(TCS class of 1985) (6/27/2012)
In 1982 Ken Harbin enrolled in the tenth grade at Tabernacle Christian School. He spent most of his high school years at TCS and graduated in 1985. He was the Student Body President his senior year. He was a starting forward on the undefeated 1985 NCCSA State Champion basketball team, a record that has yet to be broken.
Ken came to Christ in 1990. He says he doubts he would have ever been saved if not for the influence of TCS. Mr. Steve and Debbie Morris, two of Ken’s teachers, had a huge impact on him while he was a teenager. Ken says, “I am convinced that it was the Bible knowledge I received and the true Christian example of love that the Morrises and other teachers showed me that God used, even after high school, to convict me.”
After graduating in 1985, Ken went to CPCC Main and majored in math. He also participated in the Chess Club and in Martial Arts.
Ken married Michelle Coates and sent all three of their children to TCS. All of them graduated from TCS as well—Chris (2005), Breanna (2008), and Kaylyn (2009). Ken was the first TCS Alumni to have a child graduate from his own alma mater.
He began working at Liberty Life in 1991 under Nick Jordan. He only planned on working in the insurance field for a short time until he found a better job. However, God had much more planned for him than he ever imagined.
After only two and a half years with Liberty, Ken was promoted to Sales Manager. At the age of twenty-nine he was made District Sales Director of Liberty Life. He was the youngest person ever to hold that position in the history of the company. His district (Union, Anson, Mecklenburg, Moore, and Stanly counties) was comprised of approximately thirty agents and three sales managers. Ken states, “God blessed mightily as He not only blessed me with success, but also allowed me to hire Christians and develop a Christian-based work environment.
In 2004 the Monroe office that he managed led the company nationally in sales for eighteen consecutive months. Ken gives God all the glory by pointing out that this success was “due to the staff God put together for me there. God gave me tremendous Christian employees who then turned out to be absolutely tremendous sales people.”
In 2005 Liberty wanted Ken to move to their Charlotte location, but he believed that God did not want him to accept the offer and had something else in store for him. Two months after declining this offer, God led Harry Stokes to contact Ken, and the two quickly developed a business plan to open his own agency in Monroe. “Harry and his family are openly professing Christians, and our company is an openly faith-based organization, and we are happy to say so with no need of explanation. We are now joint partners in the ownership of Contemporary Benefits Design (CBD) located in Monroe, NC.”
With the blessing of God and a very unique Christian environment, their company grew to thirty-five employees. They also have several self-employed agents under their leadership. “God was very merciful to us throughout the nationwide economic down-turn of 2008.” They experienced some setbacks, but God has caused their business to thrive. As of June 2012, Contemporary Benefits Design has nearly 30,000 clients represented by over 600 companies for which they provide benefits.
Ken is a very faithful member of Bible Baptist Tabernacle. He is there for every service even though he has a very demanding business schedule. He is one of the church’s trustees and taught the high school boys’ Sunday school class for over eight years.
Ken has been very involved as a TCS Alumni and parent. He coached the boys’ baseball team for a time and later helped Stephen Leonard with the Varsity boys’ and JV boys’ basketball teams. During the three years he coached the JV boys, they won two Carolina Christian Conference championships (2001-2002 and 2003-2004). He also coached the Varsity girls for six years. Ken light-heartedly comments, “I was the so-called coach, or as I hear, the sideline entertainment.”
Reflecting upon his high school experience, Ken says, “Prior to coming to TCS, I was not on a good path. Only God knows where that path would have led me. I am thankful for His grace and mercy in allowing me to get off that path and be accepted to TCS. I am always proud to say I was a part of TCS, and I am very proud that my children can say the same. My prayer is that they will come to be as thankful as I am for all that TCS has done for me through the Lord and His grace.”
“God saving me, giving me a wife, and blessing our marriage with three wonderful children and one grandchild is more than I ever deserved. Truly, any other success would be extreme failure. I am so thankful for my salvation. To also have some success in business is so unbelievable, but that is just how God is--unbelievable, exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. To God be the Glory.”
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