Kenneth Lewis was born in 1934 in New York, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1955, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1958. He clerked for a U.S. Federal judge in New York after graduation from Law School, and then moved to Portland, Oregon, where he practiced law. In 1963 he joined Lasco Shipping Co., which operated a fleet of ocean-going vessels carrying cargoes throughout the world.
Mr. Lewis was President of Lasco Shipping Co., from 1979 until his retirement in 1994. He served on the Board of Directors of two international marine insurance organizations: the Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association, Ltd., of London, England (1986-1994); and the Swedish Club (of which he was Deputy Chairman) of Gothenburg, Sweden (1987-1989). He has traveled extensively in Asia, beginning in 1963 to Japan and Korea and in 1979 to the People's Republic of China, making over a hundred visits to these countries.
He previously served on the Presidential Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy (appointed by President William J. Clinton in 1996). He is past president of the Port of Portland Commission to which he was appointed by both Republican and Democratic Governors.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of Pacific University, the Board of Visitors of the University of Oregon School of Law and the Board of Directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was the national Chairman of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of New York, and was the founding Chairman of the "I Have A Dream" Foundation in Oregon. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Ballet Theatre, of which he was Chairman and President, and the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, of which he was President. He previously served on the Board of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Mr. Lewis received the President's Public Service Award in 1991 from the Oregon State Bar Association, and the Equal Opportunity Award from the Urban League of Portland in 1997.