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Faculty and Staff

Poole Staff Spotlight: Meet Jonathan Hennessy

By Caroline Barnhill

Alabama native Jonathan Hennessy made his first foray into facilities as a graduate assistant working in recreation and wellness at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro while pursuing his MBA degree. Then, in 2017, he found his way to NC State – taking on a facilities coordinator role with the department of recreation and wellness.

Three and a half years in, he was perusing the NC State job board when he came across an opening for an operations manager at Poole College – and decided to go for it. In 2020, Hennessy became the Office of Business Services’ first operations manager and helped centralize business operations across the college. A year and a half later, in a full-circle moment, Hennessy stepped back to his roots by taking on the role of Poole College’s director of facilities. In his current role, you can find Hennessy performing site walk-thrus, overseeing facility-related tickets, touching base with contractors and site managers, and – his favorite – dreaming and visioning how to create dynamic and innovative spaces that support and drive the college’s mission and vision. More than anything, he says, “My nature is to serve and support my colleagues in any way that I can.”

Q&A with Jonathan Hennessy

What is a project in your current role that you are particularly proud of? 

We’ve had several, but one we recently completed that I’m happy about is our renovated Port City Java lobby area within Nelson Hall. When students step back on campus this fall, they’ll see a totally new space. We ripped up the carpet and tile, repainted, added new digital displays and revamped the seating. The old space was pretty outdated and not as functional for students who wanted to gather together and collaborate. We added lots of varying types of soft seating – even spilling from the coffee shop into the hallways – to make space for students to hang out with friends and collaborate with classmates, colleagues and faculty.

What’s the most memorable Poole College event you have attended?

It is very hard to pick just one event, so I’d say all the college’s DEI events. Tayah Butler puts so much thought and creativity into them and I love the chance, especially now that events are in-person, to participate with colleagues across Poole. 

Jonathan (far right) with Poole colleagues.

Why do you love being a part of Poole?

We live out Think and Do every day. From Dean Buckless down to my current supervisor, Maggie Merry, I am given a lot of support to take action on things. I’m a doer and am grateful for leaders who enable me to do

Tell us more about your life outside of Poole College.

Jonathan and his wife are world travelers. Here they are in Paris.

My wife and I love to travel. COVID pressed pause on a lot of that, but we’re now going wild. We will be going to Spain in November and to the Czech Republic in February. We want to explore the world and we both appreciate having a sense of freedom and adventure in our relationship. Also, I love being active – whether that’s going to the gym, playing basketball or even just going for a walk or run. That’s another reason I love my job. I could be disassembling a desk and moving it across the building – I never sit still for long. 

My Poole colleagues might not know…

He might have grown up in Alabama, but Jonathan’s heart is with the Oregon Ducks.

I love the Wolfpack, and since I’m from Alabama, I also cheer on the Tide – but I’m actually a big Oregon Ducks fan and have been since I was a kid. Growing up, people either cheered for Alabama or Auburn. However, watching the Oregon Ducks with their fast offense and flashy jerseys made a big impact on me as a kid. I couldn’t wait for the next game to watch them again. And I’ve stayed a big fan ever since.