By Audrey Hill, Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
For those of us who know the Laverty family, we know them to be a hardworking, honest family of friendly faces with deep roots in Kern County. They work around the clock to keep up with the family’s ever-growing business and provide some of the best services in the States for specialized safety training, anywhere from the medical to oil industries. But this large family business did not happen by accident.
Ben III was born in Taft and grew up in Shafter. As any true Kern County kid would, he learned the importance of hard work and helping others early on. After graduating from Shafter High School, he attended Bakersfield College for a year and a half, and then BYU to finish his bachelor’s in Horticulture and Agronomy. He also was a star athlete in football and track and helped BYU to win their first ever football WAC Championship. After graduating from BYU, he returned to Kern County to work as a Tree Crop Superintendent at Belridge Farms, and later moved to Idaho to manage a potato farm and cattle operation with 14,000 acres. While in Idaho, he and the seven other people he worked with experienced extreme success. However, shortly after, they endured extreme failure, eventually having to declare bankruptcy for $68 million after a red meat boycott in the late 70s turned their profits sour. But the importance of failure was not overlooked by Ben III, and he was quick to jump back on his feet. In 1981 he became an International Agriculture Consultant and worked with Senators in the Dominican Republic, the Tree Cooperative in Moreila, Mexico and the President of Costa Rica, to name a few. He later worked for the Green Revolution Society, “a peaceful Egyptian government group who wanted to turn the Sahara Desert green by utilizing all available water.” While there, he worked with others in Egypt to establish soil and water quality as well as potential crop yield. In 1981, he joined the Kern County Farm Bureau, to keep his ties to Kern County while away from home. The Farm Bureau acted as his “guiding light” in understanding the needs of California farmers and legislation, while also keeping him in contact with farmers in his home state. Three years after being a member, Ben III joined the KCFB board and has been there ever since!
After many years of wearing many different hats and experiencing all levels of success and failure, Ben Laverty III was asked by his friends Roy and Paul Perucci in 1985 to help train a few people in pesticide handling, as a favor. Without hesitation, Ben III was ready to help. He himself received the proper training on the specific regulations needed to train that first handful of individuals, and successfully trained them. Realizing how much he had learned in the process, he understood what his next chapter in life would hold. That same year, in December of 1985, Ben III changed the company name from California Agriculture Tillage Services to California Safety Training Corporation and began safety training for agriculture industries. Now, the company provides training in almost every state and every field, teaches 250 different classes, oversees 550 different sites, and still works with their very first customer, Roy Perucci, who was part of the spark that started the fire Most would gladly take credit for starting and building such an impactful company, however Ben III is more humble and honest than most. He states that “there’s never an ‘I’ in anything I do,” and always gives credit where credit is due.
His children are no exception to this. The five Laverty children, Ben IV, Bret, Tim, Terra, and Tallie, all worked for the company alongside their father at one point or another. Early in their lives Terra and Tallie Laverty were the office building janitors, and Ben IV, Bret and Tim Laverty worked to make and install billboards for the company’s farming clients. Ben IV got his degree in Ag Business from Cal Poly, SLO in 1995, taught elementary school for 6 years and has since come back to the family corporation to work as Chief Operations Officer. Both Ben IV and his father Ben III are thankful to be on the board for the Kern County Farm Bureau, which helps them maintain communication between their agriculture clients (roughly 50% of their clients) as well as staying up to date on California legislations. Bret and Tim Laverty worked for Microsoft, and both helped develop the corporation’s highly sophisticated IT system. Although Bret and Tim do not work for the company directly, they still receive calls from his father, Ben III, about IT issues. Terra graduated from Cal State University of Bakersfield with her degree in Liberal Studies with a Business concentration in 2000 and later taught elementary school for 10 years. She then obtained her master’s degree in Curriculum Development from California State University, Long Beach. Starting as the office janitor, she has now climbed the ladder to become the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Now, the eldest of the next generation of Laverty’s, Ben IV’s three daughters Lorea, Saioa, and Mikela, are starting their careers and college experiences. Meanwhile, they all work part time for the family corporation.
Between the efforts of the whole family and the rest of CSTC’s beloved staff, California Safety Training Corporation has been able to help thousands of individuals stay safe and gain the qualifications they need in their jobs. The corporation we know today started as a favor for a friend and now is training people around the clock nationwide.
As a young college student myself, with doubts and fears about my own future, the Laverty’s give me hope that, with a strong work ethic and the will to follow my own path, I can accomplish more than I could ever image. Sometimes years of work can collapse at our feet, and other times we can be dealt all the right cards, but as we journey through our lives, the one thing that we can provide ourselves with is the honest belief that we worked as hard as we could, stayed as prepared as we could, and helped those around us to the best of our abilities. With that, I believe we can look back on our lives when we are further down the road and be proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. The Laverty’s have many accomplishments and have a lot to be proud of, but their dedication to helping and educating others, and of course their dedication to their family, stands above all.