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More than 3,000 industry professionals from 80-plus countries made their way to Baltimore in October for NPMA PestWorld 2017, the National Pest Management Association’s 84th annual convention and exposition.

To kick off this year’s event, NPMA played a professionally made video it created that illustrates the important role pest management professionals play in protecting health and property; the video is an updated version of its “Pride in Professionalism,” the video NPMA created 15 years ago.

NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf then reviewed how the association and its members are working to achieve the ambitious vision statement it created last year, which is “to have every household and every business use professional pest management services.”

Kathy (Kness) Wauson is the third-generation family member running Kness Mfg., Inc.

Stumpf said, “Since then, we’ve focused on (1) our members, by giving them the tools they need to succeed; (2) establishing ourselves as an authority on public health by joining important conversations, and having a seat at the table with other industry partners like CDC and EPA; (3) continuing to make quality consumer connections with invaluable marketing support from the Professional Pest Management Alliance; (4) and proactively engaging with regulators and policymakers to protect your interests and drive change where needed.”

PestWorld featured General Session speakers Doc Hendley and Commander Kirk Lippold (see related articles). Other highlights of this year’s event included the Technicians Luncheon, sponsored by PCT; the NPMA Thought Leader Program; and educational tracks on online marketing, integrated pest management, public health, food safety and wildlife control.

Next year’s event will be held Oct. 23-26, in Orlando, Fla., at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

A photo review and related articles from the event are featured in the following pages. Visit for additional coverage.

Kirk Lippold shared seven crisis managment tips.

USS Cole Captain Encourages PMPs to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

As part of the Syngenta-sponsored General Session at NPMA PestWorld, attendees heard from Kirk Lippold, who was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, when the ship was bombed by Al-Qaeda terrorists during a refueling stop in the Yemeni port of Aden. Lippold used his experiences on board the USS Cole that fateful day for outlining seven “human factors in crisis management.”

STAY CALM — If you as the leader of your organization do not take the time to center yourself and take that deep breath, panic and uncertainty will set in and that will spread to those looking up to you.

FOCUS — When a person who works for you comes to you with a problem, it might be just a little “wedge of concern in your world,” but it is a major concern in their world. Take the time to listen and focus on what they are saying and make the best decision possible.

Make Decisions — In a crisis it is not true that sometimes making no decision is the best decision, Lippold said. “You have to make decisions, and you have to do so based on the information you have at the time.”

ACT NOW — THINK AHEAD — “This is when you say, ‘OK, I’m dealing with this now...but what is the next thing after that, and the next thing after that?’”

PEOPLE FIRST — What does your team — and perhaps their families — need to get through the crisis. This is critical because you will be relying on them to work extended hours.

COMMUNICATE — Lippold said it is important to communicate not only with your team members, but with others in your industry. For example, when a hurricane hits, keep the lines of communication open with your industry colleagues.

RECOVER — After taking the aforementioned steps, re-evaluate where you are at and make adjustments as necessary during the recovery process.

“Doc” Hendley shared his “Wine to Water” story at PestWorld.

Bartender Turned Humanitarian Reminds Attendees of Their Everyday Impact

Sometimes the most unlikely people can have the most profound impact. Such is the case of Doc Hendley, who gave a General Session speech sponsored by Dow AgroSciences. In 2003, the part-time musician thought his calling was to pen a country song titled “Wine to Water.” That hit song never came to fruition, but it got Hendley thinking about the parable in which Jesus turned water into wine. So, he began researching water. What he discovered was that (at that time) 1.1 billion people lacked access to clean drinking water.

Moved by this and other findings, in 2004 Hendley began holding food/drink charity events to raise money for the fight against the global water crisis. After some research, Hendley settled on a North Carolina charity he was confident would get the funds to the right people. The leader of this charity saw something in Hendley beyond his ability to raise funds; he coaxed him into working for the charity.

Six months after his first charity fundraiser, in August 2004, Hendley was on the ground in the dangerous Darfur region of Sudan. After a lot of trial and error digging wells, Hendley began engaging with local rebels who were fighting the corrupt government. What he learned was that there were already existing wells installed by past international humanitarian aid workers, but they were no longer functioning. So, Hendley began researching and learning how to fix broken down wells. In the process, he learned that about 60 percent of humanitarian-dug wells in sub-Saharan Africa were not functioning (essentially, they would get dug and begin operating, but then the humanitarian efforts end there with little to no follow up). This was another “aha” moment for Hendley, who began concentrating his relief efforts less on digging new wells and more on restoring existing wells.

Hendley took this one step further, teaching locals how to use the tools and technology to fix the wells themselves, akin to the old proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Said Hendley, “I wanted to empower the community to take care of their own problems.” Hendley continues his work to this day. According to his website, today Wine to Water has dug, repaired and sanitized drinking wells for 25,000 people in five Third World countries. — Brad Harbison