At a Glance
Glass repair and installation for autos, residences, and commercial structures
Average Project Cost
When it launched in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1950, Kennedy Glass, Inc. wasn’t quite the jack-of-all-glass-trades that it is today. In fact, it wasn’t even known as Kennedy Glass yet. Instead, it went by something more to the point: Auto Glass Co. “Just about all he did was auto glass back then,” Marty Kennedy says, referring to his father, Richard, who entered the industry upon returning from World War II. “The commercial end really kicked in after I came back in to work, following my time in the Marine Corps.” Residential work became part of the business by the time it took on its current name (following the death of Richard Kennedy in 1972), and now, more than 60 years after its inception, Kennedy Glass remains a family affair covering a broader market while taking pride in its employees.
Three Kennedy brothers handle the company’s primary specialties: John manages the auto-glass division; Gary takes on residential work; and Marty, as the general manager, supervises its lucrative commercial division. And, by working in the field with his crews on a weekly basis, Marty ensures his own glass-installation skills remain intact. “I still enjoy getting to the jobs and helping them out with moving glass, setting door frames, doing anything I can do just to help them and to basically get me out of the office,” he says with a laugh.
A look at the company’s substantial commercial workload indicates Marty must get out of the office often. For instance, the Douglas County Bank, founded only two years after Kennedy Glass got its start, has opened several branch offices over the past couple of decades—including a branch opened in 2010—that Marty and his team have installed glasswork in.
The company also played a large part in the 2010 construction of the all-new Simons Center for Emergency Medicine at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. “We worked on four different projects with the hospital as they were remodeling each section,” Marty says. “From the ER to operating areas to a new office complex where all the doctors are housed—a five-story, glass-wall enclosure in a corridor area—it’s quite attractive.”
Another Kennedy Glass project garnering substantial attention—and architectural awards—is Hobbs Taylor Lofts, a retail-office-condo overhaul in downtown Lawrence. The firm got its work done even as the project progressed into Kansas’s harsh winter months—hardly the best time to be installing and weatherizing windows several stories off the ground. “It was pretty difficult,” Marty says. “But I had an excellent foreman on the job, and he just kept moving ahead. If we had to put up temporary plastic and walls, we took care of it. The challenges were met by my super guys out in the field.”
As the company prepares for new projects, Marty’s praise for his staff of 18 comes easily and often, and he points to their long-standing dedication (including six employees with a combined total of 124 years of experience) as what sets Kennedy Glass apart from the rest. In fact, with no descendents of the three brothers in line to inherit the company upon their respective retirements, Marty hopes to someday make it an employee-owned operation. “They represent us in the field,” Marty says, “and they do a super job of making sure we put out a very high-quality product.” ABQ