Brent grew up in Madison and went on to graduate from UW-Madison (1975) with an eye towards being a journalist. He decided to seek a law degree and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1978. After law school, Brent moved to La Crosse and has been with the law firm of Johns, Flaherty & Collins ever since. He has been the managing partner since 2000.
Brent has been honored to spend many of his volunteer hours in the last 20 years promoting Higher Education in Wisconsin. He served on both the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents and the Wisconsin Technical College Board (serving as President of both). Brent received an honorary degree from UW-La Crosse in 2013 and has been a member of the UW-L Foundation Board (past President).
He has also been on the Board of Directors of a variety of community organizations including the La Crosse Center (Current President), La Crosse Community Foundation, Great Rivers United Way, Family and Children’s Center, Seven Rivers Alliance, and JDRF Western Wisconsin Chapter.