Ken Kahrs ’73, is a Cal State East Bay 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Ken Kahrs ’73, is a Cal State East Bay 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

October 28, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


I can’t say enough good things about
Ken. Obviously we’re good friends we worked together for you know well over
20 years. You know this place was a it what I considered a place that was in
you know in need of real help and without Ken the help wouldn’t have come.
He really transformed the way this place looked at the personnel that we brought
in and he made a huge difference. I’m Ken Kahrs, I’m a retired executive vice
president of human resources at Universal Studios and that job
encompassed all elements of the human resource spectrum from hiring to
training and development to all the employee relations elements that kind of
thing so anything HR related that was in my area. There was about probably 25,000
you know employees in the organization but we all hear a lot about diversity in
Hollywood we hear about the difficulties of inclusion in an industry that’s
dominated frankly by white males that I felt fortunate to be in the human
resource field when the whole issue of diversity really came to the fore in the
workplace and we starting in the 80s I was in a position to impact a diversity
and the company that I was in through both programs, trainings, hiring practices
but in human resources you literally know that during the day there will be
things that happen that you couldn’t have anticipated and and I like that
part of the problem solving, the sitting down with people and working through
issues those kind of things I find very interesting to me and rewarding. You know
I could be in Osaka Japan and you know getting a cab ride and I could say hey
you know what’s your favorite movie and we could talk about free and no that was one of our movies you know have you seen this
or that and it’s an immediate connection and so what I found about entertainment
is that it that’s one of the great benefits is it transcends you know a
specific culture or even a specific country and really has this global
appeal that’s that’s really fascinating and interesting. When I was in college I
wasn’t studying to be in human resources but the people the part that connected
for me both in the field of study I had as well as the career is working with
people there was a specific class that was offered that dealt with leadership
and management and I remember taking that class and it really resonated for
me. It was a case study class so each day when you came into class you were given
a problem as a manager just at the time I thought oh well this is great and I’ll
enjoy doing this in the context of a recreation career but as I say it was
only later when I fell into human resource side I said no no that was
really that was my my fast lane right there and I was fortunate to have that
experience at Cal State. I am Ken Kahrs retired executive vice president human
resources for Universal Studios and I am a pioneer