During its 26th Annual Meeting on Aug. 31, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) gave Tom Delaney its 2016 Grassroots Excellence Award for his outstanding leadership in grassroots development for RISE at the local and state levels. Pictured from left: Dan Stahl, RISE Governing Board immediate past chairman; Aaron Hobbs, RISE president; Tom Delaney, RISE 2016 Grassroots Excellence Award honoree; and Jonathan Sweat, RISE Governing Board chairman.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.—During the last week of August, 190 members and guests of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) attended the trade association’s 26th annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va.

Staying true to the spirit of Colonial Williamsburg and the 2016 election year, the meeting’s theme was Red, White & YOU: Revolutionary Pathways. Attendees were encouraged to share photos and posts to social media using the hashtags #redwhite YOU and #RISEam.

During the meeting, RISE Governing Board members and officers were appointed, longtime industry professional Tom Delaney was recognized as the 2016 RISE Grassroots Excellence Award honoree and RISE member volunteers were honored with the Strategic Driver Award.

“This year’s annual meeting marked the second year of performance on our five-year strategic plan 20/20 Vision,” said Aaron Hobbs, RISE president. “Our members’ enthusiasm is high and we had great engagement here in Williamsburg as we worked together to set objectives for 2017 and beyond. Our work ensures a vibrant future for our industry so we can continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions to solve people’s pest and plant health problems.”

NEW BOARD MEMBERS/OFFICERS. During the meeting, the RISE Governing Board appointed new members. Beginning their terms as officers are Jonathan Sweat, BASF Corporation, chairman; and Pramod Thota, FMC Corporation, vice chairman; while Darren Horst, Central Garden & Pet, will continue as treasurer.

Frank Bates, SiteOne Landscape Supply, and Paul Simons, Dow AgroSciences, are beginning three-year board terms. Completing their terms were James Guard, Monsanto Company; John Johnson, PROKoZ; and Dan Stahl, OHP, who finished his term as chairman and will now serve as immediate past chair. Others continuing their terms include:

  • Jeff Alvis, AMVAC Environmental Products
  • Donald Chew, PBI/Gordon Corporation
  • Bill Culpepper, SePRO Corporation
  • Gilles Galliou, Bayer
  • John Gertz, Primera
  • Frank Jusich, Central Life Sciences
  • Scott Reasons, Syngenta
  • John Smith, WinField Solutions

In his remarks as the new chairman, Sweat said, “As we amplify our voice in the conversation and build upon our successful advocacy model and strategic plan, we’re forging a revolutionary pathway for our industry.”

GRASSROOTS AWARD. RISE recognized Tom Delaney with the 2016 Grassroots Excellence Award for his leadership in grassroots development at local and state levels. RISE partnered with Delaney in 2006 in an effort to build a national grassroots network to address lawn care issues. He’s been a longtime member of the RISE Legislative Affairs Committee, and represents the industry on EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee. He recently retired after 27 years with the National Association of Lawn Care Professionals.

“Tom has been one of our industry’s most active grassroots builders and supporters, and he was always ready to engage the lawn care industry and help RISE reach lawn care operators across the country,” said Stahl.

The RISE Grassroots Excellence Award is presented annually to an individual, group or allied association that demonstrates outstanding efforts and contributions to furthering the mission, vision and goals of the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry with public policy and advocacy through grassroots engagement, RISE says.

RECOGNIZING RISE MEMBERS. The Strategic Driver Award recognizes RISE members for their work in advocacy, community building, investing for the future and organizational strength — the four drivers that make up the association’s five-year strategic plan. In addition to their professional jobs, these honorees volunteer on behalf of the entire industry.

Frank Wong, Bayer, was recognized for his grassroots engagement in Montgomery County, Md., with the Community Building Strategic Driver Award; the members of the association’s Communications Committee were awarded the Investing for the Future Strategic Driver for their work in attracting the next generation of engaged volunteers and refreshing the association’s brand.

The Strategic Driver Award for Organizational Strength was awarded to Karen Larson, Clarke, for her work with the Regulatory Affairs Committee; and the members of the Regulatory Affairs Committee were recognized with the Advocacy Strategic Driver Award for increasing EPA staff knowledge about pesticides and their work on the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) 4.

In addition to members being recognized, Karen Reardon, RISE vice president of public affairs, was acknowledged for her decade of service with the association. Prior to that, she was with CropLife America for 10 years.

NPMA Academy: Unlocking Millennials’ Potential

ORLANDO, Fla. — What makes millennials tick and why is it important to understand generational differences were major themes at NPMA Academy 2016, held in July in Orlando, Fla.

Featured speaker Jason Dorsey, president of the Austin, Texas-based Center for Generational Kinetics and a millennial expert, said it’s important for PCOs to understand this generation because they are your customer and employee of today and tomorrow…and they will be in big numbers.

“There are 80 million of us, with the oldest being 39 years old. The reason you are so sick of hearing about us is because you’ve been hearing about us for a very long time,” said Dorsey, who is a millennial, the generation born between 1977 and 1995.

Jason Dorsey

What about millennials as customers? It starts with their living situations. Because so many millennials are saddled with debt upon college graduation, many move back home — the “boomerang effect.” The end result is “delayed adulthood,” meaning that more millennials will push back marriage and kids until their early-to-mid 30s. When these parent-dependent adults do leave the nest, chances are they will ask their parents for referrals when it comes to choosing service providers — including pest control companies.

The other source millennials will use for finding pest control providers — and this comes as no surprise — is the Internet, particularly mobile devices. Two take-home messages from Dorsey were (1) have your websites mobilized with your phone number one click away; and (2) create a long list of FAQs and — even better — take the next step by turning those FAQs into short videos.

One good bit of news for PCOs when it comes to millennials as future customers, Dorsey noted, is that they really value their free time, so much so that they will pay for services such as lawn care and pest control, instead of trying to be do-it-yourselfers.

How about millennials as workers? How can PCOs attract and retain millennials now and in the future? Unlike other generations, money is NOT the sole factor millennials take into account when seeking a long-term employer. They want to be a part of a company that has a great vision and purpose beyond just turning profits. This is one reason why it’s important for pest control companies to (1) market their role as protectors of public health and property; and (2) publicize local community outreach efforts on blog postings, videos and perhaps even in job descriptions.

Paul Simons of Dow AgroSciences, the lead sponsor of NPMA Academy.

The importance of creating and promoting a vision was explored in greater depth the previous day at NPMA Academy by “Shifting Sands” author and speaker Steve Donahue, who illustrated how to tell an “epic story” by weaving in his experience hiking the Sahara Desert from north to south. Donahue drove home the point that fulfillment comes from the journey and not the destination. Your company will succeed, Donahue said, by going the extra mile to make positive differences in the lives of your employees and customers.

Donahue cited a survey by Calling Brands which uncovered that working for an organization with a clearly defined purpose is second only to pay and benefits in importance for employees, and ranks ahead of promotion opportunities, job responsibilities and work culture. KPMG, a big four accounting firm, is a company that took those findings to heart, Donahue noted. In 2015, the company launched the “10,000 Stories Challenge,” in which staff members created poster stories to highlight the positive impact of their work. Employees were incentivized with two extra paid days off at the end of the year if KPMG met its 10,000 stories goal by Thanksgiving. As it turned out KPMG reached that goal by July 4 and by Thanksgiving it had received more than 40,000 stories. How did this morale-boosting initiative help the company’s bottom line? KPMG surged 17 spots on the 2016 FORTUNE magazine 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

In addition to these and other presentations, NPMA Academy provided attendees with many opportunities for professional and business development, including team-building exercises and the annual Academy Olympics. NPMA Academy was lead-sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, with additional sponsorships from Bayer, Forshaw, Douglas Products, Syngenta and Zoëcon. — Brad Harbison

Industry Mourns Pete Schopen Sr.

Pete Schopen Sr. (left) and son Peter Schopen
MCHENRY, Ill. — The pest control industry mourns the loss of longtime industry veteran Pete Schopen Sr., who passed away Aug. 15 at the age of 69. The McHenry, Ill., entrepreneur had a two-year bout with leukemia, the family reported.

A former Orkin manager and Mid Central Pest Control owner, Schopen was an influential pest control owner/operator in the Northern Illinois market. After working for three years at Orkin and becoming a founding member of the company’s $100,000 sales club, Schopen left Orkin to start Mid Central in 1974. The Algonquin, Ill.-based company serviced thousands of clients throughout the Chicagoland area. At its highest point in 2005, Mid Central employed 25 and was about a $2 million operation.

Schopen had seven children, all of whom worked at his company at various times. His oldest son, Peter, is owner/operator of Schopen Pest Solutions.

Sweden’s Anticimex Group Acquires American Pest

FULTON, Md.—Anticimex Group, the world’s fourth-largest pest control company, in September announced its continued expansion into the U.S. with the acquisition of American Pest Management of Fulton, Md. American Pest provides pest management services to both commercial and residential customers in Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia. This follows Anticimex’s acquisition of Paramus, N.J.-based Bug Doctor earlier this year.

American Pest, founded in 1925, ranked #57 on this year’s PCT Top 100 List with $13 million in 2015 revenues.

Matt Nixon, CEO of American Pest, told PCT he was not actively looking to sell the business, but when he was approached by Anticimex earlier this year it was an opportunity too good to pass up. “It was a strategic sale on my part to become part of a bigger organization that has great potential. I look at it as an opportunity of a lifetime,” he said.

Nixon will continue as CEO for the immediate future and he will be involved in Anticimex’s future U.S. expansion plans. That Anticimex is buying American Pest as a platform company to grow its U.S. business was attractive to Nixon. “I thought it was the best decision for all shareholders in the company — our vendors, our employees, our customers and me,” he said.

Nixon said he was seeking a buyer that would “continue to invest in line with my vision. Anticimex and I share the same vision for the future, and I feel confident that American Pest will continue to thrive as part of Anticimex. I look forward to be part of the Anticimex team going forward.”

Jarl Dahlfors, CEO and president of Anticimex Group, said: “American Pest is a truly exceptional company that is well invested in people, quality and growth. Their culture of continuous improvement and passion for our industry provides an excellent cultural fit with Anticimex’s values of trust, innovation and passion. This transaction represents another step towards our vision to become the global leader in preventive pest control. We welcome Matt and his team onboard and look forward to working together with them as we continue to grow our business.”

AMVAC, BASF, Syngenta, Zoëcon Labels Added to PCT Training Site

VALLEY VIEW, Ohio — PCT’s Distance Learning Center continues to expand with the addition of the following label training modules: Nuvan Fog 2EC from AMVAC; BASF’s Termidor 80 WG Termiticide/Insecticide, pest control uses; Termidor Dry; Termidor Dry California; Termidor Foam; and Termidor NY; Syngenta’s Advion Cockroach Gel Bait; and Zoëcon’s 2625 Premise Spray.

Label training modules are the centerpiece of PCT’s Distance Learning Center — a free service for the professional pest control market.

Created by Board Certified Entomologist and consultant Stoy Hedges, the courses use photographs, video clips and reference materials to challenge users’ knowledge, experience and problem-solving skills for a wide range of products and pest problems.

Accessible by PC, tablet or smartphone, Distance Learning Center training is presented in modules designed to take a half-hour to an hour to complete.

Each label course is designed around reading and interpreting a specific pesticide product label, covering all aspects of the label — from trade name, target pests, hazards and first aid to areas for treatment and directions for use.

Visit https://training.pctonline.com to learn more.

Formosan Termites Spreading Throughout North Florida

Bug Out Service termite experts Curtis Rand (left) and David Hicks (right).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Earlier this summer, pest control companies in the Jacksonville, Fla., area — with confirmation from county extension agents — were reporting findings of Formosan termites.

In June, pest control firms found Formosans at nine more locations in the Riverside area of Jacksonville, according to a horticulture agent for Duval County. Also in June, a major infestation of Formosan termites forced the demolition of a 90-year-old building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These and other Formosan termite discoveries led Jacksonville to convene a Formosan Termite Task Force.

Curtis Rand, regional VP of Jacksonville-based Bug Out Service, a brand of Environmental Pest Service, said in the last year Bug Out treated five to 10 cases of Formosans out of the 1,100 to 1,200 cases of active termites. “Over the last 24 months, we’ve seen a significant increase in their presence. They’re now a major concern in Jacksonville, and they’re a tremendous concern in the Florida Panhandle.”

Rand said a more active real estate market might be the culprit. “People are building in areas that may have had established termite colonies. You remove a food source, then put another food source in the form of a house on top of it. We’re finding termites in one- and two-year-old homes.”

What makes Formosan termites difficult to control? Bug Out branch manager David Hicks, who was PCT’s 2012 Termite Technician of the Year, cited “colony size of thousands upon thousands,” adding that “with so many more mouths to feed, they can cause damage a lot faster.”

Other important differences include Formosan termite alates being rusty in color and hairy, while Eastern subterranean termite alates are black in color. Plus, Formosan termite soldiers are more aggressive in defending the colony, Hicks said. “The main thing is, Formosans will create what’s called a ‘carton nest’ as a way to bring moisture above ground. It’s like a mobile home up in an attic or in different areas of the house where they can actually live without contact with the soil. You have to be thorough to find those nests and treat them.”

Hicks has seen Formosan termite destruction first-hand, recalling a house that had its entire back wall damaged. “There was a swarm of tens of thousands of termite — the most I’ve ever seen in a termite swarm in all my years. The kitchen table and dining room floor were covered in them. When we pulled the paneling off the wall, the studs were eaten up and we found two carton nests back there.” — Brad Harbison