Kent Fisher

KentCTE Instructor kent.fisher@hccts.org
What Kent Fisher teaches is based on his education, but the majority of his lessons were passed on to him through his own life experiences.

“Sometimes you go to school for education, and sometimes you go into business for education,” said Kent. “And I’ll tell you what, most of my experience in business was an education.”

Kent began his career in the manufacturing world, first in materials, then in management, and finally in manufacturing systems implementation. After several years of traveling throughout the USA and Canada implementing ERP Systems, he decided it was time to get off the road. He worked a couple of years for PRIDE Industries in business analytics and while at PRIDE, he and a partner began a landscape company.

Everyone has a story of how they started their business and Kent is no different. His partner learned that a local park district’s maintenance contract was going to bid for 16 parks in Sacramento. They put together a bid (without a tool or a crew to their names) and won. Only then did they put together a landscaping business – all within the span of 30 days.

The company struggled but grew for the first few years, but in 2008, as the economy slowed, the business faltered and Kent had to focus all of his energy on closing it down.

As Kent puts it, “If going through a startup is an education, closing a business is enlightenment.”

When the closure began the economy was hurting, but by the time the closure was complete the Great Recession was in full swing and he was out of work.

“I found myself in the middle of the recession with no employment,” Kent remembers. “And for several years I was just cobbling together whatever I could do – small landscape jobs…I’d travel out of state to help family and friends…you name it – I was doing it.”

This bit of misfortune brought Kent into the world of teaching, which began at Folsom Lake College in a variety of business management classes taught online. Eventually this blossomed into over 20 courses at various colleges in the area however all were only part-time.

“I had only taught two of those courses in person – all of the rest were online,” Kent said. “And to be quite honest, I preferred the in person courses. For me, the reason I’m interested in being a teacher is to have interaction with students.”

Ultimately, this is what brought Kent to Highlands – a chance at teaching students face-to-face every single day.

“I’m passionate about sharing meaningful information that if somebody will apply it to their life, it will change their life,” Kent said. “When students are given the smallest seeds of knowledge, their minds are a fertile field and if they cultivate it, it will change their life.”
The one lesson Kent makes sure to hammer home in his classes is the that notion that failure is our greatest teacher, if we accept our failures with gratitude and humility.

In fact, Kent, who has experienced his own failures, feels as if these lessons in life have become a huge asset for him.

“The fact that I’ve been through what I’ve been through, and not that it is unique necessarily,” he said, “but what I have learned through all of that, I now have the ability to share with others. I can watch the students’ faces and I can see the gears turning. A significant change can be created in people by giving them a simple understanding of money and how it works.”

From these kind of failures, something that has rung true for Kent is that, “Small things done consistently over time become significant – whether they are right or wrong.” In other words, if that thing is negative it will become a significant part of your life and influence your life negatively, but if it is positive, it will be beneficial to you.

Some of his students might laugh reading this, because it is certain they have heard this concept time and time again in his classroom – no matter which class, whether it is his Leadership, Economics, or Entrepreneurship class.

Because, as Kent says, this is true for many things in life which include: compound interest, savings, investment, debt elimination, time management, education, fitness, nutrition, relationships, service, career, you name it; whatever you are doing will become a significant part of your life – so make sure it is positive.