The PestWorld final night party was sponsored by BASF.
Photos: NPMA

Sunny and spectacular San Diego was the destination for October’s PestWorld 2019, the National Pest Management Association’s 87th annual convention and exposition.

NPMA said more than 3,700 industry professionals from 47 countries made the journey to San Diego for four days of educational sessions, networking events and service opportunities.

NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf kicked off PestWorld by providing an overview of the industry and NPMA. Stumpf said that despite the pest control industry’s continued growth it remains family-oriented and that member companies are “driven to help others” and “give advice to peers.”

“That friendly camaraderie and vested interest in helping others succeed is not commonplace in other industries. We are exceedingly fortunate to have it, and it’s something I hope we continue to nurture as we grow and expand,” said Stumpf.

And NPMA continues to expand, said Stumpf, who noted during the past year NPMA has added more than 540 new member companies, and has had its highest renewal rates since the new dues structure was enacted in January of this year.

Stumpf added that 2019 has been significant for NPMA as the association is “realizing the full benefits of operating under one united clear vision and mission set forth when our strategic plan that was established three years ago.”

Following Stumpf’s opening remarks, attendees heard from Ildem Bozkurt, head of professional pest management and vector control for the Environmental Science Unit of Bayer in the U.S. Bozkurt encouraged PestWorld attendees not to run away from change, but embrace it.

After Bozkurt’s opening remarks, she introduced the Opening Ceremony performers, the Greatest Show, a cast of Broadway-accredited singers and dancers that entertained attendees with an original song and dance routine about the pest control industry. The opening ceremony was sponsored by Bayer.

Two general session speakers were sponsored by Syngenta and Corteva Agriscience.

In addition to speakers and the tradeshow, attendees had many opportunities for educational sessions and networking throughout the week. Also, NPMA presented a number of awards, including:

  • Pinnacle Award: Bobby Jenkins, ABC Home & Commercial Services
  • Women of Excellence Award: Suzanne Graham, Massey Services
  • Young Entrepreneur Award: Chase Hazelwood, Go-Forth Pest Control
  • NPMA Gives Award: Northwest Exterminating of Marietta, Ga.
  • 2018/2019 Committee of the Year: Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM)
  • 2018/2019 Committee Chair of the Year: Faye Golden, Cook’s Pest Control, Chair of the Diversity Council
  • Entomological Society of America ACE Professional Award: Travis Aggson, American Pest Management

The following feature additional articles and photos from the event.



Zappos Insights Co-Founder Provides ‘Culture Hacks’ for PMPs

As part of a General Session sponsored by Syngenta, Zappos Insights co-founder Robert Richman shared with PestWorld attendees some of his “culture-changing principles, hacks and techniques” that PestWorld attendees could apply to their own businesses.

Successful PCOs understand the importance of creating a strong culture that enables their team members to reach their fullest potential. As part of a General Session sponsored by Syngenta, Zappos Insights co-founder Robert Richman shared with PestWorld attendees some of his “culture-changing principles, hacks and techniques” that PestWorld attendees could apply to their own businesses.

Zappos Insights was co-created by Richman as a program that teaches companies about the Zappos company culture, which it describes as “weird and fun.”

After having observed how this unique company culture helped improve employee engagement, increased productivity, promoted brand loyalty and enhanced financial performance, Richman and Zappos founder Tony Hsieh launched Zappos Insights, which shares the Zappos culture through training, events and more.

Richman provided a condensed (60 minute) version of a Zappos Insights event. Important take-home messages for attendees were “culture hacks,” which are small, emotional, immediate changes that can have significant impacts.

For example, a common mistake that businesses make is creating Help Wanted ads with boring standard headlines and descriptions (e.g., Accountant Needed). Instead, they should be marketing themselves to find like-minded team members, perhaps using photos or videos. Also within these ads they should include a box where those interested can leave their email address. “Now you have them on file instead of having to scramble to fill positions. And that is how you develop your bench,” Richman said.

Another hack Richman provided was having management spend an entire day or more — not one hour — working in various positions in a company. Richman said he encouraged one of his clients — the CEO of an amusement park — to spend an entire day collecting tickets. The CEO observed that after several hours the ticket collectors needed more comfortable chairs and to change up the music that was playing on a loop.

In addition to speaking, Richman is the author of the “Culture Blueprint,” a guide to creating a high-performing workplace.


ABC’s Bobby Jenkins Recognized With NPMA Pinnacle Award

Chris Gorecki (right) presents Bobby Jenkins (left) with the NPMA Pinnacle Award.

In San Diego, NPMA presented the Pinnacle Award to Bobby Jenkins, ABC Home & Commercial Services, Austin, Texas. NPMA’s Pinnacle Award is the association’s highest honor and it is presented annually in recognition of an individual for their outstanding contributions to both NPMA and the industry.

Jenkins was presented the award by NPMA President Chris Gorecki, who noted that Jenkins “is an industry leader, a second-generation pest control owner, and a family man who is highly respected in his community.”

Jenkins’ association involvement includes serving as a past president of NPMA and the Texas Pest Management Association; past chair of QualityPro; and chairman of the Professional Pest Management Alliance. A Texas A&M University graduate, Jenkins also serves on the board of the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M. Additionally, Jenkins actively gives back to the Austin community and in 2017 he was named the Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

As a surprise to Jenkins, on hand for the award presentation was his mother, Sandy Jenkins, matriarch of the Jenkins family, which also includes Bobby’s brothers (and past NPMA presidents) Raleigh and Dennis Jenkins. In accepting the award, Bobby Jenkins said, “I can’t tell you of an honor that I would be more proud of. I truly love this entire industry, which I view as family. I am unbelievably blessed with a family that is incredible.”


ServiceMaster Announces PWIPM Support, Hosts Deni Naumann Retirement Celebration

Deni Naumann (left) with Nik Varty, at her retirement party on the USS Midway.

Leaders from all walks of the pest management industry came together to celebrate the retirement of Deni Naumann, past president, Copesan Services.; past interim president, Terminix Commercial; and strategic adviser/executive consultant, ServiceMaster.

Aboard the USS Midway in San Diego during NPMA PestWorld, the industry celebrated Naumann’s accomplishments throughout her 13 years in the industry, and acknowledged her commitment to service excellence and contributions to pest management.

Nik Varty, CEO, ServiceMaster, began the evening by announcing ServiceMaster’s partnership with the National Pest Management Association’s Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) organization to fund an annual Deni Naumann Women in Pest Management Empowerment Grant.

The grant will begin in 2020 and will provide the opportunity for a female in any industry business role to compete for an all- expenses paid trip to attend PestWorld for educational purposes plus an award of $1,000 towards her professional goal. This also enables PWIPM to continue its annual Empowerment Grant program with guaranteed funds for at least one woman per year. To learn more visit

The retirement party provided suppliers, PMPs, educators and clients an opportunity to reconnect, reminisce and extend their retirement wishes to Naumann.


RISE Leaders Discuss Engagement, Partnerships During Issues Breakfast

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) hosted its annual Industry Issues Breakfast during NPMA PestWorld 2019.

“Access to chemical technology is crucial for the protection of public health, and it is up to us to keep these tools available,” said Governing Board Chairman Gilles Galliou, head of region, Americas, at Bayer Environmental Science. “We must all reach out to our communities and personally share how pesticides keep public spaces safe and pest free. Through this outreach, and through strategic partnerships with pest control and other sectors, we can more effectively communicate the benefits of our industry’s products.”

Governing Board Member Stephanie Jensen, director of Professional & Specialty Solutions at BASF, spoke to attendees about the importance of engagement. “Each of us can be a grassroots connector in our cities and towns. I encourage everyone in our industry to use resources from RISE, NPMA and other partners to share information on how imperative it is for consumers and professionals to have access to pesticide products.”

RISE is a national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with specialty pesticides. Stay informed on industry issues by following @PestFacts on Twitter.


Massey Services’ Graham Honored With Women of Excellence Award

David Helt, vice president, Target Specialty Products, presents the NPMA Women of Excellence Award, which recognizes women who advance the pest management industry every day, to Suzanne Graham.

Suzanne Graham, Massey Services’ director of government affairs, was honored with the 2019 Women of Excellence Award from the National Pest Management Association.

In its 11th year, the NPMA Women of Excellence Award recognizes women who advance the pest management industry every day. The association says women who receive this honor demonstrate outstanding leadership and have made notable contributions to the development and growth of their profession, their business and other women in the industry.

“This award speaks volumes about Suzanne and the contributions she’s made to our industry,” said Tony Massey, president of Massey Services. “She’s passionate about making a difference in our communities, driving positive changes for our industry and serving as a mentor to others. We are extremely proud of Suzanne for receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Graham is a Florida-licensed pest control operator and certified building contractor. She currently serves on the National Pest Management Association Public Policy Committee, National Association Home Builders, Political Action Committee of the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) and is a member of the Florida Irrigation Society Governmental Affairs Committee. She also was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the South West Regional Planning Council. In 2013, Graham was the president of the FHBA and was the president of the Charlotte-DeSoto Building Industry Association in 2006.


Hazelwood Named NPMA’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Chase Hazelwood

Chase Hazelwood was named “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by the National Pest Management Association.

Hazelwood is the owner and CEO of Go-Forth Pest Control, which is headquartered in High Point, N.C. NPMA presented Hazelwood’s award on Oct. 17.

The Young Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Rentokil Steritech, recognizes pest control professionals under 40 years of age who have helped develop an industry business and/or stewarded a meaningful industry concept to fruition. Hazelwood’s nomination focused on the growth of his company in revenue, territory and team size since he assumed operational control of the business. It also referenced several novel ideas he has implemented in the company and his local philanthropic efforts with the North Carolina Fusion soccer organization and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Our team has a lot to celebrate this year! We’ve grown in many ways and had our successes recognized locally and nationally. We also recently celebrated our 60th anniversary at the beach with our whole team and their families! I am honored to be a recipient of this award. Many of the past winners are people I highly respect,” Hazelwood said.


Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Creator Inspires PestWorld ’19 Attendees

A highlight of day two at PestWorld 2019 was an inspirational speech from Flamin’ Hot Cheetos creator Richard Montañez, who presented the Opening General Session, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.

The child of migrant California workers and a high school dropout, Montañez was working as a janitor for Frito-Lay. One of his observations was that the tried-and-true Cheetos were somewhat bland. So he brought home a few bags, and with the assistance of his wife (a talented cook), began experimenting with different spices and powders. After finding just the right mix of ingredients, both Montañez and his wife took sample bags to their respective workplaces. The responses both received were overwhelming. “People said, ‘[Frito Lay’s] needs to sell these’ — and that’s when I had a revelation to start a revolution.”

Through some persistence and knowing the right people, Montañez was able to pitch his idea to the CEO of Frito-Lay. The CEO agreed to a meeting (in front of executives and other management) the next time he was in California.

This was an important leadership lesson that Montañez learned. The Frito-Lay CEO led as a “deliverer” — someone who believes that your job as a leader is to develop people to their fullest potential — as opposed to a “pharaoh,” someone who leads by molding their employees in their own image.

Prior to the meeting, Montañez went to the library to research how to develop a marketing plan. He put together a presentation on an overheard transparency sheet and he and his wife packaged and sealed 100 bags.

Impressed with the product and presentation, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were greenlighted. The rest, as they say, is history. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos quickly became one of Frito-Lay’s most successful products and has had a significant cultural impact. Montañez now leads multicultural sales and marketing across Pepsi’s North American divisions. He 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.