2000 Distinguished Service Award: Thomas Kunes

// Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tags: alumni, CEE E-Day, Engineers' Day, Thomas Kunes

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Thomas P. Kunes
Kestrel Management Services, LLC
MSCEE ’75, BSCEE ’70

Since he began his career in environmental engineering as a student at UW-Madison, Thomas Kunes has believed that putting good ideas to work inevitably leads to success. Thirty years later, the entrepreneur is still combining his interests in engineering and management to create innovative business practices.

Kunes, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the college, engaged in groundbreaking research as part of his thesis. His work characterized and predicted the environmental impact of industrial waste disposal, forming the basis for new industry standards and governmental policy changes.

Kunes spent six years with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources where he was instrumental in building one of the nation’s first state regulatory programs in waste management. Kunes also spent a year as an instructor and waste management specialist with UW-Extension, guiding the planning of new countywide solid waste collection and disposal systems.

Kunes combined his experience in engineering with his passion for entrepreneurship in 1977 when he co-founded Residuals Management Technology, Inc. The environmental engineering consulting firm was sold in 1983, but Kunes continued in management of the company until 1997, growing it to $90 million in annual revenue.

In 1998, Kunes and his partners developed Kestrel Management Services, LLC, a management consulting firm serving industrial clients in environmental management systems design, risk and liability management programs, and business process improvement.

Kunes served as a member of the visiting committee for the civil and environmental engineering department and participated in the Vision 2000 committee to raise funds for the new Engineering Centers Building.

Kunes and his wife, Anne, have two married daughters, one granddaughter and a second grandchild expected late this year. They enjoy UW-Madison sports, reading and travel.