Alabama Academy of Honor


Ted C. Kennedy

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2005 and 2012.



Ted C. Kennedy was a founder of BE&K, Inc., a worldwide engineering, construction, and contract maintenance firm. Born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, he received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Duke University. After graduating from Duke, Mr. Kennedy joined Rust Engineering Company, leaving for two years to serve his country in the Seabees.

In 1972, Mr. Kennedy and two colleagues left Rust to form BE&K. They began their business with a simple philosophy to support their clients, their employees, and their community. Today, with more than 40 locations worldwide and over 8,000 employees, the BE&K family of companies remains dedicated to those core values. Because of its commitment to integrity, quality, and efficiency, BE&K has grown into one of the most successful design/construction companies in the world. Its success can be measured not just by the many projects it has completed, but also by the quality of the organization itself. Under Mr. Kennedy's leadership, BE&K was named one of the top sixteen medalist companies out of 300 companies honored in the book, Companies That Care The Most Family-Friendly Companies in the United States. Its Child Development Center, BEKare, received the NOVA Award in 1991 for innovation in providing benefits to construction workers and recruiting women into the construction workforce; and BE&K was chosen by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 best work places in America. The company has received five OSHA Star Awards (the highest safety level) presented by the U.S. Department of Labor, and its Employee Solution Program was cited in EEOC's publication, Best Practices in Private Industries. BE&K also received the FBI Director's Community Leadership Program Award for what has been described as one of the nation's outstanding drug-free safety programs. Both Mr. Kennedy and BE&K have been honored as inductees into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame for their outstanding accomplishments in the field of engineering and construction. In September 1999, Engineering News-Record magazine recognized Mr. Kennedy as one of the top 125 industry leaders within the past 125 years.

Mr. Kennedy's honors and awards include Duke University's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1981; the first Crystal Vision Award from the National Association of Women in Construction for his role in the promotion of women in construction; and the Finnish Decoration of the Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland for his work as the Honorary Consul of Finland in Alabama from 1993 to 2003. In community affairs, Mr. Kennedy served on the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and as Board Chair of the Housing Enterprise of Central Alabama. He also served as a Commissioner with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District and chaired the YWCA's Second Century Campaign. In education, he served on the Alabama Commission on School Performance and Accountability, as CEO of the SDE 21st Century Project, as a member of the Board of Directors of the A+ Education Foundation, and as chairman of the National Board of Directors for INROADS, Inc., a national career development organization for minority youth. Mr. Kennedy was also known for his work with the Children's Hospital of Alabama, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Leadership Birmingham, and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Kennedy had four daughters, two sons, and three grandchildren.

Mr. Kennedy passed away on May 8, 2012.