A Family Affair
The Kinney family had its origins in the Hebrides of Scotland and came to Massachusetts in the early 1600's. They later moved to New Brunswick, Canada where they remained until the end of the 19th century. Successive generations of the family, active in the blacksmith trades and as pastors, met the challenges of the New World experience along the eastern seaboard. Moving west, they made Cincinnati their home in 1920, working in the spring steel business for the emerging automotive industry. In 1929, they began their journey into the engineering arena.
On February 4, 1929, a new engineering firm, Kinney & Ehlers, Inc., was started in downtown Cincinnati. A.M. Kinney, Sr. had attended Purdue University and learned the practical realities of his profession in various engineering offices in town. Confident in their abilities and in the nation's continuing growth and productivity, Kinney and his partner retained a young attorney named Robert A. Taft to draw up the papers of incorporation.
After renting an office in the Dixie Terminal Building and employing a stenographer, the firm was ready for business as consulting engineers. They specialized in professional mechanical engineering services and boiler plant design, pioneering in the use of powdered coal. Neither man could have anticipated the stock market crash that would come eight months later.
A. M. Kinney, Sr. bought out Ehlers' interest in 1931, and led the corporation for a total of 37 years, serving as its CEO until 1966. "A.M.", as he was known, saw the firm grow from two employees to one of the largest professional firms in the country; from a one-room rented office to a large corporate headquarters building. During his tenure, the practice evolved from offering services in a single discipline to a firm offering fully integrated consulting services in many disciplines, with branches in New York, Chicago, Denver and other cities. He gave the company his expertise and infused it with his belief in hard work and a determination to excel. His influence on the business affairs of the company is still evident, as is the company's continuing commitment to the moral and spiritual principles by which he lived.
With the senior Kinney's retirement in 1966, his son, A.M. Kinney, Jr., became Chairman of the Board. He had studied liberal arts at Denison University, then served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After over four years in the service, he returned to school, studying both law and engineering at the University of Cincinnati and graduated with a Doctorate in Law. While in private law practice for many years, he also served as general counsel to the firm and assistant to the president.
A.M. Kinney, III started working for the firm as a teenager in the engineering model group. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, he worked in various departments in the company until his appointment in 1989 as Vice President - Administrative Affairs. Upon the death of his father in 1993, A.M. Kinney, III, also called "A.M.", became Chairman of the Board, representing, as his name suggests, the third generation of the family, and continuing the close Kinney identification with engineering and architecture in the Cincinnati community.
Reared with a strong awareness of God's presence and purpose in their lives, the Kinney family has made their beliefs an integral part of their corporate identity.
During the Second World War, A.M. Kinney, Inc. added architecture to the growing list of capabilities it provided. Also during that period, a process design entity was formed called Processes Research, which in later years evolved into Kintech Services Inc. and which was merged into A.M.Kinney, Inc. in 1997. Walter Kidde Constructors, Inc joined the group in 1973, strengthening the overall capability of the firm in construction management. Vulcan Cincinnati, Inc. was acquired in 1975 to provide technical design services, proprietary processes and process licensing in the methanol, petrochemical and solvent recovery industries.
Today, the firm provides an unusually wide range of total design capability, offering complete mechanical, electrical, structural, civil, industrial and chemical engineering consulting, as well as planning, architectural design and construction management services, locally, nationally and internationally.
In 1932 the company moved from its suite of rooms in the Dixie Terminal Building to the Carew Tower, and then went to the Enquirer Building in 1940. By 1949 the company needed considerably more space. On December 1, 1949, it moved out of the downtown area into a building on Vernon Place, near the Vernon Manor Hotel in Avondale. The firm's headquarters were located there until its return to the downtown area, with the grand opening on December 1, 1999 - coming back fifty years to the day after leaving.
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