Executive Team

Classes, workshops, training & consulting programs that work. Period.

Executive Team

Ken Brookings

Ken Brookings

Founder and Chairman, The Aspire Institute

Ken Brookings was born with a wrench in one hand and paint brush in the other. His father was at once a painting contractor and an auto shop owner. Ken became a Vice President with a Fortune 500 company by age 27. After that company was acquired Ken founded and sold two other successful businesses before beginning his consulting career. Focusing on high level strategic and operational business consulting Ken worked with the senior management teams at clients including Apple Computer, Texas Instruments, Goodyear, British Petroleum, Firestone, SPX and other major corporations.

Ken then changed up everything, “The high-level corporate consulting business was interesting and financially rewarding but something important was missing. The work, no matter how important didn’t really change anybody’s life. It just didn’t seem to matter. My head and maybe my ego led me to this kind of glamorous work – but it was my heart that brought me back to the kind of work that matters.”

Ken repurposed the successful business that he had built to focus entirely on helping small businesses. According to Ken, “The heroes of the business world are the small business owners and managers. They do the real work and produce the most jobs in this country. Sadly, they seldom get the rewards that their honest work deserves. My focus became, and remains, to change that.”

Ken has been a featured speaker at countless industry events to tens of thousands of business owners. He has written for and been featured on the cover of trade publications and holds four industry related patents.

For over 20 years now Ken’s company, The Aspire Institute, has focused on the two business segments in which Ken grew up; the Automotive Service Industry and Construction Contractors. Thousands of business owners and their families are more prosperous today through Aspire’s work. Ken is proud to still have a paint brush in one hand and a wrench in the other.

Fred Farris

CEO, The Aspire Institute

Fred grew up in the independent service industry. He acquired a small, struggling service company and promptly partnered with Aspire to help turn it around. Fred turned this small, struggling business into one of the most successful businesses in the country in record time. He sold that business and joined Aspire as an instructor and eventually took the role of Senior VP of The Aspire Institute. Fred has taught hundreds of service businesses on a one-to-one basis and has presented to thousands of business owners in groups large and small all over the United States.

Fred’s passion is to see the lives of small business owners get easier and to help them build real wealth.

Linda Casey

President, The Aspire Institute

Linda has been with Aspire for over 20 years. Linda brings a unique capacity for analysis and financial management. Linda has provided financial management for many small companies, helping them grow and optimize their cash flow.

Over her years with Aspire she developed into a very effective senior manager, eventually becoming Aspire’s president. Linda’s management style is a rare blend of no-nonsense business efficiency with a fun and healthy work environment.

Brent Baker

Director of Coaching and Curriculum, The Aspire Institute

After a great 40-year run as a premier builder of high-end custom homes, large-scale remodeler and commercial contractor, Brent sold Baker Construction to his long-time partner to become the head of The Aspire Institute’s coaching team.  Brent has a real passion for helping other contractors find their dreams by reshaping their businesses.                                     

After graduating with a degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University, Brent married his wife Laura and began his career as a woodworker.  Eventually Brent and Laura were able to buy a ranch in Idaho where they raised their four children and today that ranch is alive with visits from their four grandchildren. They bought a home in the South of France where they spend a couple of months every year.  Community service has been another passion for Brent. Just a fraction of Brent’s contribution to his community include; a gubernatorial appointment to a water quality board, founder of an Educational Research and Development Organization, Chairman of his county’s school district board of trustees and Commissioner of his local fire district.  Brent also co-founded a high school residential carpentry program and designed and implemented an experimental youth job skills training program.


As a senior manager at Aspire, Brent designs educational programs as well as develops and manages a team of talented construction industry business coaches.