The stakes can be high when it comes to protecting homes from destructive termites. The hassle, frustration and cost to repair damage caused by these wood-devouring pests can be quite significant.
For Larry Bragg, corporate WDO (wood destroying organisms) director for Clark Pest Control, the pressure to deliver for customers and protect the biggest financial investment they’ll likely ever make – their home – is always there.
For Bragg, however, the pressure to keep subterranean or drywood termites from invading a home, is nothing compared to the job-related pressure he faced earlier in his professional career.
How does fast roping out of helicopter to rescue a downed pilot in potentially hostile territory sound for a pressure packed situation?
The Detroit, Michigan born and raised Bragg served from 1999 to 2003 as a member of a U.S. Marine Corps TRAP (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel) team whose job is to rescue downed fliers.
“It’s a very precise process when you have to carry out a mission since you have a limited amount of time on the ground,” says Bragg. “The makeup and mission of the team are both very strategic.”
Bragg served as a fire team and squad leader during his time in the Marines. After basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to Camp Pendleton and made stops in Okinawa, Australia and Guam.
Bragg never had to put his extensive hours of training to use in conflict and the closest he came was when his unit staged to rescue the crew of US Navy reconnaissance plane that collided with a Chinese military aircraft and was forced to make an emergency landing in Chinese territory.
After leaving the Marines Bragg stayed in California and worked various jobs including a stint as a bodyguard for actor Will Smith and his son during the filming of the movie The Pursuit of Happiness. During this time, he met his future wife, Angela, and decided to put roots down and pursue a career in law enforcement.
During his time studying to be an Oakland police officer, his now pregnant wife Angela went into labor eight weeks early and because phones were not allowed during training, Bragg came home to find a note on his front door to get to the hospital.
Their son, Larry III, spent two months in the hospital and because of the time commitment caring for his son and wife, Bragg missed the application deadline for the police academy and would have to start all over again. He decided to find another line of work.
He joined a small pest control company working as a termite inspector and service technician in 2005 and a year later, without him knowing, his wife completed an application for a similar position at Clark Pest Control.
Bragg joined Clark in 2006 as a termite inspector in the Milpitas branch and applied the traits of discipline, teamwork, accountability and ingenuity, learned from his days in the Marine Corps, to become the company’s top termite salesperson and inspector.
“The name Clark got you in the door but the customer buys from you,” says Bragg. “You are always trying to perfect your craft and get better. I learned to never settle for average in the Marines and that has stuck with me.”
His career ascent continued when Bragg was promoted to WDO manager in the Stockton branch in 2011, branch manager in Salinas in 2015, and to his current position in 2018.
Bragg credits the lessons learned in the service for helping him advance his career.
“In the Marines you learn that nothing is more important than the unit and that everything you do is for the person next to you,” says Bragg. “I work hard to transfer my knowledge and passion for the job to my coworkers. We all share a common goal and that is to serve the customer well.”
When he is not protecting homes from termites, Bragg spends his time pursuing his other passion – coaching youth sports.
A former offensive lineman on the 1995 Detroit City championship team at Cass Tech High School, Bragg coaches his son’s youth league team. He says the best part of coaching is seeing kids grow and develop confidence.
“When you see a kid achieve a goal they couldn’t do when they first started or think they can’t do is very rewarding,” adds Bragg.
As he has done in his career and in coaching, Bragg leads by example with his family which also includes daughter, Victory, and stepsons, Matthew and Charlie.
“I am married to a phenomenal woman and have faith in what I do both professionally and personally,” says Bragg. “Be humble, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and never ask someone to do something you won’t. Lead from the front.”
With Bragg running point termites don’t stand a chance.
If you have concerns about termites threatening your home, call California’s trusted, friendly termite control expert, Clark, at 800/WE-NEED-YOU or send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for help keeping unwanted pests out of your home.