Hennessy Construction Services marked its 90th year by hosting a grand birthday party in the conservatory of the Hazel Hough Wing at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts. It was an appropriate place to observe the occasion; Hennessy led the museum expansion.
Numerous civic and government leaders filled the space, with former Mayor Rick Baker calling the wing "one of the truly spectacular parts of St. Petersburg." He said Hennessy figured strongly in new construction during the past 10 years, "the biggest construction boom of our history." The company's projects included work at the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts, Resurrection House, the Childs Park YMCA, Jordan Elementary School and St. Anthony's Hospital.
Mayor Bill Foster and other speakers complimented the firm's efforts toward environmentally sound practices. Resurrection House chief executive Cynthia Sinclair said Hennessy's "fingerprints are all over St. Petersburg."
"I've worked with the best," said Yann Weymouth, senior vice president of HOK Architecture, who designed the Hough Wing, "and this is the best."
Hennessy president Bronson Alexander expressed gratitude for colleagues, staffers and his family, especially his wife, Mary. "If you know Mary, and you have Mary in your life," he said, "anything is possible."
Rays senior adviser Dick Crippen was master of ceremonies. The evening included food and drink and tours of the museum's current exhibition, "The Baroque World of Fernando Botero."
A civic celebration to honor new St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster drew several hundred guests to the Mahaffey Theater lobby and its stellar waterfront view.
"Get Jazzed About St. Petersburg" featured area musicians Rick Gee and Rick Gee's Jazz Jam, Kenny Drew Jr., the Rebecca Zapen Jazztet and the Jose Valentino Band, along with hors d'oeuvres and desserts.
It was difficult to hear Foster and master of ceremonies Al Reuchel, a news anchor at Bay News 9, but the mood was upbeat. The event, sponsored by the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the Junior League of St. Petersburg, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Chamber and the St. Petersburg Times, was a fundraiser for Brookwood Florida, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of History and the Junior League.
Event chair Elise Minkoff and co-chairs Taylor Montgomery and Ann Vickstrom led a committee that included the history museum's Mary Wyatt Allen, Brookwood's Sue Cramer, the league's Chloe Firebaugh, the Woodson Museum's Terri Lipsey Scott, mayor's representative Virginia Littrell and the Junior League's Chloe Firebaugh, Mardi Bessolo, Stacy Brandenstein, Erin Connors, Rachael Russell and Christina Shinsky.