New Pine-Richland HR director working to negotiate teachers' contract
Attorney Owen Kenney, 36, of Marshall, is gearing up to help 336 teachers get a new contract with Pine-Richland School District.
“I'll be the chief negotiator for the district,” he said. “We'll be meeting with the teachers' union on Dec. 20.”
The teachers old contract expired June 30.
Kenney, who once aspired to investigate crime scenes, is the district's new director of human resources and legal affairs.
“Owen brings a unique background with experience in education, human resources and law,” said Rachel Hathhorn, director of communications for Pine-Richland School District. “He is an approachable, active listener who hit the ground running ever since he came on board in November.”
Kenney succeeds Anthony DiTimmaso, now an assistant vice president for the Community College of Allegheny County.
“I have an open door,” Kenney said. “If anybody has any issues, please bring them to our attention and we'll do what we can to address them.
“The difficult part of human resources is that you can't always address to the satisfaction of every employee what it is they're trying to resolve, but I think it's most important that the employee is heard,” Kenney said.
Kenney grew up in New Castle, Lawrence County, and first worked as an attorney for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the union that represents Pine-Richland School District's teachers.
Before being hired at Pine-Richland School District, Kenney managed union contracts at the University of Pittsburgh. He also was a labor attorney for the Rite-Aid Corp.
A 1995 graduate of Neshannock High School in Lawrence County, Kenney attended the University of New Haven, Conn., then transferred to the York College of Pennsylvania, York County, before obtaining his law degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he met his wife, Nancy, also an attorney. She works for Eckert Seamans in the U.S. Steel Tower.
The couple has a daughter, Lucy, 3.
Kenney said he enjoys playing golf in his free time. He also enjoys going on outings with his wife and daughter to places such as the Carnegie Museums.
Kenney is the son of dentist Lawrence and schoolteacher-turned-homemaker Bethany Kenney of New Castle, Lawrence County.
A bachelor's degree in communications and speech — and several summer internships at a law firm — set the stage Kenney's trip to law school.
“Honestly, I did not have an idea of what I wanted to do,” he said.
Kenney first majored in forensic science in college, but ditched that plan because the curriculum involved too much chemistry.
Kenney said he enjoys working in human resources and legal affairs because of his job's variety of challenges.
“It gives you a lot of interaction with people,” Kenney said.
“You do have an opportunity to do some good and help people in the workplace.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.