Chuck Tindol started doing termite work and insulation jobs when he was 16 years old for Tindol Services, which was owned by his grandfather, Red Tindol, since 1967. Chuck Tindol has always been around pest control, going back to his childhood when he would occupy himself with “Orkin man” coloring books.
After he graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in management in 1983, he tried his hand at homebuilding before becoming a salesman for Tindol Services. When he was 28 years old, his father sold the company to Waste Management because his grandfather was getting ready to retire.
The family’s involvement in the pest control industry did not stop at the sale of Tindol Services. Jimmy Allgood, Chuck’s cousin, had launched Allgood Services in Dublin, Ga., in 1974. Following a family meeting — consisting of Jimmy Allgood, Chuck Tindol, Bubba Tindol, Mike Tindol (Chuck’s uncle), Perry Tindol and Mike Tindol (Chuck’s brother) — it was decided that Allgood should open an Atlanta operation led by Perry, Mike and Chuck.
Although Chuck Tindol worked in the family business after college, his three children, Luke, Maggie and Zach, are being encouraged to explore other career interests first. “I’ve always told them they have to go work somewhere else first, and then we’ll talk about it,” he said.
Tindol has held various leadership positions in the pest control industry. He has been chairman of NPMA’s Leadership Development Group, served on the Board of Directors three times and was elected NPMA Secretary in 2013. He also will become president of Associated Pest Services in February 2017. In the following Q&A, Tindol talks about growing up in the pest control industry and some of the exciting developments at NPMA — including the association’s new era of leadership under CEO Dominique Stumpf — and how the recent P3 Summit meeting will reshape NPMA moving forward.
PCT: Tell us about growing up in a pest control family.
CHUCK TINDOL: It goes back to my granddad and my dad both working for Orkin. Dad graduated from University of Georgia in 1962 and went to work for Orkin, from when I was born until I was 6 years old. We lived in, I think, six different towns when he was a branch manager. Orkin would send him to various branches and we lived in Atlanta; Jacksonville; Orangeburg, S.C.; Bristol, Tenn.; Valdosta, Ga.; and Tampa. When Orkin sold to Rollins, my granddad and my dad and my uncle Mike started their own business called Tindol Services. Tindol Services was in business from 1967 until 1987. My dad sold the business to Waste Management in 1987. I asked Ann to marry me in 1989 and we went to St. Louis together where I went to work for Waste Management. Two years later, Waste Management sold its pest control and lawn care operations to ServiceMaster.PCT: How did the Allgood Pest Solutions opportunity come about?
CT: My cousin, Jimmy Allgood, and my brother, Perry, called and said, “Hey, we’re going to start Allgood Services in Atlanta.” We all met at my dad’s house and so there were six equal owners in Allgood: Jimmy Allgood, Bubba Tindol, my uncle Mike, we call him “Big Mike,” my brothers Mike and Perry Tindol, and me. Dad, Jimmy and Mike put up the capital and that’s how we started Allgood on March 1, 1991.
PCT: Did you ever want to do anything other than pest control?
CT: After college, I wanted to build houses. The first experience I had was framing houses and I did that for about nine to 10 months. Then I said, “All right, I want to build houses,” but I didn’t have any money. So I went and found another framework place, built really nice homes and did that for about three or four more months. Then I got a call one day to run the night commercial route for Tindol Services in downtown Atlanta. That experience benefited us at Allgood because when we really started growing was when we landed commercial work — accounts like the Georgia Dome, the downtown Varsity restaurant, Coca-Cola — and working those night routes really gave me a greater understanding of how to do commercial work.
PCT: What do you like about the pest control industry?
CT: It’s the friendships. Growing up, all of our vacations kind of revolved around NPMA [NPCA at the time] meetings. I saw that my dad had a lot of friends in pest control and in NPMA. And the friendships that I have, my closest friends, really are my pest control buddies.
PCT: You and your family members are equal partners in Allgood Pest Solutions. That’s an interesting structure. How do you make it work?
CT: Well, I think the success of Allgood is the different behavior profiles and communication profiles that Mike and Perry and I have. I go out, I make friends everywhere. It just comes easy to me. I also move fast. Give me a little bit of information and I make up my mind. Perry, on the other hand, has to get all the information, has to take it away and think about it and then he’ll make a decision. Then Mike is mild mannered, thoughtful and he’s going to kind of be the peacemaker between us. The three of us are so different that we combine as one good team. I think one of the secrets to our success is Perry slows me down when I need to slow down.
PCT: You decided to open an office in Knoxville in 2015. How have things been going so far?
CT: I had no intention of moving to Knoxville, but when I got up there I really liked all the people that I was working with — we just kind of had fun together. I was at a point with my position at Allgood where I don’t think I was as excited to go to work, but when I went up to work with the people (in Knoxville) I got re-energized. Ann and I actually bought eight-and-a-half acres on the Tennessee river — a nice big spread. And it’s quiet. Every night is a beautiful sunset.
PCT: Can you share some recent developments at Allgood Pest Solutions that might be of interest to our readers?
CT: If you go to our website, watch our new video (http://bit.ly/2bwprGC). I think you’ll get a real insight to our company because there’s a history of Allgood. We’ve really worked hard to empower and grow people in an organization...and then get out of the way. It’s hard sometimes for owner/operators who think they built the company to do that, but when you get to a certain level, it has to be about your people — not about you.
PCT: Tell us a little about your family.
CT: My wife Ann is originally from Wisconsin. She actually owned a little lawn care business when we lived in Atlanta. When Waste Management was telling me to move to St. Louis, I asked Ann, who I was dating at the time, if she wanted to come. She said not unless we were married. So two weeks later we got married. We got married on Saturday, drove to St. Louis on Sunday, and I was at work on Monday. She’s given me amazing support. She was my best friend before, when we were dating, and we’ve been married for 27 years.
PCT: Are any of your kids involved in the company or do they have plans to get involved down the road?
CT: I have a family rule: My kids have to go work somewhere else for a minimum of three years before they think about coming to work for us. I want them to experience what it is like to work somewhere else and I truly believe they’ll bring experiences that will help us later on. My oldest son Luke (24) has a master’s in accounting and he is a forensic accountant at Deloitte & Touche in downtown Atlanta. Maggie (23), just graduated from nursing school and passed her exam. She is a nurse now and has moved back in with us, you know “the boomerang effect.” And then Zach (20), is at the University of Georgia studying accounting.
PCT: When did you get involved in NPMA?
CT: The Minnesota convention was the first convention I went to. I think this probably had to be like ’93 or ’94 and I didn’t know anybody. I remember sitting in the restaurant, in the hotel all by myself because I didn’t know anybody. So I was like, I got to find and make friends. And actually the portal to the relationships and friendships I have came through the Leadership Development Group and the Academy.
PCT: How has NPMA helped you grow personally and professionally?
CT: I think the beauty of our industry is talking to other people. We’re so open. Come visit my office and I’ll show you what I’m doing. There are no secrets in our business. Nobody has special formulas they use that are better than anyone else’s. I can call my NPMA friends and they will come to our business. Guys like Mike Rottler, Matt Nixon, Eric Frye, Lanny Allgood, Bobby Jenkins. We meet once a year in one of our offices to share what we are doing. We each bring a special project that we’re doing and we share that with the group.
PCT: You chaired the Succession Planning Committee that led to the hiring of Dominique Stumpf as CEO. How did that process lead the committee to Dominique?
CT: We worked with (management consultant) Jean Seawright in the first round. She helped the committee develop the job description and identify what skills and traits we were looking for in the candidates. The position was advertised with ASAE (the American Society of Association Executives) and other executive resources. We whittled the 147 resumes down to six candidates, including Dominique, and we interviewed them over two days. We weren’t satisfied with the external candidates that the passive search process had produced, so we decided to hire an association executive search firm. We ended up with several qualified and outstanding candidates. But throughout the process, Dominique’s experience and work ethic kept her at the top of our list. The committee committed an enormous amount of time and resources at their own expense and I’m extremely proud to have served with them.
PCT: Dominique has obviously not been on the job that long, but can you give me your initial impressions?
CT: She’s been traveling so much and reaching out to other pest control companies, manufacturers, distributors, just doing her job getting connected again with all the major stakeholders in our industry. That has helped elevate her with her staff. We’re fortunate that the NPMA staff is strong and close to one another. Her team has been able to carry on her work, and that was an initial concern because Dominique has always been the person at NPMA that gets everything done. The team has really risen to the top. In the first (few) months, that’s been the most pleasant thing that’s happened. And when I sit in on staff meetings I’m pleasantly surprised at the openness and the sharing that goes on and how they’re getting things done.
PCT: NPMA recently brought together PCOs and other stakeholders for the P3 (Purpose, Plan, Progress) meeting. How did this meeting come about?
CT: When Bob Rosenberg was [CEO], NPMA had a strategic planning meeting that included the executive board. They pretty much executed everything from that original plan. We were in a holding pattern waiting for the new CEO to replace Bob, but at the same time we had some big issues to address. The executive committee, Bob and Dominique, just decided, “Hey, we need to go ahead and do our strategic planning meeting.” That’s how that meeting got set up. Then Bob approached Bayer and Forshaw and they were very supportive. We brought in Jim Mumford (who works for a company that does strategic planning facilitation) and he had the job of getting us to look past the usual stuff to find what we really need to be focused on going forward. The meeting was three days of intense reflection on where we are and where we are going as an association and an industry.
PCT: Can you give us an example of what was discussed?CT:
We started by looking at our mission statement and core values, and we kept much of that. Then we looked at our vision statement — that big, hairy, audacious goal — and we came up with “Every household and business uses professional pest management services.” We looked at four areas we needed to focus on to make this happen: (1) members; (2) consumer connections; (3) public health leadership; and (4) regulators and policymakers. Basically when there is a crisis like Zika, we want for agencies like CDC and EPA to reach out to us for advice and to help us become part of the solution. In terms of the public policy part of it, our team of Jim Fredericks, Andrew Bray, Jake Plevelich and Andy Architect all have relationships with EPA, ASPCRO and other groups. We want those groups to recognize that we have good insight, good people and we can help them formulate a good plan.
PCT: What are some of the next steps?
CT: Well, that’s what we’re talking about now (at NPMA Academy). The main staff took those goals and then they broke them down to about eight action items each. They presented that to the board this past week. We added a couple, took away a couple and now it’s in staff’s hands to actually come up with the plan and execute it. They’ll be sharing that later with us at PestWorld. Meetings like this have real value. For example, PPMA and NPMA Quality Pro evolved out of previous planning meetings.
PCT: NPMA has added new positions in recent years. Can you talk a little bit about how that new structure is working to better meet members’ needs?
CT: A lot of that is the result of Bob Rosenberg. He worked with us to develop a more business-type organizational structure so that we were more functional, as opposed to everybody doing just their part and not being connected to others. They are all connected now. Marketing is working with public policy on what their message is. They know they’re all interconnected.
PCT: Is there sort of a changing of the guard among NPMA members?
CT: We’re in a new generation for NPMA. We have a new CEO, a new board, a new way that the board works and a lot of the same names but different faces that have become major players. It is kind of a changing of the guard. You know there are just a lot of young, really smart people.
PCT: With more and more Millennials coming in to the industry, how is NPMA adapting to this group, or can you maybe speak to what you’ve done at Allgood Services to leverage the power of Millennials?
CT: Go to my.npmapestworld.org, and you can see we’re refocusing the mentor program. I was active in that program years ago and from that I got a lot of great relationships, such as Charles Dixon, in Thomasville, Georgia. Through the technology of our new database we’re able to match mentors with mentees.
Type in what you’re interested in; how you want to communicate — if it’s email or text or face-to-face meetings — how many mentor or mentee relationships you want; and how long you want them. It automatically matches you with people that fit in those filters. So, we think that will appeal to this new generation. The other thing is, we realize that 80 percent of our membership is mainly small PMPs and many of those are members through the joint-state membership program; they may not even know they have a NPMA membership. We’re developing the Executive Leadership Program. The plan is to identify individuals through state association contacts and regional directors that want to get connected into our association. Through the mentoring program and scholarships, we bring those individuals in for training on association business and help them attend meetings. The plan is to develop a new pool of leadership from a part of the membership that needs more representation.
PCT: With someone like yourself who grew up in the industry, how have you seen the Academy evolve throughout the years?
CT: There are two different involvements. There is a physical involvement for team-building activities, and there is business skill-building involvement. We realize this is a great place to bring mid-level managers that are going to be in the upper management someday. And human resources managers can hang out with other human resources managers and develop relationships the same way. So, it’s evolved from an event where second- and third-generation owners would learn from first-generation owners to owners sending their people to be developed.
PCT: How is Public Policy now structured and how do they work together?
CT: In the old structure it really pretty much fell on the shoulders of Bob Rosenberg. Now, we have a team in which every member has different strengths. They work on issues and with other groups both individually and as a team. The most important relationships that we have aren’t necessarily up on the Hill. They’re at ASPCRO, they’re at EPA, they’re at the CDC. We are able to kind of divide and conquer and connect with the guys that they need to connect with.
PCT: NPMA recently implemented the State Policy Affairs Representative (SPAR) program, in which each state appoints a SPAR who helps NPMA coordinate responses to local issues (such as proposed pesticide bans)? How has this program helped NPMA’s Public Policy team’s efforts in terms of being able to organize, strategize and react quickly when local issues arise.
CT: I saw it firsthand in Tennessee. It was an arbitration bill and Mark Nadolski of Russell Pest Control is the SPAR for Tennessee. I was copied on all the communication between Andrew Bray, Andy Architect and Mark. It’s kind of like we had boots on the ground. Bringing the SPARs together for meetings or communicating via email is important. It’s important that all of the SPARS know where engagement’s happening and what happened because that might happen in your area at some point. There’s been great energy in the meetings and it’s exciting to see this group work.
PCT: Is there one overriding goal that you have or something you want to work on while you’re president of NPMA?
CT: The most important thing is I’m trying to really make sure we connect with the 80 percent of our membership that don’t truly understand the value of an NPMA membership. We have some outreach that we’ve got to do in this area. One of my main goals is to bring them to the mentor program.
PCT: Your granddad and your dad were both NPMA presidents. Can you speak to the significance of what that means to you?
CT: I’ve always felt a desire and willing obligation to give back to the pest control industry just like they did. It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and working towards.