2005 Distinguished Achievement Award: Will Kenlaw

// Industrial & Systems Engineering

Tags: alumni, Engineers' Day, ISyE E-Day, Will Kenlaw

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Will S. Kenlaw III
Chief Executive Officer
Third Day Corporation
BSISyE ’81
Silver Spring, MD

As a University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate, Will S. Kenlaw III received guidance and support from his mentors in the College of Engineering’s Minority Engineering Program (now the Diversity Affairs Office) that he has never forgotten. He describes former assistant dean Al Hampton and Naomi Walton-Winfield of the program, as people who “embodied their jobs” and “worked to help people achieve dreams that were unthinkable beforehand.” These words now also describe Kenlaw, who has become both a leader in the information technology industry and a role model to generations of minority engineering students.

After receiving a BS in industrial engineering from UW-Madison in 1981, Kenlaw earned an MBA from Harvard University. During his subsequent 19 years at IBM, he held a variety of successively more senior positions, including national practice leader for sales force transformation, principal in the IBM Consulting Group, and global services executive for Citigroup worldwide, where he grew revenues by more than 40 percent in just two years. After serving seven years on the board of directors of Global Management Systems, Inc., a top network and systems integration provider, Kenlaw joined the company in 2000 as executive vice president of corporate strategy. Most recently, Kenlaw and his wife Lydia (Graves) Kenlaw launched Third Day Corporation, which facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property developed at federal laboratories and universities, and assists small companies with business development.

From the time he was an undergraduate, Kenlaw has also encouraged others to succeed and to serve. At UW-Madison, Kenlaw became the first president of the Wisconsin Black Engineering Student Society (WBESS), and founded the Minority Engineering Program’s summer recruiting fair. He has also served as editor of Wisconsin Engineer magazine. In 2000, Kenlaw and his wife — who met through the Minority Engineering Program — established the Hampton & Walton-Winfield Service Award to honor their mentors. The award recognizes minority students who render exceptional service to the Diversity Affairs Office and to WBESS. Kenlaw is also currently a member of the ISyE department’s Board of Visitors.

In addition to his engineering degree and MBA, Kenlaw holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His hobbies include fishing, golfing and reading, and he recently published a book: A Father’s Guide to Raising Daughters: Because I Need One. Kenlaw and his wife have four daughters.