Steve Kennedy was born in 1956 in Lima, Ohio, where his father, a civil engineer, was working on a building project. Not long after, the family relocated to the next construction site - a pattern that was repeated again and again, taking them from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and points between, until the late 1960s when they settled near Indianapolis.
Growing up, Kennedy regularly visited large construction sites with his father, seeing how projects progressed from blueprints to building completion. By the time he graduated from high school, his interest in construction had converged with his aptitude in science and math, and he pursued a civil engineering degree at Purdue.
During his senior year, shortly after the blizzard of 1978, Kennedy accepted an employment offer from Charles Pankow Builders to work on design-build construction projects in Hawaii. He spent the next six years on resort hotel, high-rise office, and condominium projects on three Hawaiian islands.
In 1981, Kennedy married and was joined in Hawaii by his wife, Carla, after she completed nursing school in Indianapolis. In 1984, he relocated to Pankow's corporate headquarters in southern California, managing building projects around the Los Angeles area.
In 1986, Kennedy moved back to the Midwest to join Duke Construction, the construction division of Duke & Associates, at the time a builder and developer of office and industrial real estate in Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Since then, Duke has grown to be one of the largest real estate
companies in the United States. A publicly-owned real estate investment trust traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Duke owns more than 135 million square feet of commercial property and boasts offices in 20 cities.
Since 1994, Kennedy has served as executive vice president
of Duke Realty Corporation and head of Duke Construction, which serves as design-builder and general contractor on Duke Developments and for third party owners with recent annual construction volume between $700 million and $1 billion.
Kennedy says that in addition to providing a foundation of engineering knowledge, his Purdue education helped him develop the work habits and problem-solving abilities necessary for success.
These ideals seem to have been passed on to the next generation of Kennedy engineers. He and his wife, who live in Carmel, Indiana, are the proud parents of Eric (BME '08), who works for Smith & Nephew in Memphis, Tennessee, and Alex (CEM '08), who works with Clark Construction in Washington, DC.