Miami locator
Florida map, with Miami locator

The population of Florida doubled from 5 million to 10 million between 1960 and 1980. The Miami area gradually was transformed into a bustling and hip ethnic polyglot from its former reputation as a Jewish retiree's last stop en route to the hereafter.

Cohen's firm, based in Miami, was positioned to capitalize on the construction needs of that population boom.

SAC specialized in commercial constructionstrip malls, medical facilities, government buildings, warehouses.

Cohen juggled many building projects at a time, but he managed to keep a discriminating eye on all of them. He visited his numerous job sites regularlyrelentlessly, as his employees and subcontractors might have put it.

He also began to branch out from construction into its companion enterprise, real estate development. Over the years he built a business with scores of employees and dozens of projects across the State of Florida.

Not coincidentally, along the way he got rich.

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