Kenneth Musser Woolley has been in the self-storage industry since 1977 and has also been a real estate developer. He founded Extra Space Storage and its predecessor and served as its chairman and CEO until he resigned in 2009 to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed the Mormon Church. Extra Space Storage holds an interest in $4 billion worth of assets.
Woolley has developed 165 properties and acquired over 625 self-storage properties throughout the United States. He also has developed more than 7,000 apartment units, and has been the founder of several companies in the retail, electronics, food manufacturing and natural resources industries.
Early in his career he was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. From 1979 to 1998, he was an Associate Professor, and later an Adjunct Associate Professor of Business Administration at Brigham Young University, where he taught undergraduate and MBA classes in Corporate Strategy and Real Estate.
Woolley earned a B.S. in Physics from Brigham Young University, and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 1990, Ken founded and directed Realty Management, Inc. which was ranked 45 on the NMHC 50 Largest US Apartment Managers as of January 1, 2007.
Extra Space Storage experienced meteoric growth after 2004, when it went public. In 2005 it acquired 416 Storage USA properties for about $2.3 billion, bringing its portfolio to 634 facilities in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The purchase, a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors, was the biggest transaction in self-storage industry.
By summer of 2006, Extra Space held 415,000 units and 45 million square feet, making Extra Space the second-largest U.S. self-storage operator. The focus of the company’s storage investments is on the east and west coasts of the U.S., where storage units cost more to rent. Said Woolley in 2006, “Our overall goal is to build the best company in the business—not necessarily the largest—through the best people, properties and processes in the industry.” 
“The industry has emerged from its early days of a concrete-block building surrounded by concertina wire fences into a service truly attractive to the consumer. Clearly, new growth is under way with the development of third-and fourth-generation facilities, and increase in multistory sites, Woolley says. Today’s sites have better-quality construction, and many sport contemporary architectural facades and interior decor, brighter hallways and ceramic tile or carpeted floors. Features such as high-tech security, climate control and upscale apartments for the manager are also the norm.
“Self-storage is becoming more brand centric and people notice the difference,” Woolley says. “Consumers want it to be expedient, secure and, most of all, run by professional companies.”