As a high schooler, Kent Kramer worked part time in a grocery store in his Muncie hometown. That’s when he discovered the profession he would like to pursue.
“I loved working at the grocery and knew that I wanted to get into the retail business,” he said. “Although retail is just a part of what I do today, I still enjoy it a great deal.”
In his senior high school year, Kramer was offered an Indiana State academic scholarship and visited the campus. “I fell in love with it,” he said. Once a Sycamore, Kramer became involved in campus activities, which added immensely to his college experience and future career.
“I greatly appreciate the leadership opportunities that ISU provided,” Kramer said. “I held officer roles with my Sigma Nu fraternity, was an SGA senator, participated in Leadership Task Force, worked on Tandem and Greek Week steering committees. I also enjoyed the classes and internship opportunities provided by the school of business.”
After graduating from Indiana State in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Kramer got a job through the university’s Career Center with Sam’s Club.
“I spent 11 great years with Sam’s Club, moving eight times,” he said. “I worked my way up to a regional director of operations with multiple unit responsibilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I also ran stores in Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette and Landover, Md.”
After Sam’s Club, Kramer accepted a position with Kmart and then with Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana where he has been almost 14 years. Working his way up, Kramer is now president and chief executive officer for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. The organization operates 60 stores, 12 high schools and provides a variety of mission-related services in 28 central Indiana counties.
“Goodwill’s mission of helping people progress towards self sufficiency makes it even better,” Kramer said.
Kramer and his wife, Jamei, live in Pendleton. They have four children — Megann, a senior at Purdue; Jak, a freshman at Indiana State; and Gabby and Susie, students at Pendleton Heights High School. Jak is following in his father’s footsteps by being active in university organizations, including Delta Sigma Phi, President’s Scholar and Networks Scholar.
“With a freshman son now at ISU, I know that the atmosphere I enjoyed is still very much alive and well,” Kramer said. “I’m hoping for a couple more Sycamores in Gabby and Susie.”
Whenever he can, Kramer says he encourages young people to consider Indiana State as a very useful stepping stone to a successful career.
“ISU offers a great education, plus a wonderful opportunity to build your interpersonal and leadership skills,” he said. “I love the philanthropic focus ISU has built over the years …. And I made lifelong friends at ISU.”