KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The pest control industry is mourning the loss of Linden Griffin Jr., second-generation owner of Griffin Pest Solutions, a company his father founded in 1929. Griffin, who served as NPMA president from 1992-93, lost his battle to cancer on April 11. He was 72.
Born Feb. 23, 1944, in Detroit, Mich., Griffin moved with his family to Galesburg, Mich., when his father relocated the company.
Griffin was a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1966-68. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in marketing after his service.
Griffin bought the business from his father in 1974 and grew it to 50 technicians. As busy as Griffin was with building his business, he also made time for his other interests and hobbies, including skiing, hunting and fishing.
Griffin also devoted his time to numerous civic works like Rotary, the YMCA, Family & Children’s Services and his church. He believed in giving back to the industry that gave him so much, serving at both the state and national association level in various capacities. Griffin also was involved in another industry group, Associated Pest Services, for many years. He credited his success to networking with so many wonderful people in the pest control industry. Griffin said he believed there was no better group of people in the world and he was honored to know them and be part of their family.
Griffin is survived by his wife, Joyce Griffin; his stepchildren, Jeff and Eva Spencer, Kevin and Wendy Mazer, and Susan Mazer; and grandchildren Mallory Mazer, Taylor Mazer, Trent Mazer, Travis Mazer, Tate Mazer and Madison Mazer.
Harold Leyse, Co-Founder of Adam’s Pest Control, Passes Away
MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — The pest control industry is mourning the loss of Adam’s Pest Control co-founder Harold Leyse, who died on April 3. He was 78.
Born June 29, 1937, in Maynard, Minn., Leyse grew up in Granite Falls, Minn., where he was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball). He attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Army.
After a two-year stint at a General Electric warehouse, Leyse was introduced to the pest control industry by a former college roommate, who worked for Lystad’s, a well-known regional pest control firm that was eventually sold to Ecolab. From 1963 to 1970, Leyse worked for Lystad’s. On Jan. 1, 1971, Leyse, along with fellow Lystad employee Don Hanson, launched Adam’s Pest Control.
Adam’s Pest Control, based in Medina, Minn., has become one of the pest control industry’s true success stories, having grown every year for the past 45 years. The company is now run by Harold’s son, Todd Leyse, who joined the firm in 1996 and is now president, and daughter Andrea (Leyse) Guy, administrative division manager.
Todd Leyse credits his dad’s strong work ethic, something he and sister Andrea emulate, for the company’s success. “My mom said that she knew the business was not going to fail because if my dad had to get through a brick wall, he’d go through it by hand, brick by brick, if that’s what it took. That’s the sign of a classic entrepreneur,” he told PCT.
Harold Leyse also had a knack for connecting with people — coworkers, customers and industry colleagues alike — using humor. (PCT dubbed Leyse “Minnesota’s Crown Prince of Comedy” in his 1993 PCT Crown Leadership Award profile). After delivering a few one-liners during a Minnesota Pest Re-Certification Conference, an associate approached him during a break and recommended that he contact illustrator Cliff Johnson to put his humor down on paper in the form of cartoons. The two partnered to create a series of paperback cartoon books called Pest Jests, and in 2011 these cartoons were compiled into one expansive book, The Best of Pest Jests.
Harold Leyse is survived by Todd Leyse, Andrea (Leyse) Guy and six grandchildren.
In Memoriam: Terminix Service’s Ed Martin
METAIRIE, La. — Ed Martin, the long-time president of Metairie. La.-based Terminix Service Co., died of a heart attack on April 6. He was 80.
A 58-year veteran of the pest control industry, Martin purchased the Terminix office in the early 1960s and grew it from a six-person, three-vehicle business to a $13 million-plus operation, with 140 employees in four offices throughout southeastern Louisiana.
Martin was well respected by industry colleagues, including the research and manufacturer communities, for his work performing important field tests on termiticide candidates under experimental use permits (EUPs). He was a valued industry advocate who was interviewed by large newspapers (e.g., The New York Times), national magazines and cable news programs. For these and other industry contributions Martin was recognized by PCT magazine as its 2000 Professional of the Year. PCT and Syngenta also recognized Martin as a 1996 Crown Leadership Award honoree.
“What made Ed a successful owner was that he was very much a people person and he was loyal to his employees,” said Vincent Palumbo, co-owner of Terminix Service with Martin since 1994. “As a researcher he was always thorough and open-minded to discovering what really works and following through his research to a conclusion.”
A New Orleans native, Martin came to Terminix in 1960 after graduating from Louisiana State University with a BS in entomology. At the time, the business offered only termite services; Martin oversaw the opening of the pest control division. After two years, Martin took out a small loan and purchased the company.
Even while he was busy leading a growing company, Martin was involved in finding termite control solutions, in particular, identifying new methods to combat Formosan termites, which were wreaking havoc throughout New Orleans. For example, in the 1970s, Martin developed a method to combat Formosan termite infestations by combining fumigation with soil treatments.
In 1994, Palumbo merged his business, VP Exterminators, with Terminix. Palumbo will continue to run the business along with Martin’s grandson, Joseph Martin, who is finishing his master’s degree in entomology from LSU.
Martin is survived by Loretta, his wife of 57 years. — Brad Harbison
Industry Mourns Loss of Dempsey Sapp Sr.NEW RIVER, Fla.
— Dempsey Sapp Sr., 94, founder and chairman of the board of Florida Pest Control & Chemical Company, Gainesville, Fla., passed away on March 25.
A WWII veteran and University of Florida graduate, Sapp started Florida Pest Control & Chemical Company in Gainesville, Fla., in 1949, upon graduating from the University of Florida (UF). Since that time, the company has grown into one of the largest pest control companies in Florida.
Sapp was a strong supporter of UF entomology and nematology programs, including the establishment in 1999 of a $1 million endowed distinguished professorship in urban and structural pest control. The endowment supports the work of Phil Koehler, a professor of entomology who oversees UF’s Urban Pest Management Laboratory. In 2000, the Florida Pest Management Association honored Sapp with its first-ever Pioneer Award. In 1997, Sapp received the PCT Crown Leadership Award from PCT and Syngenta.
Upon retirement, Sapp served as chairman of the board for the company. His son, D.R. Sapp Jr., is president and chief executive officer of the firm.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Margie Beckham Sapp.
Dr. Susan Jones Presented with Tom Evans Award
CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Pest Control Association (GCPCA) recognized Ohio State University Entomology Professor Dr. Susan Jones with the Tom Evans Award at the association’s annual awards banquet in April.
The Tom Evans Award is presented annually to individuals or groups who have made sacrifices of their time, energy and talent for the good of the pest control industry, and is named after the late Tom Evans, long-time president of Southern Mill Creek Products, which was acquired by Univar in 2010.
In addition to being one of the pest control industry’s foremost authorities on termites and bed bugs, Jones is well respected by pest management professionals in the Buckeye State for her willingness to answer questions, provide educational resources and to work with elected officials who influence public policy. Jones also has been instrumental in the development of joint bed bug task forces in Ohio’s major metropolitan areas (Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland).
Ohio pest management professionals, in turn, have provided Jones and her department with important field tests and assisted whenever called upon. In accepting the award, Jones said, “Every time I go out with a pest control company I learn something and that is my lifelong goal — to keep learning.”
GCPCA also made a $2,000 donation to the Dr. Susan Jones Urban Entomology Program. — Brad Harbison
Professional Pest Management Alliance Launches New Pestworld.Org
FAIRFAX, Va. — The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the consumer education and public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), announced the launch of its newly redesigned website, www.pestworld.org. The site provides users with a more individualized experience as they search for information on pests, PPMA says.
“Pestworld.org now features a localized homepage, whereby different pest-related content will be served based on the user’s geographic location,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. “The goal is to give visitors a personalized experience and to serve up content that is relevant to them, displaying active pests in their area and with additional content based on local pest pressure.”
PestWorld.org, which received more than 2.7 million unique consumer visits in 2015, boasts a modern layout with toggle menu navigation. Other improvements include new page templates and a separate section focused entirely on commercial pest control.
The new site was built with a responsive design to work across all devices, seamlessly translating from desktop and laptop to tablet and smartphone. It includes a more robust search function and visual Pest Guide, in addition to a revamped ZIP Code Locator.
“This site and all of the consumer marketing and education programs conducted by PPMA are funded solely through the generous and voluntary investments of pest control companies, suppliers and other industry stakeholders,” said Mannes. “Our ZIP Code Locator acknowledges the support of these companies.”
In addition to the new look and feel of the site, there are more bells and whistles in the content management system to improve both speed and stability, while also allowing more control in customizing content and gathering better analytics.
Allergy Technologies Announces Launch of New Website
AMBLER, Pa. — Allergy Technologies, makers of ActiveGuard Mattress Liners, recently launched a new website, www.hotelbedbugprevention.com, which includes a specific Hotel Learning Center. Allergy Technologies says the new website has been specifically designed to provide a unique learning experience filled with extensive resources directed toward hoteliers regarding bed bugs. The company says hoteliers are encouraged to work alongside their chosen pest professionals in using ActiveGuard as the centerpiece in a preventive control program, as well as in active remediative strategies, the firm says.
The site includes extensive product information to help hotel customers understand how ActiveGuard Mattress Liners offer a solution to bed bug problems. Created with the hotelier in mind, the website has been designed to help educate the layperson on bed bugs, Allergy Technologies says. The site includes extensive product information as well as a hotel savings calculator; informative videos featuring top university entomologists; testimonials from some of the country’s leading hoteliers; and a variety of lab, case and field studies. Hoteliers are being invited to use the site to stay up to date on the bed bug problem in the hospitality industry across the United States, Allergy Technologies says. Hoteliers also will be encouraged to subscribe to the quarterly hotel newsletter, “The Hotel Bed Bug Authority,” and be informed about upcoming webinars from guest speakers to include: bed bug litigators, leading industry pest professionals, university researchers, Ph.D. entomologists and more.