Get To Know Ken Smith

What’s The Buzz?

ken smithKEN SMITH
Senior VP of Operations
Palmetto Exterminators
Charleston, SC

How did you get started in the industry?
A friend from college went to work in the industry and I was intrigued. Here I am, 32 years later.

Did you have any mentors along the way?
Yes. Tom Gradel (now with Terminix) taught me a lot of what I know about the business side of our industry.

What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had?
How to assess the personalities of your people and manage each of them differently so they all can be their best.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You are nothing without your team.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

One of my former managers told me I needed to “verbally rip my people’s heads off” if I wanted them to do their jobs.

What life skill do you wish you had cultivated or were better at?

ken smith with kidsWhat are you most excited about these days?
My grandchildren.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
I am originally from the desert southwest in California and grew up 10 miles from the border of Mexico. There was no border wall back then.

What is your most treasured possession?
My beautiful wife of 36 years.

Describe yourself in three words?
Humble, ambitious, determined.

What keeps you awake at night?
Absolutely nothing.

What would your superpower be?
Knowing everything John Maxwell knows about leadership.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
50/50 split between Matthew McConaughey or Brad Pitt.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Publix Cookies and Cream FROYO.

What’s the most useless talent you have?
Punting a football. I received a 4-year scholarship because I could punt a football pretty far.

Describe your perfect day.
Either on a golf course or riding on the tractor with my grandsons.

What is the weirdest way you’ve been injured?
Sleeping on a pull-out couch in a hotel. Woke up the next day and could not stand up. Required back surgery to fix it.

What’s your pet peeve?
People who make everything about them.

What’s heavily played on your music playlist right now?
Kenny Chesney and Billy Currington.

What book did you most recently finish?
The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy.

How do you start your day?
Kissing my wife goodbye as I make my cup of coffee.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas—it gives me a good reason to watch “Christmas Vacation” about five times.

Where was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Maui, Hawaii—I highly recommend it.