In 1984 Kenneth Shepherd received a scholarship to play football at Texas State in San Marcos, Texas. Majoring in Kinesiology, after suffering a career ending injury in 1986 returned to Houston to receive medical treatment.
Returning to College at Sam Houston State, Kenneth Shepherd finished his degree in Industrial Distribution. His first job was a Sales Training position at Prime Equipment. After just 10 months in his position, K&M tools in Pasadena, Texas, offered Kenneth a full time position as Outside Turnaround Sales. This was the beginning of his exposure to the fast pace high demand Turnaround business.
In 1992, Kenneth Shepherd received a promotion to Sales Manager of Coastal Bend/South Texas and relocated to Corpus Christi Texas. In 1993, Kenneth accepted a position with Lone Star Rentals as the Vice President of the Southern Region. In 1994, Kenneth married and returned to Houston. Prime Equipment (now United Rentals) offered Kenneth Shepherd a position working for the Houston Ship Channel as an Outside Sales Representative. By 1999, Kenneth had worked his way into a position as a Key Account Manager and had led the US in Rentals and the sales of new and used equipment with international ties.
In 2004, Kenneth was plagued with recurrent medical issues surrounding the injury he suffered while playing college football.
Ray Price was able to offer Kenneth a part time position with Hi-Tech Industrial in 2006 as a commission based Sales Representative. Hi-Tech was a 17 million dollar company offering only Refractory Maintenance work. Hi-Tech quickly grew into a multi-service soft craft business to serve the needs of the long time relationships Kenneth had secured in the rental business. Over the next few years, Hi-Tech overcame multiple growth challenges and financial struggles to achieve a goal of 50 million in revenue. At this time Kenneth Shepherd had worked his way into a Director of Sales and Marketing for the US and a position as leader of the Refractory/Soft Craft Industry.
In 2011, Chris Lanclos and other investors asked Kenneth to help them with a start up company named RCS/Refractory Construction Services. Kenneth accepted the position as VP of Sales and Marketing. After 2 years it appeared there were multiple internal issues that would not allow the growth Kenneth was accustomed too.He was in need of a company that had less personalities and stronger work ethics.
After meeting with Rich Reuter and Keith Menard at Industrial Specialist/Brand Safeway, they offered Kenneth a challenge to help their downward trending business. He accepted a position as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2013. Kenneth quickly did multiple internal interviews with current personal and developed a strategy to drive their market shares. By 2017 ISI had reached the tipping point. Key personnel had begun to leave the company due operation leadership and high work demands during the growth period of 48 million to a 10 year high of 107 million. There were many struggles to overcome just to sustain the exceptional growth.
In 2018 Paul & Jon Leach offered Kenneth a position as Vice President of the US with a focus on Downstream. The goal was to grow and sell. In 2019 Tail Winds purchased Loenbro for the desired price, and Kenneth has agreed to continue to go the downstream business until he receives the next challenge.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The idea for Fishbone Services Inc. started in 1989 with me building custom fishing rods. The word Bone came from slang for the fishing rod/bone in color off white. Fish was what we used the rods for. Put them together for Fishbone Services Inc.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start everyday at 6am with a cup of coffee and a quick review of my calendar to get started on the right path to check off the goals for the day. As I go through the day I add events and to do’s for the following days’ calendar to help maximize the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The first thing is to recognize the process and understand the advantages. Then you figure out where the need is and how to market the process. At that time you’re ready to start providing data and literature to support the process. The final breath of life is to present the idea/process to the in user with clear advantages.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trends of new technology that saves time and money with innovative ideas.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of my most productive habits is the ability to overcome obstacles with new ideas.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have the patience to let things develop.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am not sure if there is anything that no one disagrees with me on. As a Sales and Marketing guy, I believe that many of my opinions are bought off on.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t ever give up.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy to develop my business is to offer a high quality service at a fair market value. With a follow up with the customer to meet all expirations.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have struggled with finding operation personnel in today’s market that produce a quality product and work with a positive attitude. When first entering this market I struggled with the lazy attitude of the operation personnel never in a hurry. It took years to develop the ability to quickly move past the sluggish lazy operation personnel and develop and properly recognize self motivated personnel that produce quality work.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t know exactly what, but I know there is more opportunity in the fishing industry for innovative companies.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Last fall while taking my son’s retriever to the vet she asked if I wanted to have the rattlesnake antivenom shot. It was 100 dollars. I quickly agreed, in February while tracking a wounded Whitetail the retriever came in contact with a large rattlesnake. The snake struck at the dog several times. I was thinking at the time he has an antivenom vaccine he’ll be ok. Quickly dispatching the serpent and a full inspection of the dog the snake never made contact. Good 100$.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I have developed a software that tracks the T/A cycles of major Refining and the key personnel.
I use this to concentrate on the work that cycles every 5 years.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend everyone read the Bible. I have read it multiple times.
The answers to all mankind’s questions are within it. I learn something new every time I pick it up. The interpretation is ever changing based on your life experiences.
What is your favorite quote?
Hold fast /stay the course.
- Recognize the process and understand the advantages.
- Overcome obstacles with new ideas.
- Have the patience to let things develop.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.