KNO… the early years
… KNO was founded in 1979 in the state of Washington, USA. Steven J. Kelly, founder, had just finished Army service and was contracted by local military bases to provide customized personnel training courses. During the early 1980s, he relocated the consultancy to Houston, Texas, where he undertook a 5 year project in methods / training support for a nuclear power plant construction project. Partner, M. Mari Novak, joined him in 1984; and together they worked with a variety of clients in Texas and Nevada throughout the 1980s.
… KNO headquarters was relocated to Czechoslovakia in 1990 just after the “Velvet Revolution,” opening offices in both Prague and Bratislava. After the split of Czechoslovakia, KNO set up two separate firms operating as KNO Česko and KNO Slovensko. During the past 15 years, KNO teams have worked on projects in almost every country in Central and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caucasus, and the Baltics.
…KNO principals and consultants have provided performance improvement, individual and organizational capacity building, and human resources management services to a wide range of sectors. KNO has developed specific expertise in several areas, and works with clients on an exclusive basis within any given sector.
…KNO was abbreviated from Kelly Novak Opportunities but in recent years is reflected in the adage Knowledge Needs Opportunity.
- 1979 founding by Steven J. Kelly upon completion of active service as officer in US Army
- 1984 begins with M. Mari Novak joining Steven J. Kelly as partner
- 1986 concludes 4 year project with the South Texas nuclear power plant
- 1990 concludes multiyear performance improvement projects with the City of Reno and Sierra Pacific Power in Nevada
- 1991 relocated and register a limited liability company in Prague, Czecholslovakia
- 1992 early cooperation with the US Peace Corps begins which extends throughout the 1990s
- 1992 the first joint Comprehensive Salary Survey in cooperation with Coopers & Lybrand (later PricewaterhouseCoopers) was conducted
- 1992 contracted under USAID funding to open training support offices in the Czech and Slovak Republics for the next decade
- 1993 selected as the training partner by GM / Opel for a 5 year project to open the Czechoslovak retail dealer market
- 1994 starts a (then) Big Six Audit firm comparative salary survey in several countries
- 1994 delivers its first Off-site Retreat and Teambuilding event
- 1995 partner Steven Kelly elected to the first of several terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic
- 1995 introduces Mystery Shopping into Eastern Europe with clients Shell, KFC, McDonalds and Hertz
- 1996 introduce to the Czech / Slovak market the first complex computer-based marketing and manufacturing training simulations
- 1998 co-organized with Česky Telecom the first run of „The Olympics for the Young and Talented” using its management simulation as a competition tool for university students
- 1998 organizes the first of over 80 donor-funded study tours with groups from all over Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union
- 1998 begin first USAID funded performance improvement projects in Palestine and Lithuania
- 2000 sells its 50% share the Czech and Slovak Salary Survey to PricewaterhouseCoopers after their merger.
- 2000 Mari Novak elected to a term as the President of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic, also having served as a founding member and member of the Board for over 5 years.
- 2001 develops an internet tool research tool FAMA which processes on-line corporate surveys
- 2002 introduced the first HR simulation game in the Czech and Slovak languages
- 2002 conducted human resource assessments for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in Russia and Uzbekistan
- 2004 senior partners of KNO – Steven J. Kelly, Mari M. Novak, and Anna Čermáková – awarded Certified Performance Technologist designations, by the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
- 2005 develops OrgMapa, a new comprehensive corporate survey tool
- 2006 hosts the ISPI Europe conference in Prague
- 2006 starts a continuing emphasis on USAID Human and institutional Capacity Development (HICD) with early assessments in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Republic of Georgia.
- 2007 assumption of leadership of KNO Česko by local partners Michaela Karásková and Hana Hanibalová
- 2008 begins the first of two terms for Steven Kelly on the Board of Directors with the International Society for Performance Improvement
- 2010 brings much media attention to KNO by Slovak media such as Hospodarske Noviny (Economic news), Firma magazine and the Slovak-American Chamber of Commerce
- 2010 initiates the first KNO project in Latin America (Nicaragua) working to support civil society
- 2010 kicks-off the Performance-Driven Project Management certification sponsored by ISPI
- 2011 celebrates 20 years since the start-up of KNO Česko in Prague
- 2012 receives a certificate of merit from the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations (link) for our Performance Driven Project Management program for the Turkish Cypriot Community
- 2013 celebrates 20 years of operation in the Slovak Republic under the leadership of Anna Čermáková
- 2014 initiates a several year capacity building program in Vietnam focused on strengthening non-profit organizations in the health and disabilities sector
- 2015 rolls out a capacity development effort for senior consultants across all sectors in Kyrgyzstan
- 2015 honors for M Mari Novak by the International Society for Performance Improvement conference with the prestigious Geary Rummler award for the Advancement of Performance Improvement
- 2017 concludes a 5 year capacity building project in Rwanda focusing on agriculture, health and education sectors.
- 2018 sees the publication of Performance Assessment and Analysis: Development Solutions for Worthy Results
- 2019 celebrates 40 years since KNO founding in 1979