Kendrick’s office in downtown Jacksonville is filled with many replicas of
Noah’s Ark. They are displayed on tables and shelves and are in every shape and
size — from Christmas trees to key rings.
didn’t initially consider myself as a collector,” she said. “I had one or two
and then people started giving them to me. As you can see, the collection has
grown over the years.”
same might be said of Kendrick’s career. When she graduated from UNF — twice,
once in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and again in
1995 with a master’s degree in accountancy
— she was clearly headed for a stellar career as an accountant. But
along the way, her innate curiosity led her down a much different path.
working for several years in accounting and really enjoying the challenges
inherent to the field, I found myself more and more involved with technology,”
Kendrick said. “I had always enjoyed working with technology and was always
asking questions about it and that led to a much deeper understanding and soon,
I became the go-to person for technology in finance. That curiosity and
subsequent knowledge increased my circle of influence.”
Kendrick is the chief information officer at JEA, a leading electric, water and
sewer utility with almost $2 billion in annual revenues that serves more than
800,000 customers in Northeast Florida. She joined the public-owned utility company
in February 2000 and is responsible for a $500 million information technology
has spent the majority of her career focusing on integrating technology
solutions with regulatory, legislative and business process requirements,
resulting in solutions with a high degree of customer satisfaction and
measurable results — much of which she learned while at UNF.
of the reasons I truly enjoy working at JEA is because it is not just a job,”
Kendrick said. “It really is a rewarding career, but it is also a way of making
my community better. That was the same string of thoughts I had about UNF, as
well. The professors work at UNF because they have a higher purpose. The core
values of UNF and JEA are very similar.”
Kendrick does not just talk the talk. She devotes much of her free time to the
public good. She has served on numerous boards and presently sits on the UNF
Board of Trustees, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Edward Waters College
President’s Advisory Board and UNF’s Small
Business Administration’s Regional Council.
who is a certified public accountant and a certified management accountant,
said her experiences in graduate school at UNF really led her to develop her
curiosity and to learn at a much deeper level.
master’s degree was the beginning of my learning experience, not the end,” the
mother of three said. “There, I learned to have curiosity about learning
itself. I learned to be willing to ask why and to question what I was hearing.
I learned not to consider anything definitively, but to ask why. That lesson
has served me well in my career and in life.”
While on campus, Kendrick had one
professor who truly made an impact not only on her education, but on her life.
Jeff Michelman, a professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance at UNF,
challenged Kendrick and her fellow students to take their learning to a
different level — one that went beyond books. She said he taught them all that
they had a critical role to play not only at UNF but in the community as
active, engaged learners who need to question everything.
Michelman said Kendrick was a
student who came to class and spoke up and asked questions when she did not
understand something. She worked hard, Michelman said, made her dreams a
reality and is really a role model for all students, but particularly women and
those of color because she did not allow anything to stand in her way. And she
chooses to give back. “I do not know of another Coggin (College of Business)
alum who has been as supportive of faculty research both intellectually and
financially with grants.”
has been married to her husband, Aaron, for 26 years. They have three beautiful
children, Angelica, 24; Aaron, 13; and Joshua Luke, 11. Degrees from UNF run in
the family. Aaron Sr., the first in his family to graduate from college, has
three degrees from the Coggin School of Business and Angelica is currently a
UNF undergrad studying psychology who plans to pursue a master’s degree in
mental health counseling, as well.
I chose UNF because of its reputation as a quality institution, I soon learned
it was much more than just learning from a book,” Kendrick said. “The whole of
my educational career was based on the premise of learning as a journey, the
constant pursuit of solutions for the greater good. I think UNF instills that
in each of its graduates — it instills the importance of giving back. And that
means giving back to UNF, as well. I would like to remind my fellow alumni that
we are all obligated to give UNF a little back — whether that be something
large or something small — for all it has given us.”