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Kelly Niland started at AIM in 1992 at the time of the CIGNA acquisition. AIM had about a dozen people in fund accounting, a figure that increased to more than 120 people when he left the department some years later. “There were about 200 people at the company when I started and you knew everyone; by the time I left there were around 2,000 people. What was remarkable was the amazing growth, the people, and all the projects we got to work on. We were creating history”, said Kelly.
One career highlight for Kelly was the reopening of the AIM Aggressive Growth Fund - “I believe we had over a billion dollars come into the fund in one day so the fund went from $500 million to $1.5. Then the market went down so timing was perfect to buy since the fund was cash heavy”.
AIM proved it wasn’t just a place of work; that it was a community was reinforced several times during Kelly’s tenure. Kelly and his wife had twins who were born at a very busy time in 1999; they also had a 16 month old. Having children during the GT Global acquisition was tough and fellow alumnus Dana Sutton came to his house and helped with the twins.
“Another difficult time was when my wife at the time developed breast cancer and so we went through treatment at MD Anderson. Mary Benson came to visit during the surgery and Sidney Dilgren came to me as well when she found out and told me to take as much time as necessary. I believe I took 3 weeks to help my wife recuperate and take care of the kids who at the time were 3 and 5.”
Kelly enjoys athletics, particularly the pole vault. He quit the sport in high school at 17, with a personal record of 14’6”. He had won district every year and would place 3rd or 4th nationally, but he had an accident and therefore decided to walk away. His daughter, Abi was an optional gymnast for 6 years and “retired” to try pole vaulting.
“We went to New Braunfels for a spring break camp. On the second day I met an 89 year old, Adolph Hoffman. He jumped right in with the kids. I was inspired, and at 50 realized I could still do it. So I’ve started up again and it’s been great. I work out with a bunch of teenagers and I’ve lost 25 pounds. I’ve met a lot of great people. Not only Olympic Champions, but lots of other inspiring people.”
In addition to pole vaulting, Kelly enjoys hunting. He’s had to take a break from hunting while he focuses on raising 3 teenagers. Kelly finds being a single parent challenging, but very rewarding.
Kelly has fond memories of his 13 years at AIM and all the wonderful people. He also thinks the AIM alumni site was a great idea as a way to stay connected.