D. Roger Kennedy
2005 Outstanding Alumni
D. Roger Kennedy truly believes in Dr. Paul Stanton’s vision “to make East Tennessee State University the best regional university in the nation.” From the hills of Southwest Virginia to the large cities of California, Kennedy has experienced much success in his business career. Throughout his success, Kennedy feels that ETSU has been the basis for his achievements in the world of business.
His experience at ETSU from his job as a student worker in the ROTC office to his fond memories of his professors and fellow students made his time here a very rewarding and memorable experience. Roger was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Infantry upon his graduation in 1969 with a business degree. After serving his time in the Army at duty stations in North Carolina, Georgia and Colorado, Roger began his business career in Kingsport at Kingsport Press as an accountant and then for Arcata Corporation which had acquired Kingsport Press. He then worked at Quebecor for 11 years and had worked his way up to Senior Accountant, Senior Customer Service Representative, Senior Market Research Analyst and was Director of Market Planning and Development when he accepted a position with AFG Industries in 1981.
Kennedy’s first duties were to assist the chairman of the board in speech writing, Security Analyst presentations and customer entertainment. He later worked in the Marketing Department as Senior Market Analyst. Roger was promoted to Director of Marketing in 1983 and in 1986 he was promoted to Vice President of AFG Industries and relocated to the Corporate Office in Irvine, California. In 1987 Kennedy was named Vice President of Strategic Planning and Vice President of Shareholder Relations. He then relocated to the new corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. Again he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1989 and became President and CEO of AFGD, a wholly owned subsidiary of AFG Industries. In three years he formed a group that grew this division to $300 million in sales and the largest distributor and fabricator of glass in North America. In 1992 Roger was named Executive Vice President of AFG Industries in addition to his AFGD duties.
In 1999, Kennedy was named Chairman, President and CEO of AFG Industries and relocated to Kingsport. AFG is the second largest glass manufacturer in North America with over 50 glass manufacturing, distribution and fabrication plants in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Kennedy was also a member of the Global Management team of Asahi Glass, Ltd., the largest glass manufacturer in the world. Under Kennedy’s leadership AFG continued to grow with new plants in Mexico and the U.S. He was also instrumental in developing a joint venture with Vitro of Mexico to build the first glass plant in history from a modified glass container plant.
In the past few years Kennedy served on the board of directors of the Glass Association of North America and was named one of the most influential people in the glass industry. He has been awarded numerous certificates of achievement for his work in the industry. He retired from AFG in January of 2004.
Kennedy has served since 2001 on the East Tennessee State Foundation board of directors. He was also instrumental in the creation of the AFG Industries Chair of Excellence in Business and Technology with then AFG corporate executives R.D. Hubbard and Wayne Basler.
While at ETSU, Kennedy was a member of Delta Sigma Pi, Advanced ROTC and the Student Government. He and his wife of 25 years Martha Gray Kennedy met on a blind date in Kingsport. Many members of their families are ETSU graduates and Roger and Martha love to attend Bucs basketball games and watch the golf team.