Trendsetter to Know: Ben Smith

Name: Ben Smith

Website

Age: 53

Title: CEO of Xcellerate Biomedical Technologies

Married/Single: Married

Kids: 3 kids (15, 17, 21).

City you live in: Phoenix

I was born… 

in Boca Raton, Florida, but lived all over the US.

My favorite thing about Arizona… 

I like the large city amenities with the small town attitude.

I’m listening to…   

everything! My playlists have been called “very eclectic!”

My family… 

is amazing and my kids are very diverse in their interests so I enjoy the new worlds they bring me into. Plus they can all breathe fire!

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… 

someone new whom I can learn from. I love to chat about new topics and learn different perspectives.

One thing I cannot live without…

an automated calendar. I have to recall for dates or days of the week, so I need Siri to let me know what day it is and keep track of me.

When I was younger, I wanted to be… 

I was always an entrepreneur from a very young age. I ran lemonade stands, and even had one professionally built, then upgraded to a golf cart with an electric cooler mounted to be able to drive to the park. I moved to Arizona in my junior year to get residency in order to enter the Entrepreneurship program at U of A. It was always in my blood.

I’m inspired by… 

every person I meet who has worked hard in their chosen path. I love to see and learn how people make their choices, what drives them and how that shows up in life (work and social). I do not read books but love to read people. I think we all have amazing things to offer the world and those we meet, and I’m appreciative when I get the time to know someone and learn their drives and passions.

The one person who motivates me is…  

my wife. She is a great motivator and stabilizing influence in my life. I tend to jump in headfirst, and she will remind me to pack a lunch or put on the life preserver first!  We have been together for 19 years but friends even longer.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… 

if I could affect a change globally, I would have to say it would be to teach us all to listen more and talk a little less. It is an art form that has been disappearing as we become more digital, and sound bites are the new norm. I truly believe that by listening, more things become clear, pathways open up and we would have fewer disagreements and violence.

The perfect day would be… 

I love work – I know that may be weird, but solving a challenge, applying new ways to approach things, and creating a great environment for my staff is extremely rewarding for me. Days where we change lives through the various companies we incubate, such as getting rid of childhood acne scars or early detection of someone’s cancer, those make any amount of effort worth it.

My first job was… 

when I was young my dad was with IBM. We often had a mainframe and minicomputers in our basement and a green screen terminal in my room. I was learning to code and type while learning to read and write. So I went into companies around the country setting up computers as a little kid. It led to the first 15 years of my career in IT and building consulting companies.

My favorite escape… 

when I do stop working, I love the beach. Technically, anywhere with water. Perhaps going to the beach every day with my mom till I was about three, is why it’s ingrained in my DNA. It calms me and leaves me in awe of our planet.

My life… 

is a culmination of all my experiences. I value everything I’ve ever done – good and bad. It has taught me that nothing is or ever will be perfect, but accept what you have, make the best of every moment and enjoy the journey.

I’m currently working on… 

my goal for the next 10 years is to develop a hub for Biomed, biotech, and cosmetics in the Valley. I want to be able to stay here and make sure our community gets credit for the amazing researchers, manufacturers and investors we have and not have the dollars or the corporations shipped off to another hub farther East or West.

Always… 

be on time and push in your chair when you are done!

Never… 

make your agenda more important than someone else’s. Take time to listen.

Favorite Quote… 

“We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes. Be fun, act like you did when you were a kid, and lift your spirits!

Biggest Dream… 

I often dream of the legacy instilled in my kids and the amazing things they will have the ability to do in the future. I picture them growing up and changing lives for the better.

My Pet Peeve(s)… 

tardiness, ego, and making every dish on a menu spicy!



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