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John Kennedy founded Irish Realty in 1978. He began his career in commercial real estate by working for John Kilpatrick as Vice President of Kilpatrick Investment.

Kennedy received a bachelors degree from Oklahoma City University in History and Political Science and a masters degree from Harvard University in Public Administration. He received an Alumni Achievement award from Casady School. Kennedy was also honored with the Spirit Award from Harvard for helping establish a community service program. He received a Tulsa Community Service Council "Dreamcatcher Award" for his efforts in creating the Oklahoma Office of Volunteerism. Preservation Oklahoma recognized him for "Individual Contribution to Historic Preservation" for his work on the First National Center.  Kennedy was a 2015 Heartline Festival of Hope Honoree.

Kennedy was appointed Oklahoma Secretary of State on January 14, 1991 and served for three years. He is the youngest to have held the office. Kennedy also served for four months as Interim Secretary of Commerce at the beginning of his term. He was a charter member of the Quality Oklahoma Council. During his tenure, the Secretary of State's office led the state in fiscal year 1993 with the lowest ratio of employees vs. budgeted employees. The office also led all agencies by returning 40 percent of its budget to the treasury at the end of the fiscal year. The office cut business filing time from four weeks to one day.

He was a member of the board and audit committee of MD Building Products. Kennedy served as a member of the five person State of Oklahoma Cash Management and Investment Oversight Commission. He was also a commissioner on the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. Kennedy served on the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Dean's Alumni Leadership Council and was recently named to the HKS Fund Executive Council. Active in the community, Kennedy serves on the boards of directors of Cristo Rey OKC, O.U Children's Hospital Foundation, and O.U. Fred Jones, Jr. Art Museum. He is current Vice Chair of The Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum. Kennedy is a past board president of Heritage Hall School, Westminster School, and deadCenter Film.

He is a native of Oklahoma City and has five sons.  Kennedy coached little league baseball for over 20 years.

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