Vietnam veteran Kevin Connelly graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration in marketing from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 and immediately launched a 28-year career in the United States Army.
Kevin joined the military after being commissioned as an Armor Officer from an ROTC Program. Fresh out of college, his first assignment was in Germany, where he served as a Tank Platoon leader, an Armored Cavalry Platoon leader and S-3Air for the First Battalion, 35th Armor, 4th Armored Division.
In 1965, Kevin volunteered to join the Vietnam War efforts. He underwent special operations training and learned to speak Vietnamese at The Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. From there, he served on a five-man advisory team to train South Vietnamese counterparts in combat in Mekong Delta. His team averaged over 150 combat missions during his tour in Vietnam. He was awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service. Kevin remained in the U.S. Army Reserves, serving in several assignments including the Pentagon that culminated to his ultimate retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Following his active duty in Vietnam, Kevin joined the U.S. Department of State’s Agency for International Development as an Area Development Director for the Go Cong Province of Vietnam. In that role, he was responsible for economic development efforts, including road and school construction and agricultural programs. He received several awards for this service.
In 1981, Kevin was appointed the Administrative Director for Suffolk County’s Industrial Development Agency. In this role, he helped issue more than $500 million Industrial Revenue Bonds to assist hundreds of growing companies. This resulted in the creation and retention of more than 30,000 jobs in the New York county.
“One of the rules that military officers live by is the responsibility to accomplish the mission and take care of your people. At Apollo Sunguard, we take care of our customers. Every product we sell is backed by a team of professionals who care about your total satisfaction.”
– Kevin Connelly
Kevin decided to relocate to Florida after entering Florida waters in his 43-foot fishing boat. He had traveled from New York.
In 1997, Kevin founded Apollo Sunguard, which became one of the country’s leading shade solution providers. Apollo Sunguard is the only Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business shade manufacturer in the United States.
Since he founded the company, Apollo Sunguard has received numerous awards for its state-of-the-art technology, including a small business award from NASA’s Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program. Apollo Sunguard also is the first manufacturer to receive a prestigious Gold Triangle from the American Academy of Dermatology for shade structures on playgrounds. Kevin continues to bring new economic opportunities to Apollo Sunguard, including the addition of EV charging stations and solar-powered Sunguard Solar Structures™.
Kevin remains active within the business community and supporting veterans. He was president of the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association for five years and remains on the Board of Directors. He also is a member of the Board of Directors for the Sarasota Veterans Commission and a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Veterans for Common Sense.