Paul Athens graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a Political Science degree in 1986. Since 1950, his family owned  Metron Steel. When Andrew Athens and Thomas Athens sold the company in 1991, it was worth $125 million and had 120 employees. Paul Athens then started up Alpha Steel that brought in revenues of $75 million and had 80 employees. When Alpha Steel was sold in 2005 to Macsteel, a privately held $2 billion steel company, he served as President. The Midwest division brought in $250 million in revenue and had 175 employees. It was sold in 2012 to Kloeckner, a publically traded steel conglomerate. In 2012, he joined Service Steel Warehouse at EVP, a $175 million company with 120 employees. Currently, he acts as President and CEO of Alpha Building Corporation, a real estate holding company with industrial building assets. Paul Athens has been married to Kellee Athens since 1990. They live in Burr Ridge and have three 3 children, Andrew (23), Alexa (21), and JP (16). They also have two twin grandchildren, Seamus and Paul, 3 years old.

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