‘I love mixing PR and science’
“I like to talk about mosquitoes, not myself,” said Beth Ranson, seriously. Ranson’s job is pretty important nowadays, as the public relations officer for Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. She is a bit of an anomaly, with a background of journalism, public relations and pharmaceutical sales. A graduate of the University of Richmond, (Go Spiders!) in her home state of Virginia, Ranson worked as a journalist and producer for Fox TV. Coming to Key West years ago because “it was the Caribbean I could drive to,” she started her own PR firm and on a whim answered an ad for the mosquito control district three years ago. Now she is the voice we hear on the radio and the one keeping the public, and newspapers, in touch with all the correct info from Zika to GM mosquitoes. Ranson is one of the busiest PR reps in Florida, but she takes it in stride, saying, “I never in my life dreamed I would know this much about mosquitoes, but I love mixing PR and science.”
Full Name? Elizabeth B. Ranson Worst nickname? Keebler.
Do you have a life credo or motto? Live each day as if it’s your last … this would be more of an aspiration.
What is something you never thought would happen in your life, and surprisingly changed everything? Live on a boat and reduce my world to 200 square feet. When you move into that small of a space, you realize how little you need to be happy.
What’s one thing you have yet to achieve on your “bucket” list? Hot air balloon ride. And one thing you did achieve? Hike the Inca trail.
Weirdest question/or misconception anyone ever asked you about mosquito? If you got bit by a GM mosquito would you become a super mosquito along the lines of Spiderman?
Do you guys use a lot of bug spray? Recommend a certain kind? I actually do not use any bug spray. However, we would recommend bug sprays that contain DEET.
With the outbreak of Zika, Florida Keys Mosquito Control gained a lot of attention; how did it affect your job? One of my main jobs is community awareness of mosquitoes and the diseases they can/may carry. Zika sparked a renewed interest in mosquitoes and more community organizations were interested in having FKMCD present on mosquitoes.
One thing every Keys resident should know about mosquitoes (and would make your job easier): go! The most dangerous mosquitoes we have in the Keys, the aedes aegypti, breeds in water that humans create by not dumping water in and around their home. Please remember to dump standing water.
Which TV, movie or superhero character is your alter ego? Monica Geller
If you were invisible, what would you do in Key West? Explore all the homes and gardens of Key West – there are so many hidden oases in Key West.
What is your nerdiest passion? The New York Times Crossword Puzzle
Favorite guilty pleasure? Massages
If you could grant Key West one wish? That it will magically float and avoid any effects of sea level rise.
If not with Mosquito Control, what would your secret dream job be? Host of my own travel show.
For lunch with one famous person, whom would you choose? Betty White (I mean who wouldn’t want to have lunch with Betty White)
Finish these sentences..
My friends and family would describe me as … sarcastic and friendly with occasional bouts of extreme “hanger.”
My autobiography would be titled … “The Diary of a Traveling Renegade.”
One secret I shall never tell … is what makes my father’s Dark n’ Stormy so tasty.
When I go, I will go … hopefully with a broken body, a good mind and a lifetime of interesting stories.