Tallahassee Man Pays it Forward to Help The Homeless

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

30 Years ago Rick Kearney was angry that he was transferred from Pensacola to Tallahassee. But now, three decades later. the CEO and President of Mainline is one of the biggest community activists in the Capital City and to list the number of awards he has won could take hours.

You could say Rick Kearney is a visionary, but that wouldn't be doing him justice. Maybe more of a prophet of sorts. In 1986 he left a job at IBM in Tallahassee. He did it to spend more time helping the homeless and in doing so, almost found himself out on the streets.

"When I left my real job, I had zero dollars and I had to live off the generosity of other people which I didn't feel to good about at the time. So having been virtually destitute myself, it gives you an indelible memory of what it's like to be out there without."

These days, Rick Kearney will never again have to live without. He decided to re-engage in the business world while continuing his public service. But his business, which is now the number one business partner to IBM, outperformed anything he could ever dream of.

"I just wanted to pay my bills, I had life issues, babies."

And now Rick Kearney pays his bills and the bills for many others. At last check, Mainline Industries is somewhere in the neighborhood of a 500-600 million dollar per year global company. It provides system software help for those who need it, but beyond that, it's a forum for Rick to help the entire Tallahassee community.

"I love Tallahassee. I love the people. I love what it brings, the environment."

Kearney could have taken his business anywhere. Atlanta and Orlando came calling, but he wasn't interested. What he is interested in though, even more than expanding his business, is helping the homeless in Tallahassee. And now for the first time, he's ready to unveil his plans about what he hopes to accomplish in the not so distant future.

"I have a secret. I have a heart for the homeless and I would like to be part of a major undertaking in Tallahassee that serves the chronically homeless, indigent, as well as those who are on the border line and need something to tip them over."


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