For more than 35 years, Ken Jenny was a stalwart ambassador of the residential real estate community—always at the ready with a strategic idea, an honest opinion or an incisive quip. Now, the industry mourns his untimely passing earlier this week. According to reports, Jenny succumbed to heart failure in Reno, Nevada, on March 1. He was 66.
“It is impossible to describe Ken in a few sentences—there is just too much to be told about a person who loved life and had so many different groups of colleagues, clients and friends,” says RISMedia Founder, President & CEO John Featherston. “Ken was an original—a brilliant person who achieved great success while helping others achieve their goals and objectives. I was extremely fortunate to have known and worked with Ken on many projects over almost 25 years. He will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him, and he will be greatly missed by all of us here at RISMedia.”
For many, Jenny—founder and owner of consultancy firm tranCen—personified the essence of the real estate business, on the pulse of the latest technology advancements and brokerage deals, while deeply understanding that relationships ultimately fuel the industry’s engine.
“Ken Jenny traversed the complexities and politics of the real estate industry like few others,” explains Allan Dalton, CEO of Real Living and SVP of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “A mainstay of all important industry events, Ken’s presence was always felt but never imposed. Ken was the rare combination of substance and style.”
“When Ken called you to tell you about a company or an idea, it was always an interesting call,” says Wendy Forsythe, chief brand officer of Fathom Realty. “I have the deepest respect for his unwavering commitment to wanting our industry to be better. I’m very saddened by his passing.”
“Ken was a true visionary, change agent and champion for the real estate brokerage business and the industry as a whole,” says Brian Wildermuth, SVP of the Real Estate Vertical for Deluxe. “While the industry has been in constant flux and disruption, Ken was instrumental in shaping the conversation. He consistently studied the industry, the market, the technology and the participants, always staying one step ahead of the rest of us in his ability to see what was next.”
Jenny was named an RISMedia 2019 Real Estate Newsmaker in the Influencer category, an honor that exemplified his value to the industry, and was a participant and speaker at RISMedia events for decades. As owner of real estate brokerage and technology company tranCen, which he founded more than 26 years ago, Jenny provided expert guidance to a who’s-who of clients, including MoxiWorks, Opcity, Hewlett Packard, Trulia, OJO Labs, Zillow Group, Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions, Windermere, Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., ERA Real Estate, RealtyTrac/ATTOM Data Solutions and many others. Earlier in his career, he served as first vice president and COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.
Perhaps even greater than his career accomplishments, however, was Jenny’s inimitable personality, for which many friends and colleagues will remember him most.
“Ken was a friend, colleague and advisor to many of us,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Realogy Expansion Brands. “Personally, I will remember the many times over the years where we got together to share insights and industry banter, with Ken proudly sporting a new pair of Gucci loafers. I will miss you, friend.”
“I remember during my days at realtor.com®, how willing Ken was to offer many thoughtful suggestions as he was inclined to weigh in on most important real estate developments,” says Dalton, who is also a former CEO of realtor.com®. “What distinguished Ken was his complete absence of rancor as his comments, and at times criticisms, were always presented in a most civilized and even courtly manner. The real estate industry has lost a most memorable gentleman and, in the most admirable sense, a true character and riveting personality.”
“Ken had a way of endearing himself to you through a combination of charm, confidence and industry knowledge, and his incredible wit,” says Wildermuth. “Whenever he would introduce me to others, he would say, ‘This is my friend Brian—he has nine kids” (I actually have five). The next time, he would say, ‘This is Brian—he has 12 kids.’ The last time he introduced me, he said I had 23.”
“Ken was an industry icon,” says RISMedia SVP of Sales Kara Stripay. “He always had a contagious smile and something witty to say. Not only was he funny, clever and a pleasure to be around, but he assisted me with many business ventures. I will truly miss him.”
“He was a great friend and mentor to me, and he had a huge impact on my personal and professional success,” adds Wildermuth. “He was one of the most influential minds in our industry with a heart of gold, and he will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
“The residential real estate and homeownership industry will miss Ken Jenny,” says Featherston. “Ken, somewhere you are telling a story or two, while providing needed insight to help improve many lives. Rest in peace, Ken.”