Mark Kennedy (in red shirt) may have taken a round-about route to a degree in business - he attended five different state and community colleges before graduating from UH - but the former pro skier says obtaining a college diploma was a promise he made to his parents and is happy to have kept.
Now, Kennedy, a project manager with Haseko, is back in the classroom, this time as a volunteer teacher for the Building Industry Association of Hawaii’s Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training Program, a comprehensive vocational training program designed to give non-traditional students the skills and career-readiness training needed in the construction industry.
During the sessions, Kennedy shares his first-hand experiences with students, relating the textbook material to real-life work. He also tries to keep their minds open to the many different varieties of trade work available after graduation.
“When I was first starting out in the building industry, I was a laborer for plumbers, which meant digging ditches,” he says. “I had a good job, but realized I didn’t want to do it forever. While I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the industry, I just knew that I liked building, so I stuck with it. As a result, I’ve had many different industry experiences and have learned so much from so many people.
“And what’s great is that I find I’m still learning, especially when I get asked a tough question from a student. This has helped me to learn along with them.”
And when he and his wife, Jeanette Mori, learn about a cause, watch out! “Many times we will read or hear about volunteer help needed somewhere and will impulsively just sign up and go help out, even though we are not formally involved with the project,” he reveals. Some organizations they have been involved with throughout the years include Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer Society, Toys for Tots, the Hawaii Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Hoakalei Cultural Foundation and various beach cleanups.
“Volunteering is part helping, part being involved, part learning and part teaching,” Kennedy states. “It’s amazing what you can learn about or help with just by showing up and participating.”
It just goes to show, you never stop building your education portfolio.
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