Chat Room - Ronald Kooch

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By Lance Coleman

There are days when Ronald Kooch spends his time at a desk in an office. There are other times when he’s in the presence of Hollywood movie stars. While Kooch doesn’t make movies, he does make the buildings where the movies are shown.

Kooch, 44, is the vice president of construction with Regal Cinemas. He and his wife, Tami, have one daughter, 13-year-old Andrea, and they live in Maryville.

Kooch says he gets to sees the stars at openings when Regal will tie the opening of a theater to the appearance of a movie star or movie stars. "I don’t get to be with them on a personal basis, but it is interesting to see how they act in person compared to the concept you have of them," he says. "It’s interesting to see they’re just regular people."

Kooch has been in the construction industry since he graduated college in 1985. The Knoxville-native had moved to Nashville and, when he got the job with Regal, he moved back to the area and his family settled in Maryville.

Kooch said building theaters has become more challenging in recent years with the onset of stadium seating in the late 1990s. Now theaters are more of a destination location.

"It’s exciting to make the project something people want to see and be part of and enjoy," he said. "That’s the main reason I like doing this," he says.

When not building theaters, a big part of his life is his family’s church, Monte Vista Baptist in Maryville. This relationship with their church was strengthened in May of 2006 when an early morning fire destroyed their home. The fire ignited in the room where the water heater was located. Kooch suffered burns on his feet when he pulled his daughter from the fire.

"It was a blessing to see how our church family came together and supported us," he says. The Kooch family has since rebuilt their house.

Here is Ronald Kooch:

What was your most embarrassing moment?
"When I was 10, I was playing in a piano recital in front of the other students and parents, and I went blank in the middle of the piece and could not finish."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"I wanted to be an architect. When I went to college, a friend of mine graduated in architecture, and he could not find a job. I went into Civil Engineering which gave me multiple career options and during college I interned with a general contractor. I enjoyed the construction industry and the opportunity to take something from paper to bricks and mortar."

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
"Loyal. If I commit myself to something, to a company or job, I’m focused in making sure I do what is best and what is right. I’m committed to my marriage, my job, and I want people to know they can trust me with something."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Kooch says he wanted to be a professional football player, just like NFL great Dick Butkus. "As a kid you always mimicked or tried to play like somebody. He ruled the field when he was playing."

What was your first paying job?
"Working as a groundskeeper at Holston Chilhowee Ball Park."

What’s the best thing about Blount County?
"It’s a very friendly community and a great place to raise a family."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
"I would like to have more hair on my head."

What is your passion?
Kooch says his family is his passion.

To what do you attribute your success?
Kooch attributed his success to the example of hard work exhibited by my his mother and father and the support of his wife and daughter.

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"Tom Landry. He exhibited integrity, discipline and dedication as he lead the Cowboys from 1960-1988."

What do you hate?
"People who have problems but have not looked for the solutions."

What’s your favorite quote?
"When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn." - Tom Landry

What’s your favorite toy?
"I don’t have one at this time, but it would be a motorcycle, a Honda VTX-1300."

What do you do to relax or for fun?
Kooch says travel, golf and going to the movies are what he does to relax or have fun.

What is your dream vacation?
"A 14-day cruise to any warm destination. We really like Bermuda."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"Although I did not grow up in Maryville, I have become a Rebels fan."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
" ‘The Wedding Singer.’ I like Adam Sandler. It is just a hilarious movie."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"I can’t pick just one because it is the ‘Left Behind’ series."

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?
"I would tithe to the church as well as donate to the local Christian music radio station. I would take a long trip around the world to visit all of the places and attraction my family would like to see."

Would you travel in space?
"No. I’m afraid of heights."

What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
"Bond, James Bond."

If you couldn’t live in Blount County, where would you like to live?
Kooch says he would live in Western North Carolina.

Who has been the best United States president of the last 100 years and why?
"Ronald Reagan. His ability to restore the vision of prosperity and his strides in foreign policy especially, with the Soviet Union, helped to bring back America’s confidence and stability at home and internationally."

Coke or Pepsi?
"Diet Coke."

What is your favorite sport and your favorite sports team?
Kooch says he loves football his favorite teams are the Tennessee Vols and the Dallas Cowboys.

If you were King for a Day, what edict would you immediately pass?
Kooch says he would ban smoking.

What is your favorite animal and why?
"Rabbits. I used to raise them when I was a kid."

What is the best present you ever received?
Kooch says the best Christmas present he ever received was his daughter, whose birthday is during the holiday season on Dec. 8.

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"Don’t waste your time worrying about things you can’t change."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
"Yes, for playing football with erasers during class."

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