Earl G. “Ken” Kendrick Jr. (‘65 BS)
Earl G. “Ken” Kendrick Jr. graduated from WVU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. A native of Princeton, W.Va., this Mountaineer has become one of the leading entrepreneurs in the world. After graduating from WVU, Kendrick started his career with IBM in Baltimore, MD. Three years later, he founded Datatel, Inc., which has become the industry leader in the development of software for the management of infrastructure technology for colleges and universities. Today, Kendrick remains semi-active in the operation of Datatel, serving as chairman, and also as president of the Datatel Scholars Foundation, which provides college scholarships to students throughout the United States and Canada.
As Datatel continued to grow and prosper, Kendrick stepped down from the daily oversight of the organization to explore new business opportunities. He served as president of a Texas-based banking technology company for four years in the 1980s until it was purchased by a subsidiary of General Motors. In 1989, Kendrick invested in a community bank in The Woodlands, Texas. Woodforest National Bank now has more than $1.7 billion in assets and is one of the largest employee-owned banks in the United States.
Kendrick’s long-time passion for baseball led him to his next venture – the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 1995, he became a partner of the Major League Baseball expansion team and has played an integral role in helping to shape the team’s future. In 1998, the Diamondbacks began playing, and by 2001, won the World Series. But with that success came a series of hurdles. With most of the initial capital depleted and skyrocketing costs, the team needed a boost. In 2002, Kendrick, along with his three partners, invested $160 million in capital in the Diamondbacks in exchange for control of the organization. While ownership in a professional sports team may have its risks, Kendrick sees this as an opportunity to fuel his own children’s interest in baseball by passing on the legacy to his family.
His love of sports doesn’t stop there. Kendrick is also helping to establish the next generation of young golfers in their quest to break into the PGA. He also owns several golf courses and has a small share in the Phoenix Suns basketball team. In addition to his interest in sports, Kendrick continues to support community ventures in Arizona. He is one of the main investors in the Dodge Theater in Phoenix, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that seats approximately 5,500. He also owns the Bumble Bee Ranch and Bumble Bee Ranch Adventures, LLC, which includes more than 74,000 acres for horseback riding, cattle driving, off-road and helicopter tours, overnight facilities, and team-building activities for companies and corporations.
Kendrick remains true to his alma mater and to West Virginia. Last year, he helped raise funds for new video editing software for the athletic department. He also lent his expertise to ensure that the equipment would meet the needs of the football team.
Mr. Kendrick and his wife, Randy, reside in Paradise Valley, AZ, with their nine-year-old twins, son Cal, and daughter, Catie.