In 1988, Junior Achievement of Southern California, headquartered in Los Angeles (JA’s second largest operation), chose Allen as President & CEO. During his tenure in Los Angeles, a $5.7 million headquarters and volunteer training center was built, and the Los Angeles program realized a 65 percent student growth.
Allen received numerous awards from JA throughout his career, including its highest award, the Charles R. Hook award for outstanding performance as a Chief Staff Officer. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame (the tenth and youngest member) in 1998.
Kirtley retired from JA in 1994 but some of his most rewarding experiences came in the next 10 years as a consultant. He stayed active with JA as Vice President of Development for Junior Achievement International – a position in which he raised funds for JA operations in more than 100 countries worldwide. He was then selected for the position of National Service Consultant on the West Coast for JA USA and culminated his career by serving as the chief consultant in the merger of JA USA and JA International in 2004, forming JA Worldwide which resulted in a membership of more than 8.4 million students annually. When Allen joined Junior Achievement, there were less than 100,000 students annually in all of JA’s programs around the world.
Allen was also active with the Los Angeles Rotary Club for over 25 years where he served as Education Committee Chair and then District Finance Committee Chair for the Polio Reconstructive Surgery Committee. As District Finance Chair, he was instrumental in securing funding for medical missions trips to India and Africa, for polio reconstructive surgery and the medical reconstruction of disfigured infants. He also completed a Peace Corps mission in the Fiji Islands and USAID mission to Moscow, Russia.
Before moving back to Owensboro in 2005, Allen represented KWC at two presidential inaugurations – at Pittsburgh’s Point Park College in the ‘60s and at Pepperdine University in Malibu in the ‘90s. Allen serves on many boards including: KWC Alumni Association, KWC All-American Club, Joe Ford Library, Help Office and the JA Worldwide Pioneers. He also served on the Junior Achievement of Western Kentucky 50th Anniversary Committee.
In recognition of his loyalty and dedication, Kirtley received the KWC Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and was inducted into the Owensboro High School Hall of Achievement in 2009. Kirtley has three children, seven grandchildren and a miniature retriever “Buddy”. He and his wife, Penny, are members of Woodlawn United Methodist Church.