Bill Kennedy, one of the Waunakee Rotary Club’s newer members, gave his classification talk at the June 24 meeting.
Bill showed a black-and-white image of Waunakee’s entrance sign from the time he was in high school. The population was 1,611. His mother was born at home on Main and O’Malley Streets, and his father grew up on a farm in Westport. In 1953, his parents moved Bill, along with his eight brothers and sisters at the time, to the farm in Westport, where the family grew to 11 children.
Bill’s father was a Rotarian and Paul Harris fellow; his brothers Tom and David are club members – Tom is the outgoing president.
The Kennedy farm was 20 minutes from a world-class university, and five of the Kennedy children attended UW-Madison. Bill attended from 1968-72, a turbulent time when class could be canceled due to tear gas at protests. It taught the students to be politically engaged, he said.
Bill earned his degree in journalism. He married, and he and Cyndi have three children, Chris, Cole and Katie.
Bill began a career in advertising and has been growing businesses for 40 years. He began Kennedy Communications, which does $37 million per year in billing, has been operating for 38 years and has 37 employees. It invests heavily in media research. Among the clients are Anytime Fitness, Cost Cutters and Culligan Water. Bill shared videos created for Sand Valley Golf Course and Culligan Water, along with one about Kennedy Communications. The latter explained the transition process as his children, Chris and Katie, take ownership of the advertising firm. Both have been in different fields of the industry and are bringing their talents since purchasing Kennedy Communications in December. Bill is now working “part time,” just 40 hours per week instead of 60, and he seems pleased about Kennedy Communications’ future.
“Whenever you start a business as an individual, the succession plan is a big deal,” Bill said.
Other news:
-Tuesday, June 29, is the steak fry, or changing of the guard, at Drumlin Ridge Winery. President Tom Kennedy said he has a number of Harris Fellows he had been unable to present during the pandemic. He’ll present them at the steak fry. If you can’t make it, let him know. Bob Klostermann said music will start at 5 and the grill will be fired up for steak or chicken at 5:30 p.m.
-Tom Bertz attended as a guest and visiting Rotarian. Tom has moved to Waunakee from Stevens Point. He is a retired lawyer who has had an active career.
-Jim Kattner participated in Make Music Day Waunakee at Hometown Pharmacy.
-Yours truly, who writes the newsletter, completely forgot about some of its functions. Please pay attention to the list of greeters, below. Your name might come up. The newsletter will also include the guests and visiting Rotarians from now on.
Guests: Kevin McDaniels, guest of Jennifer Tasker; Paul Cardella, guest of Phil Willems; Bill Kennedy, guest of Tom Kennedy.
Visiting Rotarians: Tom Bertz.
Birthdays: July 4, Sean Wayne; July 4, Todd Schmidt.
Anniversaries: None.
Greeters: July 1, Roberta Baumann and John Cullen; July 8, Scott Cochems and David Dargenio; July 15, Al Dassow and Lori Derauf; July 22, Pat Durden and Fritz Durst; July 29, Jim Elvekrog and Daniel Evans.