Brenton Cloud spent many days in the back of a pickup truck when he was a kid, going from job to job with his father, who ran Manatee Termite & Pest Control.
The young Cloud would watch his dad, Gene Cloud III, tent and treat homes for termites. Two other generations of Clouds did the same work, going back to when Brenton Cloud’s great-grandfather started the business in 1934 in Manatee County. While it was fun for a young boy, Cloud had no desire to go into pest control for a living. “I never thought in a million years I would follow in my father’s footsteps,” he says.
Cloud, instead, worked in New York City for five years, which included a stint on Wall Street, where he was a stockbroker. It was an exciting time and Cloud built a good book of business.
But the call to come home came last year. Cloud sought a change of pace, and it turns out he liked the idea of building a business with his father. Now the younger Cloud is in charge of growing customer accounts, a job he says isn’t that different from his past life in New York.
“Selling stocks and selling pest control is really the same thing, as far as technique,” says Cloud. “It’s all about following up and good customer service.”
Past sales work, real estate agents and brokers are a big referral source for Cloud, so he spends a good deal of his networking time with the Manatee Association of Realtors. He sometimes brings Realtors bags of fresh fish he catches on weekend spearfishing jaunts, a unique approach to building contacts.
And the association appreciates Cloud for more than the fish. It also values his youthfulness. Says Cloud: “I’ve gotten so involved that they asked me to head up a group that caters to young Realtors.”
— Mark Gordon
City of residence: Longboat Key
Twitter handle: @ManateePest
Years on the Gulf Coast: I am proudly a 6th generation Floridian! I left Florida to attend boarding school at Landmark Education in Boston and attend Marymount Manhattan College in New York. I worked as a Stockbroker for five years and returned to Florida in 2012 to work with my Dad.
Marital status/children: Engaged to a lovely Aussie girl. I am getting married in Bali next May.
Alma mater: B.B.A., Marymount Manhattan College
Best place to network: Locally: I always sit at the bar at a restaurant when I can. It is the best place to meet people. Online: LinkedIn.
Coolest business experience: I would have to say that growing my family’s business that has been around for 80+ years is my coolest business endeavor.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Strategy is important, but execution is everything.
One website that makes your job easier: Google!
One community group you’re most involved with: Manatee Association of Realtors
Favorite off-hours activity: Spearfishing
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: John D. Rockefeller and Kelly Slater
Best award you ever received: This award is pretty cool!
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Unfortunately I have scars from my biggest adventures — surfing bigger waves than I should have in Costa Rica, broken bones from snowboarding in Italy and falling off a motorcycle in Sicily.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Spearfishing for giant tuna
What new skill would you like to learn: Mergers and acquisitions
Who would play you in a movie about your life: My friends tell me I look like Colin Farrell. I’ll take that!
If I had a magic wand I’d: Make Manatee Termite and Pest Control the largest pest control company in the Florida. I don’t need a magic wand for that, just 10 years!