© David Sucsy | iStock
The famed San Antonio Riverwalk offers numerous restaurant and entertainment options for UPFDA Spring Conference attendees.

A small but mighty group of industry professionals come together annually at the UPFDA Spring Conference to address key issues impacting the pest management industry’s supply chain, manufacturers and distributors responsible for supplying the industry with the products it needs to perform high-quality pest management services.

Last year, UPFDA looked back with affection on its 50-year past with a Golden Anniversary Gala that drew record attendance at the historic Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, creating a whole new set of memories for those fortunate enough to attend the event. This year, the organization will look to its future, hoping to strengthen its position as the voice of the manufacturing and distributor community in a rapidly changing business environment.

Approximately 100 industry professionals are expected to travel to the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, to identify the key trends likely to impact their businesses in the coming years, while also taking some time to network and socialize with one another in one of America’s great cities.

“Our attendees look forward to networking at the UPFDA Spring Conference in an environment conducive to developing business relationships,” says Executive Director Valera Jessee. “The crowd is smaller than most other pest management meetings so attendees have an opportunity to rub shoulders and become acquainted with company leaders from diverse geographic locations and businesses.”


The two-day meeting, April 23-24, features a wide array of speakers, from Washington, D.C., insiders who will provide insights about the legislative and regulatory landscape in our nation’s capital, to veteran journalists who collectively have been covering the industry for more than 60 years.

Kicking off this year’s program is David Crow, founder of D.C. Legislative and Regulatory Services, a full-service government relations practice that specializes in a number of policy areas including pesticides and fertilizers, water policy and small business. Crow, a former Naval Reserve Officer and graduate of the University of Maryland, will discuss “Another Year in the Age of Trump: What Does It Mean for the Pest Control Industry?”

Following Crow on the program is this year’s Keynote Speaker, Eric Maddox, a true American hero who served in the U.S. Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency for more than 20 years before retiring in 2014.

Maddox is a much sought-after speaker and author of the book, “Mission: Black List #1 — The Inside Story of the Search for Saddam Hussein as Told by the Soldier Who Masterminded His Capture.”

In 2003, three months after U.S. forces invaded Iraq, Maddox received unexpected orders to report to the Baghdad International Airport. There he was assigned to a Delta Force Special Operations team that was responsible for tracking down the most wanted man in the world, the so-called “Ace of Spades,” the top card in the U.S. military’s deck of cards, Saddam Hussein.

During his six-month tour with the Delta Force team, Maddox conducted more than 300 interrogations and collected the intelligence which led directly to the capture of the Iraqi dictator. For his role in capturing Saddam Hussein, Maddox was awarded the Legion of Merit, National Intelligence Medal of Achievement and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Director’s Award.

In his session, “Using Negotiations to Build Trust,” Maddox will share his insights about the art of questioning, negotiations and information gathering, all skills necessary to manage a successful business. In addition to enhancing your leadership abilities, Maddox’s story will inspire your organization to take immediate action and pursue calculated risks in the pursuit of excellence.


Rounding out this year’s program will be presentations by Chris Gorecki, vice president of operational support at Rollins and incoming NPMA president, who will discuss “Legislative Affairs, Washington Insights and the NPMA”; Marty Whitford, publisher of Pest Management Professional magazine, who will share “What Pest Control Pros Need Most from their Distributor Partners and the Solutions They Sell”; and Dan Moreland, publisher of Pest Control Technology magazine, who will discuss the “Keys to Surviving and Thriving During an Era of Industry Consolidation and Digital Transformation.”

Attendees also will enjoy a reception and an entertaining program presented by the West Haven Academy of Karate in New Braunfels, Texas, at the final night banquet as this high- energy group shares the ancient discipline of Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean martial art, with attendees. West Haven Academy is led by Brett Riley, brother of UPFDA President Scott Riley.

In building this year’s program, Riley said the organization wanted to create something that “adds value for each attendee beyond the networking and social opportunities” traditionally present at the event. “I wanted to see speakers who added areas of personal and professional growth that our members wouldn’t see anywhere else,” he said. “I feel this year we have accomplished that and everyone will be glad they attended.”

Also new to this year’s program is a golf outing at the Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club, ranked in the Top 25 Southern U.S. golf resorts by Condé Nast Traveler. The club is a sister property of the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk. Cost is $120 per person.

Speaking of the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk, the upscale hotel is in the heart of San Antonio’s entertainment district and only a short walk from the Alamo.


Jessee said UPFDA selected the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk because “we wanted our members to have the opportunity to relax and find interesting restaurants and sites to enjoy during their travels.”

Cost of registration for the UPFDA Spring Conference is $445 per person (excluding golf). UPFDA also offers a Tuesday-only reception registration for $175 per person, a package particularly well suited for member companies that are hosting sales meetings in conjunction with the conference. “Take an opportunity to bring your sales staff to our reception,” says Jessee.

“Through the sessions and speakers at our Spring Conference, UPFDA looks for opportunities to upgrade our members’ knowledge and skills so that we are all better able to take on any challenge we may face and continue to make the industry strong together,” Riley says.

To register for the conference, visit www.upfda.com or contact Valera Jessee at 770/965-6972, valerajessee29@gmail.com. To secure the UPFDA conference room rate at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk, contact the hotel directly at 210/222-1234 and use the code G-UPFD. The deadline for hotel reservations at the special conference rate is April 1.