Veteran and PostNet Franchise Owner Ken Rodes Exemplifies the American Dream
From veteran to chemist to steelworker to PostNet franchise owner, Ken Rodes’ diverse professional experience is driving his success
Ken Rodes knows the real meaning behind the phrase, “right place, right time.” In 1989, when the Berlin Wall finally came down, unifying East and West Germany for the first time since 1945, Ken was stationed at the politically sensitive border of Czechoslovakia, a country that also was divided from the West.
“Millions of people were pouring across the border,” says Ken, who is a self-described Cold War Veteran. “It was a monumental sight. It was very moving to witness.”
Ken served in the military for five years, spending four years in West Germany and rising to the rank of Captain.
“For the majority of my time in the military, my mission remained the same,” Ken says. “We were preparing for a potential Cold War invasion. It was very serious at the time. When the Berlin Wall came down, our mission still hadn’t changed. Only afterward did we realize the magnitude of the event.”
After his time in the service, Ken put the education he earned on a military scholarship at Presbyterian University to use and became an environmental chemist.
“It was a very hot field to be in,” he says. “From 1991 to 1996, everything was going well. I was married with two children, living in Charleston, South Carolina. Abruptly, the industry took a nosedive, and I was laid off. With two children to feed and no employment, I took a job as a steelworker. This was quite an education. I worked construction on a mill, and then later, as an operator and medical first responder. In my time there, I responded to a man who lost a hand, another man who lost a leg, and then another man who was killed. It wasn’t that these people were stupid. They were precisely in the wrong place when the worst thing happened. I thought, ‘This could happen to me.’ And I started looking for something else to do.”
Making the leap to a PostNet franchise
Eight years ago, Ken decided to go into business for himself. After investigating a number of franchise systems, Ken got a call from a PostNet area developer. Again, the “right place, right time,” expression rings true.
“The area developer said that he didn’t have any available franchise locations in the Charleston area, but he did have a location in Davidson, North Carolina,” Ken says. “My wife and I had always wanted to live in Davidson. It’s a beautiful area. It’s a small town on a lake, where everyone knows each other. When he called, we thought, ‘The Lord is opening up a door for us, and we better take it.’”
What excited Ken about the PostNet opportunity is the same thing that excites him today.
“Our primary job is to solve problems for our customers,” Ken says. “The only way you’ll go out of business is when people run out of problems. We are entirely focused on an exceptional level of customer service, and that separates us from our competitors. When our customers walk out our doors, we make sure that they are confident that they have been taken care of. That makes our customers very loyal. This business is challenging, but you’re always going to be learning — which keeps you alert as a business owner.”
A bright future with PostNet is a bright future for Ken’s family
If you ask Ken how many children he has, he will answer, “That’s a complicated question.” He and his wife had three children and then decided to become foster parents to a little girl. Soon after, the state Department of Health and Human Services asked the Rodes if they could take in other children — two brothers who also needed a family.
“We decided that we would take both of the boys because it would have broken our hearts for them to have been separated,” Ken says. “It’s a lot, with Little League, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and dance lessons, but it’s great, too: When my kids see me at their baseball games, they think that I know everyone in the world. As a PostNet franchise owner, you work with the local businesses, the local government, the nonprofits, the school systems — but in my children’s eyes, I am a local celebrity.”
When asked how his military service has shaped the success of his PostNet franchise, Ken answers matter-of-factly: “In my military experience and my experience as a PostNet franchisee, finding solutions is not optional.”
Two of Ken’s children are now in the military, and he knows that he has set a strong example of how service to your country can translate into serving your community.
“My children are better than me,” he says with pride. “Which as a father is all that you could ever ask for. We’ve been very blessed.”
Are you a veteran interested in owning a PostNet shipping franchise?
Dozens of veterans own PostNet design, printing and shipping franchises, and PostNet is eager to have more veterans join our team.
Our franchise system offers veterans an excellent new career, and we work hard to honor their service by working hard to offer them the support they need to succeed.
PostNet is part of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, through which franchises offer discounts to veterans who want to start a business. PostNet offers veterans a 35 percent discount on our franchise fee — a savings of more than $12,000.