In Memoriam: Ted C. Kennedy

For more than 40 years, Ted C. Kennedy was a leader in pioneering innovative engineering design and construction management concepts and methods for pulp and paper manufacturing facilities. His work significantly contributed to the growth and prosperity of many companies and the industry as a whole. Kennedy was the co-founder of BE&K Inc of Birmingham, Ala., USA, which would become one of the largest privately-held engineering and construction firms in the world under his leadership.

Kenedy earned a worker-friendly reputation as he campaigned for modern, flexible, craft-worker training and safe worker-friendly construction sites. He was a proponent of Merit Shop construction, which employs and trains union and independent construction craft workers together, with the goal of increasing opportunities for employment and making construction projects more efficient and open to innovation.

In addition to promoting worker safety, BE&K also innovated such things as the placement of child care facilities on site, making it easier for women to work in the construction industry. Fortune magazine listed Kennedy's BE&K as one of the "100 Best Places to Work in America." Engineering News-Record Magazine named Ted C. Kennedy one of the top 125 industry leaders in the past 125 years for his time at BE&K.

Kennedy became a TAPPI member in 1972. Over the years, he helped put together numerous technical programs and presentations for TAPPI events. He was often a speaker and panelist at TAPPI Engineering conferences and local section meetings. In 1992 Ted was nominated to become a TAPPI Fellow, a prestigious title held by only 1% of all TAPPI members.

The eldest of two sons, Kennedy was born in McKeesport, Pa., on May 26, 1930. He grew up in the construction business, moving from job to job with his family. He worked along-side his father as a "water-boy" until he was old enough to be on the company payroll and take on more challenging jobs. He graduated high-school in Front Royal, Va., and continued his studies at Duke University in North Carolina.

In 1952 Kennedy earned his degree in chemical engineering. Following graduation, he joined Rust Engineering Co.,and then took two years out of his career to serve in the U.S. Navy. From 1965-71 he held the position of vice chair of Operations until he resigned to form BE&K Inc., which would go on to become an international success.

There is little doubt that it was Kennedy's own life experience and knowledge of construction that led to BE&K being so successful. Ted Kennedy will be remembered for his personal dedication and ingenuity in his time as BE&K's chairman as well as his careful consideration of his employee training and worker safety.