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The Bay Area attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world, which makes for a most fascinating and dynamic region. But if you look around, you'll also find plenty of locals who have hitched their wagons to the ever-changing technology behemoth we call Silicon Valley. One of these locals is FindLaw's own Patrick Kennedy, Technology Manager for the Audience Team in Sunnyvale. Kennedy, who started at FindLaw in April, comes to us from one of the Valley's original tech innovators, Hewlett-Packard.
He has always worked in information technology, but really enjoys the business side of things. In his new position at FindLaw, he'll get to straddle those two worlds as he manages product strategies from a technology perspective.
"What brought me to FindLaw was the opportunity to get back to management," Kennedy explained. "I enjoy helping develop people's skills. It's a nice reward to see people [under your management] do well."
Constantly Changing Environment
Kennedy recognizes how rapidly the area has changed since he was a kid growing up in San Jose and Gilroy, before office buildings and homes replaced countless acres of orchards. But he embraces much of this change. For example, the opening of the arena in San Jose -- home of the Sharks hockey team -- was an especially proud moment for him. But for people who have moved away, he explained, returning to the South Bay can be a jarring experience.
"My dad was a police officer in San Jose for 30 years; but he gets lost sometimes when he comes to visit," Kennedy said. "He has these actual beat maps [from when he was an officer], and where we live now isn't even on his map."
Kennedy playfully pointed out that these paper maps were made mostly obsolete by technology developed just a few miles away from FindLaw's Sunnyvale headquarters.
Passion for Travel
Even though Kennedy never left the Bay Area after leaving home, he and his wife are passionate world travelers. Some of his highlights include walking along the Great Wall of China, visiting the majestic Taj Mahal in India, and driving on the German Autobahn. His one regret, though, is not flying across the Atlantic on the supersonic Concord jet before it was mothballed for good.
Even more memorable than what's on the travel itinerary, he said, are the random experiences and chance encounters with interesting people. Kennedy said he has a knack for "Forrest Gumping" his way into such encounters, including the time he was in the UK and jumped into a cab with songwriter Pete Brown (who wrote "White Room" and other hits performed by legendary rock band Cream).
For Kennedy, these opportunities to meet people and hear about their experiences are a part of what makes traveling so rewarding.
And he's not just a frequent passenger on airplanes. Kennedy also is an amateur airplane pilot, although he admits he hasn't been active for a while. His favorite route is the "Bay Tour," which essentially circles the San Francisco Bay.
Hitting the Links
Like a lot of people in the local region, Kennedy is a golf fanatic and plays whenever he gets a chance. But he takes his sport to a whole other level. For one, he makes it a point to play on some of the world's most unique golf courses when he has the opportunity. But he also was selected to test golf clubs for Golf Magazine in Florida, after getting in touch with an editor he knew at the publication.
"They put you in the magazine and write about the equipment from our perspective," he explained, describing this opportunity at yet another "Forrest Gump" moment. Despite Kennedy's modesty, it's clear he only got the gig because he's also a very skilled golfer.
We at FindLaw are proud to welcome Patrick Kennedy to our Sunnyvale office. He's a great example of what makes our company so successful.