Jay Bruesch, who for 37 years helped train service technicians and keep Plunkett’s Pest Control updated on trends and technology, has retired.
In reflecting on the many contributions Bruesch made to Plunkett’s, owner Stacy O’Reilly noted, “Jay was for Plunkett’s, a creative teacher, relatable for our technicians, empathetic to the real challenges our technicians face, hard-working, always listening, learning, reading and finding ways to help our team solve challenging problems well.”
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a BA in German literature, Bruesch’s first teaching experience came in a classroom, teaching middle school in Eden Prairie, Wis. Needing a summer job, he asked his brother Ted, who at the time was working for Wil-Kil Pest Control (and recently retired from Liphatech), about working in pest control. Ted introduced his brother to Plunkett’s Pest Control and then-owner John O’Reilly, who eventually hired Jay as a service technician.
After trying his hand at service technician and supervisor, Bruesch found his true calling as a trainer/educator, with responsibilities for initial and ongoing technician training. This included updating and adding to the company’s technician field reference manual, which was originally written for Copesan partners by Austin Frishman in the 1970s. Bruesch also made his mark by developing and putting on continuing education events for service professionals interested in learning beyond the basics to help them do their job better. As Stacy O’Reilly said, “Jay respected what the technicians’ already knew and worked hard to bring new approaches and interesting ways to teach. Jay never took the easy shortcut of just lecturing to people.”
As a way to thank Bruesch for his contributions, Plunkett’s made him the fifth employee to have his number (5) retired. His number 5 jersey now hangs at the company’s headquarters in Fridley, Minn. “Each person brought to Plunkett’s not only a career of dedication but served our staff and our clients that helped transform Plunkett’s as a company into something we might never have become but for their excellence,” O’Reilly added. “Jay’s unquestioned respect and confidence that we could train all employees to serve the most complex of clients equally well set the standard for Plunkett’s technicians’ excellence.”
The idea to retire the number of important Plunkett’s contributors was created to recognize Dick Czech, a Plunkett’s service technician who saved and revived the company’s residential program. Tiring of the hassles associated with residential pest control, John O’Reilly was planning to exit residential and concentrate solely on commercial. Czech asked O’Reilly to give him one summer to prove this was a business segment worth keeping. Through Czech’s personal connections with clients, he built an entire route in one little Minnesota suburb that summer. Today, Plunkett’s residential business accounts for $10 million in yearly revenues. — Brad Harbison