Bill and Lou Kennedy consider their first date to be a trip to Blue Marlin in Columbia’s Vista, after a Georgia-South Carolina football game where they first met. While at the restaurant, Lou started asking about Bill’s business, a Florida-based manufacturer called Nephron Pharmaceuticals.
“I asked how many customers he had, and he said ‘three, my old company and two people who used to work for me’,” Lou Kennedy remembers. “And I said, ‘don’t you think you ought to diversify?’ That was the first time we ever met.”
Today, they have been married 20 years, and Nephron is based in Lou Kennedy’s home county, operating on a 715,000-square-foot campus in a Lexington County industrial park. Thousands of workers develop, produce and distribute a wide range of medical products. Lou Kennedy went from an interested outsider to the majority owner, now overseeing the company’s latest expansion during a time of growing needs in the medical field and a global pandemic.