In covering the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the pest control industry, PCT has examined the issue from business and technical perspectives. We’ve explored how pest control companies are reinventing their business models and how pests (e.g., rodents) are changing their behavior. It’s been a long couple months for PCOs; we empathize with your plight and are holding good thoughts for a return to some sense of normalcy.
Our staff also has been heartened by hearing about PCO outreach efforts. For example, the New England Pest Management Association, under the leadership of President Galvin Murphy, Jr., recently donated time, money and pest control services to support charities in inner-city Boston. And we’ve heard countless other stories of PCOs and associations providing pro bono services, making masks, donating food, etc.
One industry professional spreading cheer every morning is PCO turned speaker/consultant Hal Coleman (www.halcoleman.com and www.pestcontrolmarketingpodcast.com). Every morning Hal has been posting a new country/rock/folk song on his Facebook page. “I decided I would add a new song every morning for 30 days, and if I got a good response I would keep adding more. I kinda got the idea from my wife, who said, ‘Have you seen those videos Keith Urban is doing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I could do that, but you need to dance across the room like Nicole Kidman,’” Coleman recalled with a wink. Thus far, he’s covered everybody from Merle Haggard and Kenny Rogers to John Fogerty and Bob Dylan.
While many in the pest control industry know Coleman as the colorful, curly, white-haired consultant whose pest control career includes time spent as a regulator and owner/operator, they may not know he is an accomplished singer/songwriter. When he was first starting out in pest control, working as a regulator for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Coleman also composed songs. His claim to fame is having co-written (with friend and musician Barry Etris) the novelty song “The Bird,” which was recorded by Jerry Reed and reached #2 on Billboard’s Top 100 Country Singles in 1982. The song tells the story of a talking bird with the ability to impersonate famed country singers Willie Nelson and George Jones.
“I went to Nashville and recorded the song and it came out really well,” Coleman recalled. “I thought I would be a recording artist with a hit. A couple days later [a recording studio rep] called me up and said, ‘Jerry Reed is recording a record down in Muscle Shoals (Ala.). We played it for him, and he loved it. He said he wanted to record it for his album.”
Understandably, Coleman sold the song’s rights. He also sang the bird part on the album. Fun fact: Coleman was able to secure a $5,000 car loan by putting the song up for collateral. In addition to “The Bird,” a pair of Coleman co-penned songs were hits for The Burch Sisters (“Every Time You Go Outside I Hope It Rains”) and Ray Stevens (“If Ten Percent Is Good Enough For Jesus”).
Despite these successes, Coleman decided not to pursue songwriting full time. With family and other commitments in the Atlanta area, Coleman decided not to relocate and try to make a go of it in Nashville. However, he’s stayed connected with music and he’s rediscovered his love for playing via his Facebook postings. This got him to thinking about a silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown. “People are doing all sorts of things they would not have gotten around to doing, like remodeling their lawns; building porches; making masks to give to their communities,” he said. “I am a prime example of that; If it wasn’t for the lockdown, I wouldn’t have picked up my guitar and made videos for Facebook.” Check out Coleman’s music videos at https://www.facebook.com/halcoleman.