Richard J. Kenney, 32, works in Miami as associate director of housing operations and facilities at the University of Miami. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Kenney discusses his passion for the events industry.
Connect with Kenney on Twitter and Instagram.
What I Do:
I provide our clients with the resources and facilities necessary to tell the story they want to share with their conference and camp participants. In doing so, I work to to highlight the University of Miami’s great spaces, resources and staff to our community and on a national level.
How I Got Here:
I started out in a local hotel, Boston Burlington Marriott, in high school setting up for banquets, weddings, business meetings and more—moving from there into a banquet server before leaving for college. My hospitality experience came back after receiving my master’s degree and working for the University of Tennessee, where I was able to experience summer camps and conferences. Now I am working to bring the University of Miami into the national spotlight as a premier conference, meeting, and camp location.
Greatest Career Accomplishment:
I was responsible for the creation of a one-stop location for any external conference or camp clients looking to host their events at the University of Miami.
Since arriving at the University of Miami in 2013, I’ve increased revenue by 200 percent; increased the average number of bed nights per group by 115 percent; increased occupancy and the average length of stay by 115 percent and increased the average group size by 35 percent.
Specific Improvement I’ve Made:
Streamlining the process to work directly through the Office of Conference Services has eliminated processes that are unnecessary or burdensome to the client. Not only does this provide efficiency for the client, it also provides excellent customer service as the client now has one contact to coordinate all of their needs.
What I am Working on Now:
I’m excited to grow and develop my staff. We’ve just hired our first full-time staff member to serve as my right-hand person. Over over the next two year,s our focus is to make the University of Miami not only a household name for great academics and athletics, but for conference, camps, and events.
What I Do Outside of Work:
I compete in triathlons, road races, and running events. Though I’ve been a runner for many years, I only started doing triathlons in February – losing 30 pounds in the process and cutting three minutes off my average mile. I’ve also been working with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce—Leadership Miami group, and volunteering with the Family Learning Partnership to promote their book club, which provides free books to all three year olds within Miami-Dade County.