Meet Kennon’s Engineers!

Rhonda Gould, Joe Wright and Dakotah Gali talk patterns.

Andy Kennah: Quality & Compliance Manager

It is rare to find someone who utilizes the right and left brain exceptionally. Andy is one of these people. She journeyed to the US from South America ten years ago and officially joined the Kennon team in November of 2010.

Andy is mentoring Joe Johnson in the ISO 9000 certification process. She is the iron fist that keeps us compliant, while making sure our customers are happy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and her master’s degree in Business Administration. Needless to say, she is highly organized and we’re the better for it!

Outside of Kennon, Andy practices her creative gene with a family business: KASSI  Catering. She is our very own “Cake Boss.”

Dakotah Gali: Design Engineer

We snagged Dakotah fresh out of college in May of this year. He is one of our talented in-house designers – and we’re talking about products WAY cooler than uniforms or overly-priced skinny jeans!

Dakotah translates 3-D models and other sources into patterns that our production team can use to craft Kennon’s custom covers. He has already used his talents to help create transportation covers for the SH-60 Seahawk, C-17 and C-130, along with a cover for the helicopter mounted turret. As if being a design guru were not enough, Dakotah has stepped up as the go-to guy for Kennon’s mouse-proof, insulated wellhead covers. Not bad for two months on the job!

This Montana native earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming.

Gwen Thomas: Associate Professor of Polymer and Fiber Engineering

Innovation at Kennon largely results from the efforts of our engineers, and the efforts of our engineers are enhanced greatly by the expertise of Gwen Thomas.

Gwen works as an associate professor at Auburn University and began lending her services to us in 2007. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Textiles at Georgia Tech and her PhD in Textile and Polymer Science from Clemson. Yes – she is a genius! She may seem intimidating on paper, but she exudes a certain “southern charm.”

Gwen’s extensive research in the field of ballistic and blast resistance has been the basis for many of our protective materials. She has helped us to create, test and patent these materials. And by testing, we mean shooting and blowing things up!

Besides all of that, Gwen owns a small business, has a pilot’s license and can cook a mean stir fry.

Joe Johnson: Industrial Engineering Intern

Joe joins us from Montana State University – Bozeman for what we hope to be a fun, inspirational and refreshing summer internship. He’s helping us to achieve ISO 9000 certification, thus creating an efficient quality control process. Since May, he has led the production team in correcting, documenting and improving its product kit database. He is also facilitating the layout and production of the soft suicide prevention doors (SSPD). 

Joe brings a contagious enthusiasm to the Kennon team. He plays guitar for “The Public Library,” enjoys motorcycles and plays video games for recreation (only those that challenge his brain…he’s a genuine smarty-pants).

Our favorite “Guitar Hero” anticipates graduating in May 2013 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.

Joe Wright: Vice President of Operations

This man is truly the shepherd of Kennon’s flock. Joe, an expert in “keeping it real,” has created a culture here that is open, honest and fun.

Joe joined us in February of 2010. Since then, he has opened up the communication lines between all of Kennon’s departments. If anyone within the team has questions about production, health and safety, contracts, SSPD, military covers or wellhead covers, Joe will most likely have the answer. And he’ll most likely include a joke, whether it’s funny or not.

Our charismatic leader received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Montana State University. He enjoys anything outdoors.

Kelly Brennan: Engineer

Kelly claims to be a “man of few words,” and that’s what we appreciate about him. He is straightforward, to the point and he gets things done. He is also extremely intelligent, which seems to be a recurring theme in this department.

We brought Kelly on board in 2008. He lends his skills in the departments of research and development, and product implementation. He is the driving force behind the Kennon clamp, a re-positionable alternative to bonded click-studs on an airframe.

A Sheridan native, Kelly earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wyoming. He has a variety of interests, including spending time with his family.

Mark Weitz: Vice President of Research and Development

Mark is an ideas man. More importantly, he sees the bigger picture and can turn an idea into something tangible and magnificent.

Since joining Kennon five years ago, Mark has led our SBIR research efforts and the development of many new products. He is currently overseeing the development of an improved ballistic protection product. Not to give away too many of our secret weapons, but this project could lead the way in the innovation of lightweight protective gear. Be sure to stay tuned!

Apart from being an innovator, Mark is a one-man band: he can sing and play the bass guitar and harmonica. He is also a passionate skier and powder seeker. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University and his M.S. in Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming.


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