A Man for the People
Allan Bolante Enjoys Giving Back to His Community
Born in San Diego, California, Allan Bolante moved all around the country while growing up because his father was in the Navy. When he was six years old, his family transferred to the east coast, spending time in Virginia and Connecticut. He spent the majority of his teenage years, however, in the Sunshine State.
Though Bolante received a presidential nomination to attend the United States Naval Academy, he wasn’t interested in the military lifestyle, having lived it his entire life. Much to his dad’s chagrin, he chose a different path. Bolante attended both Jacksonville University and the University of Florida, playing baseball at both schools. Though he adored the sport, his stature kept him from excelling in it.
“When you’re at that level of baseball, if you’re not 6 feet tall and weighing 190 pounds, it’s tough to see a lot of playing time,” Bolante says. “I was 5 feet 7 inches at the time, and as I’m getting older I think I’m shrinking.”
In college, he majored in accounting and minored in primary education, with thoughts of perhaps becoming a physical education teacher due to his love of sports. After graduating, however, Bolante returned to Orange Park, Florida, where a friend of the family asked if he’d be interested in helping to open a hotel in the Jacksonville International Airport area.
“I thought, ‘Why not? I’ll help out until I figure out what I want to do with my life,’” Bolante says.
The industry was a good fit and Bolante stayed with it. He married and had two daughters. Within a few years, he was managing a 275-room hotel in Kissimmee, located just outside the main gate of Walt Disney World.
When he divorced and his ex-wife moved with the kids to Indiana, it didn’t take long for Bolante to follow suit because he wanted to be closer to his children. Though he was back and forth between Indianapolis and Key Largo, Florida, where he was helping a former colleague re-establish a business, he desperately missed his daughters and decided to put down roots in the Hoosier State. In 1997, Bolante opened a Comfort Inn in Lebanon, and in 2000 he opened the Brownsburg Comfort Suites. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the hotel’s opening.
“When you play the game Monopoly, you always want to be a hotel owner,” Bolante says. “To network my business as a hotelier, I wanted to get involved with the community and help out as much as possible.”
Bolante served on the Brownsburg Economic Development Commission, the Board of Directors of the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Brownsburg Rotary Club.
“Probably one of my most satisfying moments while serving as a Rotarian was being involved with Habitat for Humanity,” says Bolante, who is also proud of the work the Rotary Club did towards paving the B&O Trail and adding a lighted crossing on State Road 267.
In addition, Bolante organized a fundraiser for the police department to raise funds to purchase bicycles so the Brownsburg Police Department could create a bicycle unit. Several years later, Bolante was appointed to the Brownsburg Police Commission (BPC).
“There are four of us who are appointed, and one elected official who serves as a liaison from the Town Council,” Bolante says.
In his BPC role, Bolante’s duties include hiring and terminating sworn officers, as well as creating and providing policies for the police department to follow. The BPC also appoints the chief of police.
Even as he dove into all of his volunteer work, Bolante stayed focused on his work in the hotel industry.
“As a hotel operator, you learn a lot about your guests and why they are in town, what they are planning on doing – stuff like that,” Bolante says. “I kept hearing, over and over, of people interested in relocating to Brownsburg due to location, public safety and excellent education.”
Bolante also heard from businesses leaders interested in relocating to Brownsburg due, in large part, to the accessibility to interstate roads. This included many National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag-racing teams. According to Bolante, Bill Simpson, a pioneer in the racing safety business, convinced Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, an American drag racer, to move his race shop to Brownsburg. Bolante met Prudhomme when he stayed at the Comfort Suites.
“Through Simpson, I met John Force and Don Schumacher,” says Bolante. “That’s how the Lauth industrial park exploded, with all the race teams and distribution centers.”
Bolante says many of his regular hotel customers are clients in the racing industry, including former NASCAR star Kasey Kahne.
“Every once in a while, I’ll have NASCAR people stay here because Tony Stewart’s race shop is down the street,” says Bolante, who recalls coming to Brownsburg in the late 1990s when it was still a small, quaint town, and he and his wife Angie would dine at Harley’s restaurant. “Through the years, I’ve watched Brownsburg grow from a population of 15,000 people to more than 30,000 – and if you count the townships, well over 50,000.”
Bolante and his wife have three daughters, one son and four grandchildren. In his spare time, Bolante likes to play golf, mow his lawn and attend races of all kinds, including NHRA, IndyCar and NASCAR.
“I also like keeping my wife happy,” he says, adding that the couple enjoys taking trips to Lebanon and Kokomo to visit their grandkids. “A few years ago, we flew out to Las Vegas and she had a blast going to all the different casinos.”
A huge fitness buff, Bolante makes sure to get in some form of exercise every day.
“At 60 years old, I am starting to feel the aches and pains when I get up in the morning in a way that I didn’t in my 20s and 30s, but that’s okay,” he says. “I like staying active. I don’t ever want to be a couch potato. Life is too short.”
Bolante’s goal is to one day pass his hotel business along to his daughter, who is an apartment manager, so that he and Angie may spend summers in Indiana and winters in Florida where his parents reside.
“I love Indiana, but I’ve lived here for 23 years and still have not acclimated to winter,” he says with a chuckle.