PestWorld 2019 will hold its first-ever NPMA PestWorld Day of Service.
Photo: Aric Schroeder

San Diego’s mild temperatures, white-sand beaches and laid-back atmosphere make it an ideal destination for anyone. This year, it’s the site of PestWorld, the National Pest Management Association's annual gathering of pest management professionals. From Oct. 15-18, PestWorld attendees will have the opportunity to network and learn about the industry’s latest products, developments and technologies. PestWorld 2019 is expected to be attended by thousands of industry professionals, including many from around the world, said Alexis Wirtz, NPMA’s vice president of conventions and meetings. With motivating speakers, educational sessions and networking and service opportunities, this year’s PestWorld, no doubt, will be an experience that attendees will not forget, NPMA said.

GOLF TOURNAMENT AND OPENING CEREMONY. Before PestWorld officially began, attendees had the option to participate in the NPMA Golf Tournament on Monday. The outing was held at Torrey Pines Golf Club, which hosted the U.S. Open on its south course in 2008 and will host it again in 2021. The fundraising tournament was in support of the NPMA Issues Defense Fund.

The opening ceremony, which took place Tuesday, featured a cast of Broadway-accredited singers and dancers, performing songs from The Greatest Showman, Hamilton, Wicked and more. This event was sponsored by Bayer.

Following the performance, attendees enjoyed the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening and Welcome Reception, sponsored by Bayer. This event allowed PMPs to catch up with friends and colleagues and network with people from around the world.

SESSIONS AND SPEECHES. PestWorld attendees will have the opportunity to get inspired and gain valuable knowledge from “really strong educational sessions and some amazing speakers” during this year’s convention, Wirtz said. Led by experts and prominent figures in the industry, the educational sessions will cover a variety of topics, ranging from pest control practices to business management and marketing strategies. Each session will last between one hour and 75 minutes and will provide attendees with practical knowledge they can apply to their work.

On Wednesday, during the Opening General Session, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, PMPs will hear from Richard Montañez, who leads multicultural sales and marketing across Pepsi’s North American divisions. While he was working as a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in Southern California, Montañez developed the concept of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which quickly became one of Frito-Lay’s most successful products and had a significant cultural impact. Montañez is a four-time recipient of PepsiCo’s Chairman’s award and founder of Onelite, a nonprofit organization that provides U.S. families in need with food and school supplies.

PMPs will learn about developing a productive business culture during Thursday’s Industry Awards and General Session, sponsored by Syngenta. Keynote speaker Robert Richman, formerly a culture strategist at Zappos, has spoken to and consulted companies such as Google and Whole Foods. Richman co-founded Zappos Insights, a program that teaches companies about Zappos’ unique employee culture, and is also the author of the “Culture Blueprint,” a guide to creating a high-performing workplace.

DAY OF SERVICE. PestWorld 2019 will introduce the first-ever NPMA PestWorld Day of Service. The convention has “always had kind of a give back piece, but [this year] we’re making it bigger,” Wirtz said.

Attendees will have various opportunities to give back to San Diego-based organizations through NPMA committees: The Professional Women in Pest Management will put on a fundraising 5K Fun Run/Walk; the Leadership Development Group will host a volunteer project to assist San Diego’s homeless population; and PestVets will support veterans in the area through a volunteer project.

A service opportunity will also be available in the convention center. In the NPMA Exhibit Hall, attendees will be able to pack up materials to help local groups and organizations. This service opportunity is conveniently located so that anyone can participate, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes, Wirtz said, and it is a great way for PestWorld attendees to come together to do good for the San Diego community.

NETWORKING. PestWorld will offer plenty of opportunities for PMPs to network. On Thursday evening, attendees will have a chance to form connections during the “In the Mix” reception, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, EcoLab, FMC, ServicePro and Target Specialty Products. This reception invites PMPs to network and learn more about NPMA committees they can join, such as the Leadership Development Group, PestVets, the Professional Women in Pest Management and the Diversity Committee. Attendees will also be able to socialize Friday evening during the PestWorld Party, sponsored by BASF. This event will encourage PMPs to chat with their peers in a casual atmosphere as they eat, drink and reflect on their PestWorld experiences.

The author is a Cleveland-based writer and can be contacted at pbennett@gie.net.