Manager of Maintenance and Engineering, FUJIFILM
- Native of Houston, Texas
- Industry Manufacturing
An engineer, CrossFit coach, husband and father to two active kids, Kevin Kessler found a health-and-wellness centered life at the heart of Upstate South Carolina.
A native of Houston and, later, Atlanta, Kevin never thought he’d end up anywhere but a major city. After graduating from Georgia Tech, he got an opportunity with a company in Upstate SC and, faced with the prospect of relocating, was “actually pretty leery,” he said. “I grew up and lived in big metropolis cities. I love sports and Houston and Atlanta both have great sports teams. I wasn’t too sure what I’d find in the Upstate.”
What he found surprised him and, 20 years later, he says you couldn’t get him to move anywhere else. Kevin initially moved to Greenville and “fell in love with the culture of the city—all of the great food, the music scene, and the energy.” He later relocated to Greenwood, where he now lives with his wife and two children, and grew to love an even smaller city. “Greenwood, especially, is so centrally located. It has a small-town feel and everything you need is right here,” he said, adding that even a trip to see his alma mater, Georgia Tech, play football is just a short drive away.
“It’s such a great place to raise kids,” Kevin added. “People look after each other, the schools are good and everything from the price of housing, my daughter’s gymnastics gym to the cost of gas and utilities is a lot less expensive. You can’t beat the cost of living value.”
That value is a big part of what attracts industry to Upstate SC, according to Kevin, who has been working in manufacturing and engineering since he relocated. After holding roles at National Electrical Carbon Products (NECP) and GNC, Kevin was recruited by Fujifilm, which operates its largest manufacturing site in North America in Greenwood. Today, Kevin has been with the company for 14 years and manages a total of about 40 Fujifilm employees and contractors in his role as manager of maintenance and engineering. At its 3.2 million-square-foot Greenwood site, Fujifilm makes presensitized lithographic plates, both conventional and ink jet photo paper and all of the Fujifilm QuickSnap cameras used around the world.
Upstate SC’s education ecosystem has been another asset to Kevin from a personal and professional standpoint. Shortly after the birth of his first child, Kevin went back to school at night to earn an MBA from University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. “The Upstate has a lot of education options that are really flexible,” he said. “I was able to get a really good MBA while working full-time, with a brand-new baby and my wife working full-time, too. At Fujifilm, we rely heavily on Piedmont Technical College, which is right down the street, to educate and train our technical people.”
When he’s not working or supporting his kids at gymnastics meets and wrestling matches, Kevin is pursuing health and wellness. A Level-2 Certified CrossFit coach, Kevin helped open CrossFit Greenwood, where he coaches three to four nights a week. “They’re my second family,” he said of the 160-member community. “We’re very tight-knit. We don’t just work out together—we go out to eat together, we help each other move, we are there for each other when any need arises.” Kevin is also on the steering committee for “Fujifilm Fit,” an initiative that encourages all aspects of health and wellness in the workplace.
“The Upstate is a thriving area with a lot of energetic people who are conscious about health and wellness, who are dedicated to staying in shape and living full, healthy lives while making a difference in their communities,” he said. Kevin also attends NewSpring Church, where he’s actively involved, and loves to catch a concert or performance at Newberry Opera House.
The Upstate is a thriving area with a lot of energetic people who are conscious about health and wellness, who are dedicated to staying in shape and living full, healthy lives while making a difference in their communities.Kevin KesslerManager of Maintenance and Engineering, FUJIFILM
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