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October 13, 2015

Faces of Fauquier: ‘Midland to the bone,’ native says

“I was fortunate enough to be raised in the business (Smith-Midland Corp.),” Matthew Smith says. “When I graduated from college, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
I love Midland, Southern Fauquier and Fauquier County in that order. Fauquier is great, because we still have a lot of beautiful countryside, beautiful farms and beautiful views without all of the traffic and overpopulation. We are close to Washington, close to the mountains and not far from the ocean. But mainly, this is just home. There is no other place that I’d rather be.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The products he sells go into skyscrapers, university buildings and major highway projects around the country.

Matthew Smith, the vice president of sales and marketing at Smith-Midland Corp., takes pride in the precast concrete products his family’s company manufactures.

“We do $25 million worth of sales per year,” Mr. Smith said.

Headquartered in Midland, the company sells about eight different product lines, from sound walls to precast concrete buildings and custom projects.

Concrete barriers, among Smith-Midland’s most popular products, get used along highways throughout Virginia and Maryland.

Thousands of feet of those barriers formed part of the security infrastructure last month, when Pope Francis visited Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Matthew’s late grandfather, David Smith founded the business 55 years ago to produce precast concrete cattleguards, which prevent livestock from crossing through road openings in fences.

A fifth generation native of Midland, Mr. Smith works with his three brothers and his father Rodney at the company, which extensively has diversified its products.

“I was fortunate enough to be raised in the business,” Mr. Smith said. “I’ve worked here since I was a kid. When I graduated from college, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

He also helps other local businesses thrive as a board member and former president of the Southern Fauquier Business Owners Association.

“We keep growth at a modest level here,” Mr. Smith said. “It’s a better quality of life, in my opinion. It’s a county with a lot of rich history and wonderful people.”

Mr. Smith calls himself “Midland to the bone” but also enjoys traveling and kayaking on the Rappahannock River.

“Fauquier is great because we still have a lot of beautiful countryside, beautiful farms and beautiful views without all of the traffic and overpopulation,” Mr. Smith said.

• Age
48

• Home
Midland

• Work
Vice president of sales and marketing at Smith-Midland Corp. since 2008; he has worked for the business for 26 years. Manages the sales team, attends trade shows and more. The business sells about eight different product lines from concrete barriers to precast concrete buildings and custom projects.

• Why do you do the job?
I was fortunate enough to be raised in the business. I’ve worked here since I was a kid. When I graduated from college, I knew this was what I wanted to do. My first year I worked in accounting, and then I worked as sales manager for three years in our North Carolina corporation.

It’s a great company to work for. We have great products for our customers. Great benefits. The company looks out for employees. It’s always been a challenging place to work, because we are in a great market.

• Family
Wife, Pam; son, Nick; stepdaughters, Amber and Lacey; two grandchildren; father, Rodney; mother, Hazel, and three brothers, Ashley, Roderick and Jeremy.

• Education
Bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in economics, Bridgewater College, 1989. Fauquier High School, 1985.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Member of Midland Church of the Brethren. Former board member, cemetery committee member, on the gifts discernment team and a Sunday school leader. Board member of Southern Fauquier Business Owners Association for 18 years and former president. Vice president of the Precast Concrete Association of Virginia. Advisory board member of the Mason Enterprise Center. Remington Fall Festival planning committee. Church of the Brethren Mid-Atlantic district leadership calling team. Fauquier High School Class of 1985 reunion planning committee.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
My whole life, minus four years of college and three years working in North Carolina.

• Why do you live here?
First and foremost, I’m Midland to the bone. I’m a fifth generation Midlander. My family first moved to Midland in the 1880s from the Shenandoah Valley. My mom, Hazel, who is really into genealogy, recently told me that we may be descendants of one of the original Germantown families, but she hasn’t been able to confirm it yet.

Secondly, I love Midland, Southern Fauquier and Fauquier County in that order. Fauquier is great, because we still have a lot of beautiful countryside, beautiful farms and beautiful views without all of the traffic and overpopulation. We are close to Washington, close to the mountains and not far from the ocean. But mainly, this is just home. There is no other place that I’d rather be.

• How do you describe this county?
The population is not out of control here. We have about 67,000, whereas Prince William is about 400,000. We keep growth at a modest level here. It’s a better quality of life, in my opinion. It’s a county with a lot of rich history and wonderful people. It still has a lot of characteristics of what you would call living in the country.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Right now, we need to get rid of the drug problem. We need to let drug dealers know Fauquier County is not a good place to do business, and if they choose to do so, they’ll end up in jail.

• What do you do for fun?
I love to travel. My wife, son and granddaughter recently went to Rome, Munich, Paris and Barcelona. I enjoy playing basketball, soccer and kayaking down the Rappahannock River. I enjoy going to family reunions and connecting with cousins.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Anywhere in Midland, but especially on our family farm, Smithfield Farm. My granddad, David Smith, bought the farm in 1927 when he was 22 years old. My wife and I built our home on the farm five years ago.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
The citizens of Fauquier County are smart, and we don’t want Fauquier to look like Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford or Culpeper. As long as we continue to vote for a majority of supervisors with the same vision, we will be fine. All it would take would be one bad board to screw it up.

• Favorite TV show?
I watch a lot of news and a lot of sports. I watch the Washington Wizards.

• Favorite movie?
“Escape from Alcatraz.” The original with Clint Eastwood.

• Favorite book?
“John Marshall: Definer of a Nation” by Jean Edward Smith.

I love early American history, and I’m fascinated that one of the most influential men in our country was born and raised in Midland.

• Favorite vacation spot?
We go to different locations. We go to the beach.

• Favorite food?
Anything my mom, Hazel, or my aunt, Merry Robin Bachetti, make. I got spoiled growing up with them and my late grandmother Margie Messick Smith’s cooking.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My parents taught me that we are all God’s children, and that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone on Earth is equal, no matter what. I believe this with all my heart and taught my son the same thing.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My dad, Rodney Smith, and my late grandfather, David Smith, because they are/were both smart, hardworking entrepreneurs with good hearts.

Also, Hope Porter who has worked tirelessly to protect open space in Fauquier County. I would love to have lunch with her some day and thank her for all of her efforts and have her sign a copy of the book she wrote about how they fought the developers of North Wales in the 1960s and won.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
I would donate some to my church, some to Bridgewater College, some to other organizations in Fauquier County and invest the rest in real estate.

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Sherrie Carter’s creativity becomes her business.

• Starting her career, Liberty graduate Judy Heflin wants to be a great teacher.

• Social Services Director Jan Selbo has devoted her career to helping others.

• Jim Cirillo’s call to Casanova extended.


• Don’t tell Angela Deal, Ms. Wheelchair Fauquier, that she can’t do something.

• FHS graduate and business owner Cathy Dodson finds all she needs right here.

• Mike Harvey’s sweet work takes lots of sweat.

• Warrenton native Joan Williams still serving her community.

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton






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brianroeder · October 19, 2015 at 6:45 am
Matt is a great guy.
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