Chattanooga-based Kenco, a locally grown business with an international footprint, on Friday marked its 63rd year with a permanent tribute to founders Jim Kennedy Sr., Jim Kennedy Jr. and Sam Smartt.
The distribution, transportation, and supply chain company that employs 1,200 people in Chattanooga and more than 4,000 worldwide, dedicated newly planted trees at “Founders Grove” at its Riverside Drive headquarters.
“Although they didn’t know it when they started out in 1950, my grandfather, father, and uncle would go on to make a lasting mark in the Chattanooga business community and in the international supply chain industry,” said Kenco Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Jane Kennedy Greene. “I am so pleased that we can honor them in a way that will last for decades.”
Greene said the company that started with two employees now has warehouse operations involving about 100 facilities and 30 million square feet. Annually, the privately held company has about $422 million in revenues.
“Chattanooga has a lot of home-grown feathers in its cap,” she told a group of several hundred at Kenco headquarters, where it employs about 300 people.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, an attorney, said he comes from a family business, too. But, he noted the size and scope of Kenco.
“A great thing is to see a truly successful family business,” he said. “They’re willing to invest here and in the people here.”
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said what Kenco had done is what he likes to see happen here.
“It’s companies like Kenco that step up to the plate that make a community so much better,” he said.
The Kenco family of companies consists of Kenco Logistics Services, Kenco Transportation Services, Kenco Material Handling Solutions, Kenco Management Services, Kal-Serv and JDK Real Estate.