Meet the HARMAN Luxury Audio Team
Name: Kevin Kent Position/Job Title: Technical Trainer With HARMAN Since 2013
With Meet The HARMAN Luxury Team, our goal is for you to get to know us better. In each edition we feature a different member of the team, and this month it's Kevin Kent, Technical Trainer.
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
I regularly team up with Global Line Product Managers to deliver training programs surrounding new product introductions. A vital process, that I consider key, is consultation with the engineering team to understand and clearly communicate new product technologies for both a technical and non-technical audience. The technical trainings are largely demonstrated in presentation, technical documentation and providing extensive assets and direction for the production of our world-class eLearning modules on the Harman University website.
What did you study in school? Did you always imagine yourself doing something like what you’re doing now, or did the fates just take you in that direction?
I always imagined myself pursuing a career that somehow revolves around art. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into art school for high school where I began more intensive studies in visual art, music and audio engineering (a course called “recording arts technology” at the time). My primary purpose for studying the latter was to record my own music. However, this afforded me the opportunity to use the facility to record other musicians, and I soon found a passion for getting the best quality recordings that I possibly could. I continued my studies into college where I achieved the highest course levels for audio engineering and music technology and spent an extra year as an intern managing and maintaining the audio recording facilities, live performance spaces and audio equipment. Teaching beginner audio courses was also part of my responsibility as the audio studio intern. I can’t say that I always imagined training people on audio equipment as a career, but that is certainly the direction I found myself heading in even back in college.
How did your career path lead you to HARMAN?
During college I was getting live sound gigs at local music halls and theater venues, but I got my real first professional recording engineer title on a film production for Turner Classic Movies. After getting a taste of working with a professional production company I applied for another internship and was hired on at a world-class music recording studio in Seattle. To make ends meet, I was working evenings as a Pro Audio specialist at Guitar Center where I made relationships with manufacturer representatives. A product manager from Loud Technologies, the parent company of Mackie and Ampeg, ultimately offered me a technical support position at their company. This was my introduction to working for a manufacturer of audio equipment. During that time, I was presented an opportunity to join the technical support team at HARMAN. With the support of my wife - fiancé at the time - we decided to pack up our cats and move to Los Angeles. That was the start of my journey with HARMAN.
What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
One of the first and most important things I have learned is not to take shortcuts. It will cost you more in the long run. Hard work and perseverance pay off.
Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
What I value most comes from personal work relationships. I suggest fostering and appreciating professional connections. If you can, create an environment built of people who will inspire you, criticize your work and give you the most honest opinion you can ask for.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I couldn’t be more proud of having a career in a field I’m passionate about (working with the absolute best in the industry), but family is everything. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I have.
When did you first realize you had a passion for music or audio? Was there any one song, band or movie that did it for you?
I’ve had a love of music as far back as I can remember. I specifically remember being infatuated with the family record player. My dad bought us kids our own collection of records, mostly including musicals and kids stories, like the Mary Poppins soundtrack and Dr. Seuss stories. He would also record live radio performance broadcasts on a TEAC ¼-inch reel-to-reel tape machine for us. When I became a little older, 5th grade or so, I discovered the magic of his dual deck cassette player and created my first bounce-back (ping-pong) recordings. I would record my favorite songs from the radio on one cassette and duplicate it on the second cassette with a live microphone plugged in and act as disc jockey between songs. I would have friends over and we would perform and record comedy skits, interviews, phone pranks, etc. That is also around the time I got my first guitar, so I think this is when I really fell in love with music technology and audio hardware.
What current technology impresses you the most?
Improvements in battery technology.
What's your favorite music genre?
The desert island question, of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could listen to only three albums, what would they be?
This is a really tough question that I would probably answer differently depending on the day, but I think these three would likely always remain in the top 10.
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Kyuss – Welcome to Sky Valley
You have the floor. In closing, tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself.
Okay, here goes … Cats over dogs. Tequila over whiskey. Sunrises over sunsets. Vanilla over chocolate. Cold over hot and ALWAYS extra spicy (all the peppers, please).