Nineteen years ago, Kenny Ames, CCAS BA ’99, and Evan Nierman, CCAS BA ’00, played on opposing teams in a pick-up soccer game upstairs in the Smith Center gym. The two did not meet again until 2017, when Kenny responded to an employment ad at Evan’s PR firm, Red Banyan. A few weeks later, Evan offered Kenny a job.
“He was actually the wrong fit for the job,” Evan says. “But before I could pass him over, I was bombarded with emails from mutual contacts he enlisted to urge me to interview him.” Evan relented, and at the interview dinner, Kenny showed up with signed letters of recommendation from lawmakers. Evan was so impressed, he created a new position—one that would optimize Kenny’s skills—and brought Kenny on board to help accelerate the company’s growth in the Washington, D.C., area.
“It was my wife who found the Red Banyan ad,” says Kenny, now director of client relations at the company. “I liked that the application process asked me to write an essay giving examples of how I exhibited the core values of Red Banyan—results, integrity, commitment/can-do attitude, accountability, and speed.”
What began as a chance encounter between two students at GW has culminated into a business relationship that will strengthen the Colonial bond for many years to come. No surprise, since Kenny and Evan both credit GW for influencing their life trajectories in countless ways.
“I worked for Aubre Jones, GW director of recreational sports, officiating soccer, basketball, and indoor hockey,” says Kenny. “Aubre recommended me for an internship with DC United, where I spent two years serving as visiting team liaison by helping opponents navigate the D.C. area.”
The internship led to Kenny’s first ‘real’ job as special assistant to Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “Since I was experienced in coordinating an entire opposing team while they visited D.C. for a match against the United,” he says, “I claimed I could handle driving around a member of Congress.” From there, Kenny gained experience in providing multiple services to the government, which was a key talent that helped him secure his position at Red Banyan.
Kenny continues to stay involved with the GW community, most notably by mentoring brothers at his fraternity, Sigma Nu.
Evan also launched a career through one of his many internships, the last of which turned into a seven-year tenure at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). “Just minutes after the GW graduation ceremony concluded on the Ellipse, I said a quick goodbye to my parents and hopped in a cab to cross town and help run a three-day conference for AIPAC,” he laughs.
But Evan’s most poignant GW memory occurred seven years later when his diabetic wife gave birth to their son. Both wife and son made it through a difficult delivery as the result of swift action taken by the GW hospital staff. Evan recalls strolling over to the Marvin Center to get a bite to eat: “It was a surreal experience sitting on campus in the same chairs where I had enjoyed many laughs and meals with friends. But this time, I was seeing other aspects of GW that make it a special place. Not through the eyes of a student, but as a proud and thankful new father.”
Kenny and Evan will present a GWebinar: “Media Training 101 – Formula for Success” on Wednesday, December 6, 2017.