Kent Heating and Air Conditioning
2nd-generation owner finds fortune in family, employees, focus on service
After his recent retirement, Allen Kent can now take the time to really review his path as an entrepreneur and second-generation business owner.
“One of my favorite expressions over the years is that I never want to look back on my life and say, ‘I wish I would have done ‘such and such’…’ When you live life to the fullest extent, you will be able to look back and enjoy a feeling of complete satisfaction knowing you gave it your best shot,” said Allen, who just stepped away as the head of Kent Heating and Air Conditioning. “We can’t ask for much more than that.”
Allen led the HVAC family-owned company since 1991. It was launched by his parents, Jim and Norma Kent, in 1954. The team provides residential and commercial HVAC services as well as duct sealing and indoor air quality offerings.
“My enjoyment comes from creating and providing the best of everything possible for our customers and employees, and discovering new technologies that help our customers improve their quality of life by breathing clean, healthy air, being comfortable in their homes and businesses, and saving considerable money on utility costs,” he said. “We became extensively involved in building science and testing homes and businesses. Subsequently, we repaired many homes with air leakage, and helped improve the health, utility bills, and quality of life for them.”
The company was recognized in 2018 with the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award after wrapping up a more than four-year project to open their new corporate headquarters.
“One of my most enjoyable memories was creating what is now our new corporate headquarters,” he said. “Employee involvement in the design was very important to me, and together we were able to create an environment that is incredibly comfortable, ergonomically mindful, and efficient for our employees and walk-in customers.”
Allen said his success over the years can be contributed to four key components: the Lord, supportive spouse and family, outstanding employees and exemplary customer service.
“Karen continues to be my anchor who helps me keep everything in perspective. A loving, respectful family is real wealth to me. Furthermore, one’s creative side comes through with new ideas when you take time for yourself and family, which helps you refocus in a fresh way on your work,” he said. “We have been blessed with the best employees that care deeply about providing the very best service and workmanship to our customers and the company.”
Allen advises entrepreneurs to push the limits and take on a servant leadership role. He led the company to have a community mindset and give back through such organizations as Home Team Valpo, United Way, Valparaiso FOP, the Sheriff’s Department, churches and Orak Shrine.
“Challenge yourself by being innovative, and never believe any idea is too outlandish. We must take risks and push ourselves to make a difference. Sometimes we come up short, but that is where one’s education continues, and we learn so much,” he said. “Be thankful for those times, too, and don’t be too hard on yourself. The setbacks are simply training sessions so you can handle future challenges more proficiently.
“Great satisfaction is derived when you make a difference in people’s lives, and it is very humbling to be chosen to help someone with a need.”
Kent Heating & Air Conditioning
906 Roosevelt Road in Valparaiso