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Bureau of Motor Vehicles

myBMV > Media > Bio of Commissioner Kent W. Abernathy Bio of Commissioner Kent W. Abernathy

Kent W. AbernathyKent grew up in the rural community of Redkey, Indiana and then attended the United States Military Academy (West Point). Following graduation, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army with duty assignments at Fort Knox, Kentucky; Korea; and finally with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Upon completion of active military duty, Kent began a career in business and finance. He received graduate level training at the renowned Chemical Bank (now JPMorgan Chase) corporate credit program in New York City in a wide range of topics on finance, accounting, economics, cash management, capital markets and investment. Following training, he began serving clients as a business analyst and corporate banker in New York City. He then worked with a regional bank where he assisted with establishing a new commercial banking office in the New York City suburban area.

He returned to his home state of Indiana in 1992 to work as Vice President of National City Bank (now PNC) and later as Vice President of Bank One (now JPMorgan Chase), where he managed all aspects of the corporate banking relationships of business clients in a broad range of industries. He later founded his own consulting business, providing strategic planning, management advice and arranging senior debt and private equity funding for client companies. Specializing in the structuring of complex financial transactions, Kent has a comprehensive knowledge of corporate finance, cash management, international services and investment banking applications. Throughout his banking career, Kent remained active in the Army Reserve and National Guard, commanding units at the company, battalion and brigade levels.

Kent returned to active military duty in September 2003, serving in leadership positions at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and Baghdad, Iraq. As a Team Chief in the Army Operations Center at the Pentagon, he led teams responsible for tracking and reporting worldwide Army operations and provided recommendations and background information to senior Army leadership, the Joint Staff, members of Congress, the White House and other federal agencies.

Kent also served as interim Director of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Washington Liaison Office, representing the headquarters that oversees all military operations in 20 Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He also served as CENTCOM’s Washington point of contact with the Joint Staff and other federal agencies. Between his two tours at the Pentagon, Kent served as Chief of Staff of the Iraq Assistance Group in Baghdad, Iraq. There he directed staff charged with supporting U.S. teams training Iraqi Security Forces, and acted as a key link between U.S., Iraqi and other foreign militaries, ministries, government agencies and non-government agencies.

Kent retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Colonel in March 2010 shortly after he joined the administration of Governor Mitch Daniels as Chief of Staff for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in January 2010. Kent led the coordination and synchronization of all staff activities within the agency, including direct supervision of media and communication, finance and accounting, human resource management, and information technology throughout his tenure with IDEM. After continuing his position with IDEM under the administration of Governor Mike Pence, Kent was appointed Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles by the Governor on Feb. 2, 2015.

Kent earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy (West Point), a Masters of Management from Oakland City University and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Kent and his wife Karen, a pediatric nurse, reside in Zionsville. They have three grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters.