Jennifer Huffman – Napa Valley Register

Ken Mattson said that the pest control business is in his blood.

“My grandfather Corky Mizer started Corky’s Pest Control in the Bay Area 51 years ago,” Mattson explained. It’s now one of the biggest pest control companies in Southern California.

At one point this Napan and his sister Maegan had moved to San Diego to work for their grandfather.

“Eventually, we came together to bring Corky’s Pest Control back to the Bay Area,” said Mattson.

The brother and sister team have owned the Napa-based pest control business for more than a year and have been in the industry for 12 years total.

1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?

Kurt Cobain, Alexander the Great and Thomas Jefferson.

2. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: If I wasn’t in this business, I’d like to try to be a professional fisherman.

Not try: A portable restroom cleaner.

3. What was your childhood ambition?

To be a professional football player. I grew up playing football for the Napa Saints. One year I received the Half Helmet Award. It’s a performance award given to two players by the coaches. It’s also known as the Ken Semrau award.

4. What was your first job?

My first job was at Ranch Market in Napa. I was 16 years old.

5. What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Misunderstanding of methods and products. The industry has significantly changed over the years, making methods and products safer for people and safer for us (the workers).

Also, weather is always a challenge; rain, wind and even hot temperatures.

6. What’s on your to-do list?

Growing and establishing the business. Our industry is never-ending; there’s unlimited amount of information to learn/study. Laws and regulations change often (and) we stay up to date so we can educate our clients.

7. Who do you most admire in the business world?

My grandfather, Corky Mizer. He’s designed many methods in our industry that people all over the world use today.

He still goes into the office every day and sometimes in the field even though he’s past the retirement age. You can still hear the excitement in his voice when he talks about pest control.

8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Raising my son (he’s 2) preparing him for the adult life. By then we’ll have a spot for him at Corky’s (ha, ha) but making sure he enjoys his younger years by getting him into activities and sports or whatever his interests may be.

9. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

I’d say changing the accessibility people have to over the counter (OTC) products. Most of the time we get the call for a pest problem after the person has already used OTC products and during the inspection we find the materials were not used correctly and (were used) dangerously.

For us we must follow certain law and regulations and carry state licenses. It’s always best to call a professional as you would with an electrician or plumber.

10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I was an electrician with the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and I also was a bartender at the Red Hen Cantina for many years.

People may also be surprised that I have video game and comic book character tattoos, but I cover them up for work.

Super Mario and Link (from “The Legend of Zelda”) are my favorites. I also have a “Game of Thrones” tattoo. It’s a wolf sigil (symbol). I have about 30 (tattoos) total.

To reach Mattson at Corky’s Pest Control call 707-501-8051.

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register, covering a wide variety of topics for the newspaper since 2005.

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