April 14, 2014 | Volume XXI, Issue 14

Graduate sees no average day as president, CEO of RNC host committee

Published: February 20th, 2012

Category: Feature

By Jared Misner Ken Jones, Republican National Convention CEO and president

For Ken Jones (JD 98), next to normal is as good as it’s gonna’ get.

“An average day? That’s a misnomer,” Jones said with a laugh. “I don’t think there is such a thing.” “I’m so used to being nervous that I get tense when I’m calm,” Jones said.

As the president and CEO of the nonprofit 2012 Republican National Convention Tampa Bay Host Committee, Jones is responsible for managing every detail of the three-day celebration to officially nominate the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential candidate. The details range from raising $55 million, to making sure the perfect color confetti litters the floor, to training an estimated 10,000 volunteers.

And all of those details have to squeeze into a day of waking at 5 “whether he likes it or not” to get his sons, Cal and Hubbell, ready for the day; a full-time job as the executive vice president and general counsel at the global investment firm Communications Equity Associates where he keeps tabs on about $1 billion; and, on a recent day during the Florida GOP primary, hurrying off to a presidential debate at the University of South Florida at 9 that evening.

“I get tired just telling you,” Jones said. “Every day is different. Every day is unique.”

But for a man who’s been “going full speed” since he moved to Washington, D.C., two months after graduating from UF Law to serve as former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s chief legal counsel and deputy chief of staff, the general counsel to the 55th Presidential Inauguration of George Bush and the senior strategic adviser to the last three Republican National Conventions, voluntarily planning one America’s two quadrennial political conventions is right up his alley.

“This is a big airplane. It isn’t easy,” said Robert Watkins, a director on the RNC Tampa Bay Host Committee. “But what Ken does is make it look easy.”

Editor’s note: Read about other accomplishments and appointments of UF Law alumni in each issue of UF LAW magazine, http://www.law.ufl.edu/uflaw/.

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