Sunday, December 18, 2011

Remembering Kent Swart

Kent Swart was a great addition to the Thermadyne culture. He had dedication and a work ethic that he downplayed routinely. He had a sense of humor and was instantly likable to those who met him. He liked to call me "an enabler of excellence" because I found myself attracted to any project Kent was involved with simply because I knew there was a higher probability of success when he was on the case. Kent was instrumental in the updating of the Victor Catalogue. (He and Michelle stopped counting at 3,000 edits made to the critical source of our flagship brand product offerings.) Kent was published in several publications about Thermal Dynamics plasma cutting systems and was a key guy when it came to adding real substance to marketing materials (new and existing)..

Over stake burgers at Stake N Shake, on more than one occasion, Kent shared some of his concerns about his career path. The truth is Kent was a quality player who fit in many scenarios. He could be a product manager, marketing manager, team leader and without a doubt A ROLE MODEL. His passing should remind us all how lucky we are to have each other. The planet THMD is a sadder and diminished place due to his absence.

Swart, Shephard, Cox and Morgan managed to play a round of golf as a foursome before he had hip surgery. Kent was also a participant in the AMA golf outings (in July of 2009 and 2010). Golfers know you learn a lot about a guy by the way they approach the game. Cheerfully accepting adversity while trying to excel every step of the way, He was an inspiration. Kent was active in Junior football and participated in a Monday night golf league. In each case, he accepted leadership roles.

Kent's computer screen-saver in his office was a reminder of the love and affection he had for those darling daughters of his. He also often spoke of his wife and how lucky he was. He was proud of the relationship he had developed later in life with his own father. (That alone speaks volumes of his character.) When you lose someone like Kent, your heart immediately goes out to his family. But in a larger sense, you feel a giant void that will not be filled. If you are a spiritual person, you know Kent is in a better place and you know he would want all of us to go on with a smile.

As we stumble over our own human frailty in such times, we cannot adequately identify what Kent meant to us. Suffice it to say, we loved him and he will be missed.

Kent Swart died of a heart attack on September 21, 2010.

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