People of Etowah – Kent Back


Name: Kent Back

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born in Middletown, Ohio. I was raised in Gadsden since I was 2 years old.”

What is your occupation?

“I am the President of Bowman & Back, Inc., located in downtown Gadsden. We recover capital for our clients and improve efficiencies in Waste Stream Management, Employment Tax Credit processing and Telecommunication Network Services.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“I enjoy helping clients reduce their operational expense. Collectively, our company has recovered over $110,000,000 for our clients. It’s a very rewarding career.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“My wife Kim Kirkland Back currently teaches kindergarten at Eura Brown Elementary, where she has taught for over 30 years. Our son Allen, his wife Celeste and their 11-month-old daughter Meredith live in Harlem in New York City. They both serve with Young Life, a non-denominational ministry that introduces Jesus Christ to teenagers and college students. They have lived in New York City for eight years. Our daughter Kirkland is married to Morgan Cunningham. Kirkland is beginning her second year at Cumberland School of Law at Samford University after serving two years with Teach for America and one year as a teacher at Gadsden Middle School. Morgan is a candidate for circuit judge in Etowah County. Kim and I have a dog named Sugar Pie. She weighs 10 pounds but thinks she’s a 70 pound German Shephard!”

Describe an average day in your life.

“Bowman & Back represents three national firms in Waste Management, Employment Tax Credit Processing and Telecommunications and Network Communications. Our clients have locations in almost all 50 states, so our days can begin early with our east coast clients and end late working with west coast clients. Typically, we are involved in the sales process, but often are involved with problem solving as well. We provide a lot of customer service to ensure our client has a positive experience.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I attended Eura Brown Elementary School, Disque Junior High School, Gadsden High School, Gadsden State Community College and Auburn University. War Eagle!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I enjoy being with my family, singing in my church choir, playing golf, working out at CrossFit Rabid and volunteering in our community.”      

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“My children, Allen and Kirkland.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. 

“That’s too difficult to limit to one person. I would list my mother, Henrietta Back, Tommy Ford, Rex Keeling, and Gene Barnes. Why? My mother had a profound influence on me in molding my character at a young age, showing me how to treat people and providing invaluable advice in my adulthood. My best friend Tommy Ford has played a critical role from a spiritual perspective, for which I’m eternally grateful. He also introduced me to my wife, which greatly changed my life for the better. Rex Keeling was my kicking coach and friend from the 8th grade. He showed me what hard work could accomplish and instilled in me a desire to reach for something higher than what I thought I could achieve. Gene Barnes looked at a scared 10th grader and told me I could sing. He gave me something I have enjoyed since then. He showed me how to work hard to learn something difficult and to have a lot of fun in the process. This gift has always been my favorite one, and I owe a lot of that to him.”

To what do you credit your success?

“Surrounding myself with good people who are smart, dedicated and good at what they do, and then consistently push myself to discover better ways to do what I do.  If you’re still doing something the same way for very long, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I am the chairman of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, the president of the Advisory Board of the Theatre of Gadsden, Young Life Gadsden and New York City, and I am involved in the backpack program for Striplin Elementary.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“Our people. I believe the people of Gadsden are our most valuable resource.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“I would like to see us adopt an attitude that we can achieve anything we can imagine instead of hearing, “We can’t do that.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Loyal, determined and dedicated.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I was a walk-on kicker at Auburn for three years, and I sang in a nightclub in Clearwater Beach, Florida, for a year in 1982.”

What is your favorite quote?

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” – Henry Ford.

What is on your bucket list?

“I’ve been very blessed and have lived a wonderful life.  I want to be with my family and fulfill the purpose for which the Lord created me.”

What is your hidden talent?

“I can sound like a trumpet without using a trumpet.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you? 

“Kevin Costner.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child? 

“Have confidence in yourself and believe you can do anything you set your mind to, if you’re willing to work at it.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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