In “Off Duty,” the Smithfield Herald asks community leaders about their interests – what they’re reading, what they’re listening to, what they’re watching.
Lenny Branch, 43, is Smithfield’s public works director. His department encompasses services, including garbage collection, buildings and grounds maintenance, street drains and animal control.
Branch graduated from Wake Technical Community College in 1992 with a degree in business management. He started working for Smithfield’s public works department that same year. Before that, he graduated from Smithfield-Selma High School and attended Johnston Community College.
Over time, Branch continued his education, and in 2000, he completed N.C. State University's Roads Scholar program in road maintenace and management. He worked his way up through the public works department and became director in 2007.
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Branch married his wife, Tracy Oliver Branch, in 1996. They have two children, Trevor, 15, and Corey, 13.
What are your hobbies? Deep-sea fishing, landscaping, sports.
What music have you been listening to lately? I love listening to music (all types) with rhythm and uniqueness. It picks me up after hectic days.
What books are you currently reading? James Patterson books. The chapters are usually short, which keeps me wanting to read just one more before bed.
What is your favorite television show? ESPN Sports Center is my favorite television show. It keeps me updated with the latest scores and team news.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would you dine with? I need four – John F. Kennedy, Dean Smith, Jackie Robinson and Sarah Palin. I found these guys very interesting. Each has faced several of life’s curve balls and still managed to leave a positive impact on the world today. I preach to my kids try to do at least one good deed for someone each day. You never know how big of an impact it could be on their lives.
Describe a perfect day. Taking our boat over to the islands and spending the day with my family and friends. This is my favorite stress reliever of all.
What is the most fascinating place you’ve been to? Hawaii. The smell of the flowers are still stuck in my head today, an absolute wonderful place to visit.
What is the one food you can’t resist? Bojangles chicken. I eat it every Thursday night. It’s our weekly family tradition.
If you had to perform in a talent show, what would your talent be? Comedian. Through life’s struggles I’ve learned that laughter is good for the soul.
What is something that some might be surprised to know about you? I’m petrified of heights; it makes me dizzy.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To think more positively, because negative thinking and worrying usually turns out to be nothing more than wasted time.
What is your most embarrassing moment? I’m human, so I’ve had a few and still embarrassed to say… LOL.