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R. Kennedy Bridwell
Ken Bridwell brings over 35 years of business and legal experience to the art of dispute resolution. As a senior advisor, corporate officer, investment banker and attorney he has guided transactional, litigation, risk management, and organization processes for public and private, domestic and international, goods and services, companies.
Bridwell began his career as a tax attorney in North Carolina, and then represented private plaintiffs in antitrust litigation in the beer, newspaper and retail gasoline industries. He then joined the New Jersey legal department of SPG Energy, a NYSE diversified energy company with business units in oil and gas exploration, onshore drilling, oil refining and natural gas processing, retail gasoline stations, gas appliance manufacturing, propane distribution (Suburban Propane), and central station alarm services. First as Associate Counsel and then as General Counsel he created a full service legal department responsible for all of the legal affairs of the company, ranging from regulatory compliance during the first energy crisis and subsequent wage and price controls programs, to product safety recalls, to acquisitions and dispositions, to national litigation management, to employee benefit plan design and compliance, to union relations, to the creation and management of an offshore captive insurance company.
Bridwell transitioned from the legal to the business side by becoming SPG Energy’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Development. It was in that role that he helped guide SPG Energy through the minefields of competing unfriendly tender offers into the arms of a white knight.
He was then recruited to be the General Counsel of a private medical equipment distributor and to prepare it for and lead it through a two-tier capital funding project consisting of a private placement and a subsequent public offering of common stock. Before the private placement could be completed, the owners received an offer they could not refuse, and Bridwell negotiated and closed a pooling of interest transaction that gave the owners freely tradable registered common stock in the buyer.
Bridwell’s multilayered transactional background led him to the world of cross border finance with the New York office of an Australian investment bank. In addition to his involvement with the U.S. placement of Pacific Rim securities, he found himself again involved in oil and gas exploration when he successfully raised funding from an Australian public utility for offshore gas exploration and production in the Philippines for a Texas wildcatter.
After the Australian investment bank was acquired by DeutscheBank, Bridwell was recruited to create and manage a full service North American legal department for Switzerland based SGS, the world’s largest inspection, testing, certification and verification company with operations in over 140 countries. In addition to handling the entire spectrum of legal matters faced by business today, such as commercial contract negotiations, real estate, labor and employment issues, regulatory compliance, mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, he managed an annual litigation caseload of from 10 to 50 matters in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, including class and collective actions, and represented SGS in numerous dispute resolution proceedings.
His SGS experience included admiralty disputes involving contaminated or damaged goods, vessel cleanliness, personal injury and vessel damage, subjecting vessels to arrest in foreign ports.
Most recently, Bridwell has served as the General Counsel for private engineering and environmental consulting firms that are not subject to the compliance burdens of SEC regulation. Beginning long before Sarbanes-Oxley, he wrote and installed Codes of Business Conduct, anonymous hotlines and other procedures in each of his companies both to promote ethical business conduct and to identify and deal quickly with allegations of misconduct. He has conducted numerous internal investigations and has had to confront possible criminal violations of law by corporate employees, in some cases working with federal investigators and prosecutors.
For over a decade, Bridwell has been a pro bono mediator in New Jersey Special Civil and Small Claims Courts helping more than five hundred litigants settle their disputes amicably without the time, expense and risks of trial.
Upon graduating from Westminster College in Missouri, Bridwell joined the Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam. After leaving active military duty with the rank of Captain, he graduated from Duke University Law School, and later attended the Executive Program in Business Administration at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Bridwell is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and North Carolina.
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