The art of listening and the practice of caring is what Alonzo Ferguson displays every day. This approach has made Ferguson a leader at Massey Services and has resulted in him becoming the PCT/BASF Residential Technician of the Year.
Originally hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, with a background in the medical, mortuary and ministry fields, Ferguson has been a residential technician for the past six years. Within the first three years, Ferguson became a certified pest technician as he learned how to properly serve customers. “It starts with listening to the customer’s concerns,” Ferguson says, “and then inspect, identify pest conditions, avenues, and sources, and treat the issues in an integrated way, rather than just using a ‘spray-and-go’ method.”
Currently working in the Windermere area of Florida, which is home to many affluent households, Ferguson readily accepts the challenge of satisfying all of his customers and his day-to-day first line contacts (property managers, home assistants, and housekeepers). “I go out every day with the mindset that the work that I do is not just for me,” Ferguson says. His passion is in providing total customer satisfaction and building “strong, long-term relationships with our customers.” Ferguson wants to help customers have “pest-free days” and “eliminate any pests that may be harmful to their home, their food or their health.”
Ferguson credits Massey Services for being a family-oriented company with a foundation in customer service, relationship-building and community. “We don’t just look at our customers as numbers. We look at everybody as family and we want to make a difference in the community,” he says.
As Dean Kreh, general manager of Massey’s Windermere Service Center, noted, “[Ferguson has] been very appreciative of Massey and the job that he has because it gives him the ability to help people and make a difference in other people’s lives. I think that is a big part of what drives him.”
A PERSONAL MOTTO. Ferguson brings a high level of service and motivation to the company and his team members. “I come in every day with the attitude that no matter what happens, that we’re going to have a great day here. We’re in the customer service business, and in spite of what’s happening at home or what’s happening in the world, we’re coming here to provide a service for the customer,” he says.
Ferguson describes himself as a positive, optimistic, comical and energetic person who enjoys motivating people. “I like to cheer people up and get them to think about the positive,” he says. “My greatest joy is knowing I made someone else happy or helped someone to have a better day.”
And, his direct supervisor, Kreh, agrees, saying he believes Ferguson’s energy and enthusiasm lends to his service mentality. “He is the type of person who wants to serve others. That’s just in his DNA,” says Kreh. Ferguson genuinely wants to help his customers. He helps his service center by motivating the technicians to take extra calls during busy times, and he helps his team by acting as an advocate with management, explains Kreh.
Ferguson goes above and beyond the normal call of duty, as well. He has helped retrieve customers’ dogs that have gotten loose, a little girl falling off of her bike, people in the community whose cars have broken down, and he saved a customer’s home from sustaining potential complete flooding damage. In that particular case, Ferguson had noticed kitchen flooding from outside of the home. He called the customer, who was out of town. They were able to have someone come to the house and assist with what ended up being a leak from an upper floor.
“It’s hard for Alonzo’s customers not to love him. You can always find him providing service to homes with a smile on his face. He is always checking in with his customers, whether it be for service or just to see how they are doing. His positive attitude and outgoing personality are one of the many reasons he receives so many complimentary reviews from his loyal customers,” said Darlene Williams, regional manager of the South Central Florida region, Massey Services.
COMMON THREADS. Two life-changing, pivotal events, as well as multiple roles in various forms of service occupations, led Ferguson to his pest control career. Ferguson admits that during high school he wanted to be a lawyer and “liked to watch the old ‘Perry Mason’ TV shows.” During his senior year at a party, the father of the host tragically died of a very sudden heart attack. After learning that if someone had known and been able to perform CPR that perhaps the man might have lived, Ferguson’s direction in life changed. “I always wanted to be in a position to help somebody, to care for someone, to comfort them,” he says, and he then enlisted in the U.S. Army as a medic for three years. That led to nursing school and becoming an LPN and EMT for 15 years.
In 1997, as a pedestrian crossing the street, Ferguson was struck by a drunk driver who ran a red light. “My leg had to be reconstructed because my tibia and fibula were both shattered. I have a lower knee replacement, two rods, and eight pins in my leg,” he says. This, too, was a life-changing experience, since after a year of physical rehab and recovering from the accident, Ferguson went into the ministry. “I am a licensed and ordained minister.” Through surviving the accident, Ferguson realized that ‘life is just so short, and that we need to get our lives together, change, do the right things, and live for Christ.’”
Although the theme of helping others remained constant, Ferguson decided to change vocations when a friend started his own funeral home. He took a “course in mortuary” sciences and obtained his mortuary certification. He also “went back to school to seminary and got a bachelor’s in divinity” to help with the funeral home, he explains. There, he worked as both a mortuary assistant by helping with embalming and greeting families, as well as in a ministry capacity by officiating funerals and being a grief counselor.
To help some pastor friends take leadership of a church, Ferguson and his family moved to Florida in 2013. At the first condo they rented, Ferguson met a Massey Services technician who was servicing the property. He learned of a job opening, applied and got the job. Per Ferguson, “I’ve always had a passion to help people. From being a nurse, and a paramedic, and working in the ministry and mortuary services, I believe that prepared me to help people [with] their pest problems. I just like to help people, give them comfort and peace, and solve their problems.”
A LOVE OF FAMILY. Married since 2003, Ferguson and his wife, Cynthia, have two children, 15-year-old Alonzo and 14-year-old Chelsea. He actively participates in his kids’ sporting activities, with his son’s basketball and his daughter’s basketball and track. Ferguson and his wife are part of a Christian marriage ministry where they help and mentor couples both inside and outside of the church. Of course, Ferguson enjoys “taking care of the ‘honey do’ list as soon as possible. I am just a family-oriented guy,” he says.
The author is a PCT contributing writer.