by Dan Dupee, CCO President
I was recently looking at a letter I sent to Ken Smith in December of 2003. He had just had lunch with our then Chairman of the Board, Bob Long, and we were nominating Ken to be a Director. Here is what was in the letter:
The opportunity to make a deep and lasting impact on a growing number of college students, many of whom no one else will reach, continues to call us forward. We have so much progress to celebrate, particularly over the past year, but so much left to do in our stewardship of the tremendous potential resident in the CCO. Bob and I both believe that you will play an important part in helping us do our mission with excellence.
That’s what Ken has been about ever since: “helping the CCO do its mission with excellence.”
Ken was born and raised in Warren, Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1984 from Grove City College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Computer Systems and immediately joined H. B. Maynard and Company, Inc. in the Pittsburgh office. While at Grove City, Ken met his future wife, Amy, who is his peer in strength of character, love of God, love of others, and capacity to get things done. He also learned something critical about life and leadership: “that my faith needed to permeate everything I do, including how I lead.”
Ken’s career at Maynard eventually took an interesting turn. As he explains it, “About ten years in, a group of us took over the business after a downturn and rebuilt it based on values-based servant leadership. I’m convinced that clearly stating and living our values was core to building the culture that led to our success.” In 1995, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and was elected to the Board of Directors. In 2001, Ken was elected President of Maynard. In this role, Ken was responsible for setting direction for the company, overseeing operations, and providing leadership development for all employees.
Maynard was a special organization, growing in size and influence, and also gaining recognition as one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania. This success caught the attention of other firms, eventually leading to the sale of the business to Accenture in 2007.
In the meantime, Ken had become part of the CCO through the annual dinner auction. He helped start and lead a CCO golf outing, and he joined our Board of Directors in 2004. Because he was also involved in Family Guidance, Young Life, a church plant, and his children’s school, Ken understood the unique place of the college years in the life of a young person.
Over the years, Ken constantly finds ways to make the CCO better and more effective, whether introducing us to others who might become long-term CCO helpers and friends, or appropriately offering counsel as to how we might better lead in the field. In fact, Ken’s observations about our leadership structure is what encouraged us to completely redesign our Area Director position. He also encouraged a meeting with Terry Timm, the lead pastor at his church (Christ Community of the South Hills), which resulted in a thriving partnership in ministry at Point Park University.
I trust Ken. In fact, Ken, our Executive VP Vince Burens and I have a standing lunch date so that we can check in personally and think out loud about where God is taking the CCO. The conversation can become quite animated!
I am a better leader because I know Ken Smith, and the CCO is a better ministry. His leadership of our Board of Directors has already made a difference. Here is how he describes it in his own words, full of the energy and hope that is classic Ken:
“I am honored to serve the CCO in this role. We are blessed with a strong board and an outstanding staff leadership team. It is my prayer that we will honor and glorify God in all our efforts as we work together to see what He has in design for us next. It’s an incredible opportunity.”