About Brian Kennedy
Some people bring a special energy…a memorable touch…a unique vision, to everything they do. Anyone who has ever worked with Brian Kennedy recognizes that he is one of those people.
A Minnesota boy, Brian is an Army veteran who came to El Paso in 1975 with US army intelligence. As Brian tells it, he pulled a snow shovel out of the trunk of his car and when people asked “What's that?” he decided El Paso was the place for him.
While serving as VP of Operations for KHEY, he entertained us during our morning drive as a nationally recognized, top country, radio disc jockey from 1984 to 1990 with the unforgettable “Rio Trio” and provided colorful commentary with Paul Strelzin for high school football, basketball and occasional UTEP football and basketball broadcasts.
A valued voice for decades on boards and committees from Viva to the Historical Landmark Commission, to the Sun Bowl, to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, to the FBI Citizen's Academy… Brian brings his game, his wit, his creativity, his persistence and an ability to see solutions after everyone else has given up and left the room.
Brian Kennedy's tenacious ability to hold and execute a vision spearheaded the unique model for a private public partnership that privatized the Coliseum operations in 2003. From that point forward,salaries at the Coliseum, including Brian's, were paid through Hotel Motel tax generated by out of town visitors.
For 23 years.. from 1998 to 2021…as Director and then CEO, he was responsible for the multi-million dollar operations of the historic El Paso Coliseum and the El Paso Sports Commission where his unique ability to negotiate…his skillful business acumen that makes things happen… and his promotional and marketing ability that keeps it happening…brought the Coliseum into the 21st century while turning it into one of the most highly booked, record breaking venues of its size in the Southwest.
Brian's tenacity, relationship building, and negotiation skills gave El Paso the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championship in 2011... the USBC Open Championship in 2015 and Conference USA in 2011 and 2014… resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in sports tourism for our community.
His cooperative relationship with the talented and determined Corey Herman, Head Coach of the El Paso Rhinos and the El Paso Hockey Association gave us a nationally recognized hockey team, helped create the UTEP Club Hockey Team and a public skating program that enjoys such popularity they regularly run out of skates.
The El Paso Sports Commission also resulted in hundreds of sporting events and made the Coliseum a go to community building for local youth sports organizations from figure skating, flag football, basketball, Youth Circuit Fencing, Junior College Field and Track, hockey, wrestling, boxing, martial arts, bull riding, cycling, triathlons, indoor soccer, slow-pitch softball, cheerleading and more. There is scarcely a kid in sports in El Paso that has not been touched by his accommodating dedication to often over-looked youth sports.
Brian was twice asked to lecture at the National Facilities and Event Expos in San Diego and Kansas as a nationally recognized expert in sports events and facility security. Expertise that lead him to serve as a confidential consultant over the last decade to two major national sports leagues and the world's leading sports and event promoters on ingress, egress and safety in the U.S. and abroad.
It seems like Brian's always been around anything to do with sports promotion in El Paso for as long as a lot of us can remember. Which is why, in 2022, he was honored to be named to the El Paso Sports Hall of Fame.
But then, one afternoon in a casual courtyard discussion with his wife about living without regrets, Brian shared that he had always wanted to be a lawyer.
Her response? “Then do it.”
So in 2014, at the age of 59, Brian took the LSAT and was accepted into the first class of the first hybrid law program approved by the American Bar Association. While fulfilling a demanding day job, he completed law school in the evenings and weekends. Along the way he managed to find time to progress through regional and national negotiation competitions to represent the U.S. at the International Negotiation Competition competing against 25 teams from countries all over the world. Brian and his partner won first place and received their medal at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.
And in 2018…Brian Kennedy fulfilled a life-long dream. He became a lawyer… graduating with honors… at the age of 62… from Mitchell Hamlin School of Law...with his then 86 year old Mother watching. Today, he has a full-time law practice and enjoys living his dream every day.
In 2021, Brian was given the unique opportunity to see his legacy continue as he mentors the next generation of leaders for the El Paso Coliseum and Sports Commission. President Omar Ropele and VP Beau Bagley are able to receive the benefit of Brian's four decades of industry knowledge and management experience. Brian serves as counsel regarding sports and entertainment contracts, finance and strategic direction.
So why...you may ask...would Brian Kennedy want to run for City Council?
Because he's mad as hell.
Brian is married to Dennece Knight. They have made their life together supporting each other's crazy ideas. One of those ideas is that you should leave things a little better than you found them.
Together they share six children including: a therapist, a chef, a counselor, head of operations at the Spencer Theatre, a soon to graduate law student, and a medical student, soon-to-be resident, in Emergency Medicine.