Kenall Manufacturing Celebrates 50 Years of Lighting Innovation

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Kenall Manufacturing celebrates its 50th Anniversary: Congratulatory letter issued by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel commemorates 50 years of lighting innovation.

Kenall Manufacturing celebrates 50 years of lighting innovation for challenging environments

Kenall Manufacturing, located in Gurnee, Illinois, celebrates 50 years of lighting innovation for challenging environments.

"Kenall has serviced clients throughout the City of Chicago and Illinois for decades. Their award-winning work with the Chicago Transit Authority directly benefits hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans and visitors each day."

Kenall Manufacturing, a leader in the commercial lighting industry, was formally recognized with a congratulatory letter on June 1, 2013 from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to commemorate the company's 50 years of lighting innovation.

Mayor Emanuel states, "Kenall has serviced clients throughout the City of Chicago and Illinois for decades. Their award-winning work with the Chicago Transit Authority directly benefits hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans and visitors each day."

“It is a tremendous honor to receive such recognition from the city where the roots of Kenall run deep,” says James Hawkins, owner of Kenall Manufacturing. “My father hitch-hiked on a freight-train, from Kansas City to Chicago, to find work in a factory. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, my father came back to Chicago and worked for a lighting company. There he invented undercabinet lighting, but he always wanted to start his own business. He named his company Kenall, meaning he (Ken) tried to do it all.”

Ken Hawkins started the company in a storefront on Chicago’s Southport Avenue in 1963. By 1965, Ken and partner Jack White invented the industry’s first vandal-resistant polycarbonate lighting enclosure for the Chicago Housing Authority. Eventually, Ken took over as sole owner, and then in the coming years worked side-by-side with his son Jim, a Harvard graduate.

“I grew up in the lighting business,” explains Jim. “I came to Kenall after graduation thinking I would stay just a few years. Learning about the tremendous opportunity to solve problems in the industry for lighting challenging environments, I decided to continue working with my father and then carry on his legacy.”

Jim became president of Kenall in 1983. Today, Jim continues to lead Kenall into a new era by developing innovative, energy-efficient solid-state lighting solutions for the most challenging environments. All products are designed and manufactured in the USA, at the company's state-of-the-art, vertically-integrated manufacturing complex in northern Chicago suburbs.

Kenall’s great design and manufacturing has the competency and capability to support the dynamic shift to solid-state lighting (SSL) and controls. The company is committed to investing considerable resources in the research and development of advanced lighting products. This commitment is evidenced by Kenall’s state-of-the-art certified laboratory, membership in the Department of Energy’s LED Quality Advocate program and unrelented focus on performance listing.

To commemorate this historic event, the company has developed a full-color capabilities brochure, 50/Kenall® Years of Lighting Innovation. The brochure highlights Kenall’s 50 years of ingenuity, intelligence and innovation. To review the brochure online or to download a copy, please go to http://www.kenall.com.

About Kenall Manufacturing
Celebrating 50 years of lighting innovation, Kenall Lighting, located in Gurnee, IL, produces and supports high quality and durable lighting solutions for the most demanding environments. Since its inception in 1963, Kenall has been known for superior quality, exceptional value, and durable solutions, and it is proud to provide sealed lighting for containment or clean spaces, security lighting for detention facilities, and specialized healthcare and transportation applications. Kenall products are designed and manufactured in the USA and meet the guidelines established under the Buy American Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement. For additional information, visit http://www.kenall.com.

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Editor’s Note: Jim Hawkins is available for interviews by appointment. Please contact Joanne Cummins at (847) 263-6067 to arrange a time.

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Joanne Cummins
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