Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Each year, the State Journal publishes its special "55 Good Things About West Virginia" issue. The latest version, which came out last week, named Kenova native Brad Smith, president and CEO of Intuit, one of the 55. Smith was the keynote speaker at the Charleston Area Alliance's Annual Celebration at the Clay Center last month. Below is the article.

Kenova's Smith Leads Major Tech Player Intuit


Mountain View, Calif., is three time zones away from Brad Smith’s hometown — Kenova, W.Va.
But Smith, 44, said he has made the journey from Wayne County to the leadership of Mountain View-based Intuit Corp. in part through his experiences as a child and young man.

“I learned a lot of things here in West Virginia, and the three lessons I took away were to have your values defined — integrity, humility and teamwork were the three I learned here,” Smith said in a recent interview with WOWK-TV in Huntington and Charleston. “And that’s enabled me to understand that life’s a team sport. So working with great people at Intuit, they’ve made it successful, and I’ve been able to ride that success to the position I have today.”

The Marshall University graduate — he has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from MU and a master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan — returned to West Virginia in May to address the annual celebration of the Charleston Area Alliance.

“I cannot recall the last time I left an event so completely impressed and inspired,” said Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp after the Charleston Area Alliance celebration.

“Brad Smith’s West Virginia-cultivated values and integrity shine through every principle he shared with us during his presentation. He has the ability to entertain and inspire us with ideas that will help us, not only professionally, but also enrich us personally.”

Smith, whose father was mayor of Kenova, became Intuit’s president and chief executive officer in January 2008 after a five-year rise through the company that saw him lead each of its major businesses.

With sales in 2007 of $2.6 billion and about 8,200 employees, Intuit offers products that include Quicken, QuickBooks, TurboTax and industry-specific accounting and management applications software. It focuses on small and mid-sized businesses and financial institutions and professionals. As Smith describes Intuit, the company “delivers services that help people help people.”

When Smith succeeded CEO and President Steve Bennett, the company leadership noted the West Virginian’s readiness for the position.

“Having led each of our biggest businesses, Brad has a proven track record inside and outside of Intuit,” Bennett said. “He has been instrumental in shaping the strategy. He has a strong and experienced management team in place. And he’s ready to lead Intuit into the future. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Before joining Intuit in February 2003, Smith had been senior vice president of marketing and business development at ADP. Before that, he held positions with Pepsi, 7Up and Advo Inc.
Reflecting on his youth, Smith said in the TV interview: “The neat thing about growing up in Wayne County or any county in West Virginia, is most of our parents teach us we’re capable of achieving anything if we dream it. And what’s really neat about the company at Intuit is the values are very much the same values I was raised on here. I mean they believe in helping individuals achieve their dreams.”

Smith believes he always had aspirations — and his childhood suggested as much.

“My mom and dad would tell you that they would follow me at the elementary school on the playground, and I was leading no one,” Smith recalled. “But I was out there playing as if I had a big army with me.”

Smith looks ahead at his business and the world it will serve. He sees profound changes in the way people live, work, play and interact with one another.

“We just completed a lot of work, and this next generation they call the digital generation…,” Smith said. “They are used to multi-tasking. They have an iPod in their ears. They have two or three chat sessions going on.

“They expect a very different world than the world that you and I grew up in, and they are going to require technology to be in the fabric of everything.”


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