A lifelong entrepreneur and former executive of The Desmond Hotel in Colonie has joined The Daily Gazette’s advisory board.
J. Kenneth Desmond III was appointed the newest member of the board this week. Created in 2012, the board advises the newspaper’s executive board, which includes Elizabeth Hume Lind and Bill Hume. Also on the advisory board are Kathryn E. Hume, Bill’s daughter; John B. Johnson, of the Johnson Newspaper Corp.; and Jon Segal, former president of Freedom Newspapers.
“I like to get involved in businesses that are sorting things out, trying to grow or turn things around,” said Desmond. “It’s something I just enjoy doing.”
Desmond was born and raised near Philadelphia.
He attended Wagner College in Staten Island, where he majored in business and journalism before moving on to the University of Pennsylvania to study computer programming.
In 1977, Desmond helped found a company called Relocatable Wiring Systems, Inc., in East Boston that developed a system to cut down on the labor costs associated with building and installing complex wiring systems.
Two years later, the business was sold to Lithonia Lighting and Desmond took on a position at the company overseeing engineering and manufacturing before becoming corporate vice president of sales.
Desmond moved to Vermont in 1984 and founded Powerline Communications, Inc., a company that manufactured electrical components and grew to be the nation’s largest manufacturer of low-voltage lighting-control systems. This company was sold to Cooper Industries in 2008.
He also has experience in commercial real estate.
He formed a commercial development company called Greentree Park, Inc., in 1988 that was responsible for the development of a 13-parcel industrial park next to the Burlington International Airport.
In 2000, Desmond moved to Albany part time to manage the 323-room Desmond Hotel and Conference Center on Albany Shaker Road near the airport.
His father, John K. Desmond, founded the hotel nearly 40 years ago. The younger Desmond moved to the Capital Region full time with his daughter four years later.
In 2007, he stepped down from his role as vice president and general manager of the hotel, leaving it in the hands of his two grown sons.
He was on the board of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce in the late 2000s before serving as chairman in 2009. Today, he serves on the board of the New York State Restaurant Association.
Now 64 and retired, Desmond is preparing to move to St. Augustine, Fla., where he plans to do a lot of sailing, a lifelong hobby.
He’ll return to Schenectady for meetings of the Gazette’s advisory board.
“I look forward to the opportunity to help the newspaper get back and grow to where it really should be,” he said.