Women in Business: Amanda Ragar

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Class of 2024 Women in Business Amanda Ragar Co-owner, Chief Financial Officer Natural State Pest Control; Lowell

Residence: Rogers

Education: B.S.B.A., finance and marketing, University of Arkansas

Professional background: Ragar co-founded her first company in 2005 with the launch of a Scotts LawnService franchise. In 2016, the franchise business was sold in a nationwide merger, and the very next day Natural State Pest Control was born. The company has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. companies for three consecutive years and has earned multiple awards in the pest control and lawn service sectors. Within the community, Ragar supports numerous organizations, including the Junior League of NWA, Second Helping NWA and the Benn Banks Memorial Scholarship.

Who was a big mentor to you in the early part of your career? My father was a great influence on my decision to become an entrepreneur. Growing up, he owned a hardware store, a liquor store and one summer we even had a fireworks stand. Those days really taught me a lot about perseverance and managing risks.

What do you think of the opportunities that exist for women in business compared with when you started? Women are bringing new, fresh perspectives and ideas to once male-dominated industries, like pest control. I honestly think the more we see women succeed in business the more confidence the next generation of women will have when looking at career opportunities.

How should women support other women in their organizations? It is critical for successful women leaders to pass the torch on to the next generation. Sharing knowledge, experience, and sometimes just being willing to listen can make all the difference for a recent college graduate or a young leader just getting started.

What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? In our company, we always strive to hire people who are smarter than us. It’s not possible to be an expert at everything. Exercise your strengths; hire for your weaknesses.

What is the most fulfilling part of your work? We love the opportunity to improve our clients’ lives through our service. We take our motto seriously: “We kill bugs. We help People. Period.” Not once have we ever turned anyone away who needed pest control but couldn’t afford it. If there is a pest issue that threatens someone’s health or property, we will fix it. Period.

What are some of the leadership skills that helped you move up in your organization? As the chief financial officer, having discipline has been one huge key to my success. Discipline in spending, hiring, marketing, really every area of business. Our team creates a game plan, and it’s my job to make sure we run the play as it’s called.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top? Having diverse leadership helps us cater to a diverse customer base. In pest control, our women leaders understand when a working mom of three calls us with an ant problem. That mom doesn’t have time to research every option and wait a week for results. She just wants a safe, pest-free home for her family in the shortest time frame possible. That is what we do.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? Immediately after college, I began my career in copier sales. That business taught me the importance of recurring revenue.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? Most business owners read personal development books, but I am a sucker for the romance novels.

What do you do to relax when not working? When not at the office, you can find me at the baseball fields with my son, being my daughter’s personal assistant in her competitive dance world or traveling somewhere warm with the family.