Creator of companies
Meet The Makers: Richard Allen
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 3:28 p.m.
Richard Allen didn't set out to become a business entrepreneur, starting one successful company after another, selling them at a profit and using those earnings as seed money for each successive venture.
In a career that spans more more than 30 years in business, Allen has worked in electronics, mechanical engineering, biotech and medical device manufacturing. A Rotarian, he's deeply involved in philanthropy. He's a co-founder and CEO/president of the board of Sustainable Cambodia, which helps families of rural Cambodian villages improve their lives through the construction of wells, irrigation systems and education.
Allen came to Gainesville four decades ago to get a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, even though he had always had a passion for science and technology.
During his student days at UF, Allen became a technical director of sound and lighting for concerts, putting together public address systems, working with electronics. He found that he enjoyed managing large groups of people so much that he thought he'd be good at business.
So after graduation, he ventured out into the world of business. “I soon found out I didn't know the first thing about it,” Allen says. He returned to UF in 1978, where he got a second bachelor's degree in accounting, along with a CPA certificate.