Mr. Kenefick and me

by Eileen Kenney

  • Mr. Kenefick and me

    UP Headquarters, 1416 Dodge Street

  • Mr. Kenefick and me

    UP Headquarters, 1416 Dodge Street

When I started with Union Pacific in 2000, former Chairman and CEO John Kenefick had been retired for 14 years -- but he still came in to work every day. In 2004, when headquarters moved into the new UP Center, Mr. Kenefick was given an office on my floor, and we sometimes shared "hellos" and small talk.

The day the wrecking ball was set to knock down the final piece of the old building at 1416 Dodge Street, I came in from taking pictures of the demolition, and ran into Mr. Kenefick, who was heading out.

"What do you think of that? I asked, pointing out the front door toward the demolition. "Does it make you sad?"

"Yes, a little," he replied. And then, he launched into the story of how he came to Union Pacific, and how the office in that old building where he interviewed for one of his first jobs eventually became his office.

Mr. Kenefick has been referred to as "the founding father of the modern Union Pacific," and here he was chatting with me! I was awestruck. I wish now I had been a little less mesmerized, so that I could remember more of the specifics.

It was an honor and my privilege to share time and stories with him.

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Construction, Historical Events, Working at UP
Omaha, NE
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  • "Could this be Union Pacifics "version" of "STARGATE's-BACK-TO-THE-FUTURE"?

    - Susan Lary a few years ago