Meet Kent Abernathy
“A Lifetime of Service”
Kent Abernathy is a husband, father, businessman, veteran, and native Hoosier.
A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Kent’s lifetime of service emulates the West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country. Just like his father, who was a paratrooper in World War II, Abernathy went on to serve in the 82nd Airborne division. He also completed Army Ranger training and later flight school, becoming an Army aviator.
After nearly seven years of active duty, Kent transitioned to the Army National Guard and moved to New York to work in commercial banking. After several years in New York, Kent returned home to Indiana where he worked as a vice president for two Indianapolis banks, gaining a comprehensive knowledge and appreciation of the factors that drive successful business and economic growth.
Throughout his business career, he remained active in the Army Reserve and National Guard. In 2003, with Americans defending freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kent felt the call to return to active military service. He took on various leadership roles in the Pentagon, including serving as a Crisis Action Team Chief and Director of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Washington Liaison Office. He urged his superiors to send him overseas and was deployed to Iraq where he served as Chief of Staff for the Iraq Assistance Group.
Kent retired from the Army Reserve as a Colonel. His military awards and decorations include the Senior Army Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal.
Kent returned to Indiana and served in the administrations of Governor Mitch Daniels and Governor Mike Pence, learning the importance of effective, efficient government. During the Pence administration, he was appointed as the 25th Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). In that role, Kent oversaw the passage of landmark legislative reform that simplified and streamlined the Indiana motor vehicle code, resulting in a 96.3% customer (citizen) satisfaction rating. Most recently, Kent served as the Executive Director of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.
Kent and his wife, Karen, a pediatric critical care nurse, have been married for 39 years and live in Zionsville. Together they have three sons, three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.