Buddy Smith was born and reared in McCracken County and graduated from Reidland High School and Paducah Junior College. He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute. He is a Registered Land Surveyor, a Professional Highway Engineer, a Professional Civil Engineer and a Professional Sanitary Engineer. He holds a landfill operator certification and a master electrician license. Mr. Smith served four years in the United States Air Force and was employed by the Illinois Central Railroad for 16 years. He took an indefinite leave of absence from the railroad to serve as McCracken County engineer from 1967 to 1990. During that time, he also functioned as the Paducah-McCracken County DES director and county landfill manager. He has served on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet transition team under Governors Martha Lane Collins, Brereton Jones and Paul Patton.
After retiring from the county in 1990, Mr. Smith became general manager for H & G Construction Company in Kuttawa, Kentucky, from 1990 to 1994. He also has served on the KTC Test Site Advisory Board since 1992. He served as Paducah’s interim city engineer from March to May 1996. He then accepted and still holds a position as city project engineer and advisor. In January 1999, he accepted and still holds, a position with McCracken County as county project engineer and advisor. Mr. Smith is an Honorary Colonel in the Kentucky State Police and an Honorary Colonel with the Civil Air Patrol, and was named Honorary Mayor of Paducah in 1979.
He has received the McCracken County Fiscal Court Achievement Award, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Outstanding Service Award in Emergency Services, and the South Side Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year award, as well as the Paducah Kiwanis Club Service Award. He also has been awarded the Kentucky Educational Television Appreciation Award and Community Service Awards from both the Hendron and Reidland Lions Clubs. In 1999, he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen of the Year from the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Smith is married to the former Lala Mae Emery. They have two children and five grandchildren.