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Kenall Manufacturing CEO keynotes Gateway graduation ceremony

Jim Hawkins, CEO and owner of Kenall Manufacturing, will deliver the keynote address at Gateway Technical College’s Associate Degree and Technical Diploma Commencement 7 p.m. May 17 at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Sports and Activity Center, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha.

The ceremony will recognize 840 prospective candidates for graduation from Summer 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016 and Summer 2016 semesters. An estimated 372 are expected to participate in the ceremony.

Other commencement highlights include the presentation of the 2016 Gateway Technical College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award, which will be awarded to John Kiel.

Kiel is a 1982 graduate of Gateway’s Fire Science Technician associate degree program. He practices law at the law office of John B. Kiel, LLC, in Salem.

Bryan Albrecht, Gateway president and CEO, will deliver the welcome address. Eric Kent, Racine Campus Star Ambassador and graduate of Gateway’s Human Services associate degree program, will provide the student response.

Hawkins, CEO and owner of Kenall Manufacturing, Kenosha, began his career early, working as a teenager for his father, Ken Hawkins, who established the company in 1963. Jim started full time in 1973 and gained direct experience working in shipping, purchasing, material control, and operations. He became the vice president in 1977 and was progressively promoted to the position of president in 1983. Jim has had sole ownership of the company since 1986. Since he took control, Jim Hawkins has increased the revenues of the company by a multiple of 15. The company is currently growing at a double-digit rate.

Hawkins graduated from Harvard College with a degree in government. He was an All-American recognized athlete in high school and swam in NCAA competition. He is a member of many associations including the Illuminating Engineering Society, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Milwaukee 7 Executive Council and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He has two children, both of whom are attending college in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Kiel's Gateway experience gave him the skills to earn a position on the Kenosha Fire Department where he served as a firefighter-EMT, motor pump operator, lieutenant and captain. He retired from the department in 2012 after 33 years of service.

In addition, John also went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science Services from Southern Illinois University in 1984, his master’s degree in 1985 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 and was admitted to law practice that same year. John worked his way to partner at the former Milwaukee law firm of Shneidman, Hawks and Ehlke and, in 2009, brought his practice to Kenosha County when he opened a solo practice. He continues to practice at the Law Office of John B. Kiel, LLC, in Salem. 

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