Ole Smith, Vice President of Facilities, Receives the Distinguished Service Award
The College of Life Sciences is pleased to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Ole M. Smith, Vice President of Facilities at Brigham Young University. The Distinguished Service Award is designed to pay tribute to an individual who has given exceptional service and has made meaningful contributions to the college. Ole M. Smith, as this year’s recipient, has given extraordinary service throughout his career, and has served the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many capacities and in many nations.
Smith has worked in the construction industry for over thirty-five years. Following his education at BYU (1972–1978), he began his own construction company, OSCO General Contractors,which is still in operation today. This business eventually led Smith to work with the Physical Facilities Department at Church headquarters. After several years working with the LDS Church,he became heavily involved in President Gordon B. Hinckley’s 1998 goal to build one hundred temples. Smith was one of three men called to serve in this capacity. Through it, he oversaw the completion of twenty-six LDS temples: twenty-one in Latin America, and five in the U.S.A.and Canada. In 2001, he left this position to serve the Church as mission president of the Chile Santiago West Mission for three years.
Lately, Smith oversees all construction projects on BYU campus. His team of talented individuals has been employed in the design and construction of many recent buildings, including the Broadcasting Building, the Hinckley Center,and the Joseph Fielding Smith Building. For the College of Life Sciences in particular, Smith’s knowledge and experience has been key in facilitating the planning and construction of the new Life Sciences Building, an electron microscope facility, and the Bean Museum expansion,among other projects. Each of these projects has benefited the college immensely and will allow for significant development in education and research.
Smith is recognized as a valuable asset to the university. He has served as Assistant Administrative Vice President for Physical Facilities since May 2005 and has thoroughly enjoyed his involvement at BYU. As he says, “Over the years, I have been offered a number of jobs by various companies, and even other universities. It takes me about two seconds to say ‘No, thank you,’ because my only interest is building the Kingdom. Whether it’s building chapels throughout the Caribbean and South America or working for BYU and building academic buildings that teach and train the future of the Church. That’s what I enjoy doing most; that’s what interests me in my life. I love to be involved in the working of the kingdom in any area that I can be of service.” Beyond the joy his work brings him, Smith loves spending time with his family. He and his wife, Dena Baker Smith, have eight children and eighteen grandchildren. Smith attributes much of his success to Dena, recognizing her as a source of constant support. “I follow the good advice and example of my wife,” he says. “She is a wonderful example to me.”
Through his service and generosity, Smith stands as an extraordinary example. When asked what advice he has for anyone embarking in Church service,he simply says, “Trust that you’re doing what the Lord has called you to do, and enjoy it.”