Traveling to Budapest for the Association of Futures Markets 15th annual conference was a fun experience for several reasons. On the top of the list was spending time with the most interesting man in the world.
During the conference, on Thursday night, there was a gala dinner held at a notable restaurant on a plaza near the hotel where the conference was held. One of the conference attendees, knowledgeable in the ways of conference galas, called the week before and asked the conference secretariat if the gala was a black tie event. He was assured that it was. So he wore his tuxedo to dinner and of course, showed up as the only one in black tie attire. Among friends at the event, we immediately gave him the moniker, “the most interesting man in the world” after the character in the Dos Equis beer commercials.
Patrick Kenny of CQG is the most interesting man in the world, and not just because of his dapper tux in Budapest. His story includes his rise from a young, good looking bartender at a Fontana, Wisconsin watering hole popular with Chicago traders. Working days at Gordy’s selling gas, renting boats and even giving water skiing lessons to rock stars visiting the area was just part of Pat’s early work career. After working all day at Gordy’s, he would head to Chuck’s in the evening, tending bar until 2 AM with his best friend Terry Duffy. That is the same Terry Duffy who is now executive chairman and soon to be president of the CME Group. Pat and Terry are lifelong friends who both stood up at each other’s weddings. Both served as pall bearers at the other’s mother’s funerals.
Pat headed to the CBOT and Terry to the CME, taking different paths to success in an industry about to experience stunning growth. Pat is just a touch older than me and had the opportunity to work at the CBOT when the bonds were launched in 1977. He managed the financial floor trading desk for Geldermann and handled some of the biggest accounts and largest traders in those early days for financial futures on the CBOT floor.
You might ask, why does all this make Pat Kenny the most interesting man in the world? Well, just because it does. Why else would actor David Soul, at the height of his popularity in the U.S. television show Starsky & Hutch, want his picture taken with a young Pat Kenny?
He is a native of Oak Park, Illinois, the same hometown as another interesting man, Ernest Hemingway. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota – then an all-boys school – and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but mostly majored in hockey and girls from a nearby all-girls Catholic school.
Pat’s story extends to a life of service to others, including sitting on the village board for that same Wisconsin community. As a trustee of the village board in Fontana, Wisconsin, Pat is also the chair of the finance committee. He is a trustee on the parish council for St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Fontana as well. He serves on multiple board of directors and is environmentally minded. He is on the board of directors of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, Board of Appeals (Village of Fontana), the Futures Industry Association IT Division Board, the board of the Big Foot Lion’s Club and board of the Open Arms Free Clinic.
He is also the loving husband of Lisa, who he met at Chuck’s. In fact, both his brothers also met their wives at Chuck’s too. It was a happening place back in those days. He is the father of three daughters.
Pat hired his wife Lisa as a runner at the CBOT when he was the floor manager for Geldermann. He spent 20 years on the trading floor before moving off it to work in the electronic trading field. I remember seeing him on the trading floor in his blue Geldermann jacket with Kelly green piping and his stunning wife, with her flaming red hair on the CBOT trading floor wearing those same Geldermann colors.
Working for CQG, and Patsystems before that, Pat has traveled the world, spreading the word about the powerful tools to trade the world’s futures markets and help manage risk. He is a regular on the global conference circuit that takes many of us away to exotic and interesting venues around the world. He missed last year’s FIA/FOA IDX conference in London as he was dealing with a bout of skin cancer on his nose. A get well card signed by numerous conference attendees was lost by a colleague in a London cab.
Pat has been featured many times in this newsletter, often at the very top of the box. Where else would the most interesting man in the world be featured? Pat is a friend to many as he is a friendly guy. He is an excellent salesman who inspires confidence and loyalty among his clients. He was a great catch for CQG in 2010.
As an athlete, Pat is special. He was just part of the winning team for the FIA Boca Raton conference golf scramble. Ridiculously, Pat is so flexible today, despite 2 titanium rods in his back and new knees, that even now he can still do the splits. What else would you expect from the most interesting man in the world?
I am proud to call Pat a friend. I was pleased to be able to spend a day with him in Budapest after the conference ended, exploring the castle district and more. Who would not want to spend a day with the most interesting man in the world?
P.S. This commentary had absolutely nothing to do with the fact Pat snapped a picture of me asleep in a room full of people during the first-day regulatory session of the AFM conference. That picture, which he assured me he would share with no one, only makes him that much more interesting to me.