Brandy Straub: Dirty Work
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
WINDSOR — Born into a family of pest control professionals, Brandy Straub cut his teeth doing the dirty jobs no one else wanted to do before expanding his career horizons. “My grandfather started Redwood Empire Termite & Pest Control in 1946,” he recounts. “My father got involved in the business when he was 15 years old, and I started even younger, working after school, on weekends and during summer vacations. Of course, they had me do all the dirty work they didn’t want to do, like going underneath houses and cleaning up rodent remains. Eventually, I got tired of doing that, so I decided to become a termite inspector. In 1981, I got my termite inspection license, and a decade later, I took over the business. These days, I don’t crawl underneath houses as often, but every now and then I still like to get in there and get my hands dirty.”
Today, as third-generation owner of Redwood Empire Termite & Pest Control, Brandy says his favorite part of his job is improving people’s lives. “Homeowners often don’t realize the extent to which pest problems can affect their daily lives. For example, if rodents get into heating ducts, it can actually make the home’s inhabitants sick by blowing germs around each time the heater gets turned on. It’s very satisfying to uncover these types of problems and make a positive impact on my customers’ lives by resolving them.”
A resident of Northern Sonoma County (where he lives with his wife, Cynthia, and five of their six children), Brandy spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “We do a lot of entertaining at our home,” he says. “We have a big backyard with a pool and a Tiki bar, so we enjoy having friends and family over. I also like working out and mountain biking. Of course, having five teenagers, I do a lot of running around to sports practices and games.”
In his life and career, Brandy espouses the benefits of paying it forward. “I don’t go to a job with the intention of making money; I go with the intention of helping people,” he explains. “For example, I recently went to the home of an elderly couple who had termites swarming in their backyard. They were on a fixed income and didn’t really have money for treatment, so I gave them an alternative method they could use to knock down the termite tubes and basically treat it themselves. That’s just how I do my business—I try to help my customers save money instead of trying to sell them something they don’t need. As it turns out, this approach is good for business. After all, when you’re honest, you’re more likely to get repeat customers and referrals.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Alternative music from the ’80s, the ’90s and today. Two of my favorite bands are Muse and Linkin Park.
Q: What’s your favorite family tradition?
A: Holidays. We do all the holidays pretty big. For Easter, we do these really elaborate egg hunts with clues and everything. At Christmas, we go all out and over-decorate, kind of like Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: Not really, but I enjoy self- and business-improvement books. Some of my favorites include “Getting Business to Come to You,” “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” and anything by Tony Robbins.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: I love listening to the rain, turning on the fireplace and watching a good movie or playing some board games with my family.