Entrepreneurship Mentor Geoffrey Kent
Mr. Geoffrey Kent is the Chief Executive Officer of Cognis IT Advisors, LLC (a managed Information Technology Service Provider, providing all the resources of an in-house IT department to businesses looking to augment their existing IT support, or outsource all of their IT needs), bringing almost 30 years of senior operations management expertise to the venture. Cognis IT was ranked # 14 in the Philadelphia Business Journal's 2010 list of Philadelphia's Fastest-Growing Private Companies, and was an Emerging Growth Winner in Smart CEO Magazine's 2011 list of Philadelphia's 50 Fastest Growing Companies.
Mr. Kent obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma; spent a semester on exchange in the Masters of Business Administration Degree program at the Rotterdam School of Management (in the Netherlands); and obtained a Masters of Business Administration Degree in Entrepreneurial Management, Multinational Management, and Arts Management, from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Kent's technology industry experience includes tenures at Xerox (as a Senior Sales Representative from 1979 to 1981), and at AT&T (as an Account Manager from 1981 to 1990). During 1991, he served as a technical management consultant to early-stage ventures at the Wharton West Philadelphia Project (a Milken Foundation subsidiary); the U.S. Embassy and American Consulate General, and EMI Music (all in the Netherlands). From 1992 to 1994, he was a Management Consultant with the Erving Group (an entertainment management holding company owned by retired NBA Hall of Fame member and entrepreneur Julius "Dr. J" Erving), where he served as the CEO of a Chicago-based portfolio company (a digital imaging company). From 1994 to 1999, he was a Senior Manager with Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group, specializing in strategic planning, business process reengineering, and reorganization services (working with several technology-based multinational clients). From 1999 to 2006, he served in the capacity of Managing Principal of the Kent Consulting Group (a turnaround management consulting services firm). During this tenure, his Information Technology experiences included the following: being appointed as the Director of Consulting Services of Nelson (a Philadelphia based real estate facilities services firm), where he had responsibility for managing all of the firm.s Information Technology, Strategic Planning, Occupancy Tracking, and Interior Design activities; serving as the Chief Operating Officer of DraW Computing (an ASP start-up providing 3D graphics developer tools); and serving as the President of International Recovery Services (an asset management industry portfolio company of a private equity client). Prior to founding Cognis IT Advisors, he served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Planning for Opportunity Finance Network (a $4 billion national network of 167 community development financial institutions that find and finance opportunities outside the economic mainstream, where he oversaw all internal operations, including the Information Technology function).
Mr. Kent serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Fox Chase Cancer Center, the PA-NJ-DE Minority Supplier Development Council, and the African- American Chamber of Commerce of PA-NJ-DE (who honored Cognis IT Advisors as 2007's "Small Business of the Year", and 2011's "Emerging Innovator of the Year"). He also serves on the Entrepreneurship Board of Advisors at Lincoln University, and is a member of the Union League of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group, and the Main Line Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Kent is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lincoln University. In 2011, Mr. Kent was the recipient of a Minority Business Leader Award by the Philadelphia Business Journal and a semi-finalist in Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award competition.