ATLANTA — R. Randall Rollins, Rollins Inc.’s chairman of the board, died on Aug. 17. He was 88. Long-standing Board Members Gary W. Rollins, vice chairman, and Henry B. Tippie, lead director, will continue in their respective leadership roles until succession plans are announced, the company said.
“The loss of Randall is felt profoundly, not only by our family, his friends and me, but also by generations of Rollins’ employees and colleagues who had the privilege of knowing him during his over 70 years of devotion to the Rollins companies,” said Gary W. Rollins, vice chairman and CEO of the firm. “He exemplified the principles of integrity, innovation and dedication instilled by our father O. Wayne Rollins, who co-founded the company with his brother, John.”
“Randall’s deep sense of loyalty and appreciation of our valued employees and our businesses will be missed,” said Gary W. Rollins. “His strong moral compass and expansive business knowledge allowed him to steer many successful public and private companies in a variety of industries. He was always willing to consider something new, and if he became involved, he was determined to leave it better than he found it.”
Following high school, Rollins received an early business education while working for his uncle, John W. Rollins and his father, O. Wayne Rollins in their various start-up businesses in Delaware. Rollins later enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Immediately following his military service, he married the former Peggy Hastings and resumed his business career working for his uncle at Rollins Leasing and his father at Rollins Broadcasting, both located in Wilmington, Del.
In 1984, Rollins Inc. split into three separate public companies: Rollins Inc. (pest control), Rollins Communications (broadcasting and outdoor advertising) and RPC Energy Services (oil and gas services). Rollins became the president and chief operating officer of Rollins Communications as well as the chairman of the board, CEO and president of RPC Energy Services. Following the death of his father in 1991, he became the chairman of the board of Rollins Inc.
Through his philanthropic efforts and participation on many boards of trustees, Rollins valued education, even though he never acquired a college degree. He was deeply honored and humbled to accept the honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Emory University in May 2015.
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In Memoriam: Willie Payne
SAN DIEGO — Willie Payne, who founded Payne Pest Management in 2006, passed away on Aug. 3. He was 72.
After time spent in the U.S. Army and working for a grocery store, Payne joined Terminix and by 1989 he entered Terminix’s management training program. He would go on to become Terminix’s top-performing sales supervisor in the Los Angeles region. One of his colleagues at Terminix, Wayne Golden, told PCT that Payne’s personality was the key to his success. “He had that smile. Everyone enjoyed being around him and trusted that he would sell them the right services,” Golden recalled. “I think that is what made him such a wonderful salesperson, and what helped his company succeed.”
In 2006, after nearly 30 years as a top-performing sales professional/sales supervisor at Terminix, Payne launched Payne Pest Management. Working alongside wife Kathy and son Jason, he built Payne Pest Management into one of the largest pest control businesses in California, ranking #100 on the PCT Top 100.
Jason Payne, president of Payne Pest Management, recalled one his dad’s favorite sayings. “My father always quoted the six Ps of success: Prior Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. He always would want us to be prepared no matter what was thrown our way.”
More than being just a business owner, Willie Payne was a mentor to many and was active in his community. He chaired the Permission to Talk Foundation, which educates men on health issues such as the importance of getting screened for diabetes and checked for prostate cancer. He also supported the philanthropic efforts of Tayari Howard, owner of radio station KKSD. Howard teaches radio classes to underprivileged, minority children and also serves as a mentor. Payne financed studio equipment for the classes and helped with other financial considerations.
The Payne family asked that any donation in Willie Payne’s name be made to the Permission to Talk Foundation.
In Memoriam: Scott Phillips
ST. LOUIS — Scott Phillips, founder of Blue Chip Pest Services, St. Louis, Mo., passed away on July 28. He was 77.
A second-generation PCO, Phillips founded Blue Chip Pest Services in 1971, and grew it to a $5.8 million business, ranking #97 on the PCT Top 100. The business is currently run by his two children, Kim and Jeff.
Phillips was trained as a doctor of chiropractic medicine, but soon after his graduation was drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam war, where he served as a combat medic stationed at an air evacuation hospital near the frontlines in 1967-68.
After the war, Phillips, who had worked with at father’s pest control business (Phillips Termite Control), decided that he did not want to practice medicine. Instead, in 1971 he founded Blue Chip Pest Services with Pat, his wife of 45 years.
Jeff Phillips recalled that one his dad’s trademark sayings was, “Those who work the hardest get the luckiest.” He said this phrase “signifies how hard he and my mom worked to establish the business.”
An active member of the pest control community, Phillips served as president of local and state pest control associations, as well as on the NPMA board of directors. He was also a founding member of the U Group, a pest control roundtable, and was a participating member for more than 20 years.
Phillips also was an active member of the community with an emphasis on helping veterans through such groups as the American Legion and VFW. He was also an active member of the Rotary, and was a Jaycee Senator.
Donations in Phillips’s memory can be made to the Fishher House Foundation, which helps the families of veterans who are staying at VA hospitals.
Washington Traps First Asian Giant Hornet
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) trapped its first Asian giant hornet in August.
The hornet was found in a WSDA trap set near Birch Bay in Whatcom County. WSDA trappers checked the bottle trap on July 14 and submitted the contents for processing at WSDA’s entomology lab. The hornet was identified during processing on July 29. This was the first hornet to be detected in a trap, rather than found in the environment as the state’s five previous confirmed sightings were.
“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department said. “But it also means we have work to do.”
WSDA’s next steps are to search for nests using infrared cameras and place additional traps in order to catch live specimens. WSDA Pest Program staff will deploy special traps intended to trap hornets but keep them alive. If they catch live hornets, the department will attempt to tag and track them back to their colony. Once located, the agency will eradicate the colony.
WSDA says it hopes to find and destroy the nest by mid-September before the colony would begin creating new reproducing queens and drones. Destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent the spread of this invasive pest, the association says.
Viking Acquires ChemTec Pest Control
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Viking Pest Control, an Anticimex company, announced the acquisition of ChemTec Pest Control of Saddle Brook, N.J.
ChemTec Pest Control has provided residential and commercial services in Northern New Jersey since 1931. ChemTec is known as an environmentally responsible pest control provider delivering outstanding customer-friendly service to the region, the company said.
Paul Bergmann, president of Viking, said, “Acquiring ChemTec is an important step in increasing our growth and expanding our customer footprint in the Northern part of our service territory. Partnering with pest control providers like ChemTec solidifies Viking as the leading pest control provider in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware region.”
Mary Vongass, president of ChemTec, added, “The partnership with Viking Pest Control is good news for our customers and employees. With Viking offering customers the most innovative pest control solutions like SMART, everyone will enjoy the best and most advanced products, methods and services on the market. We look forward to combining our experienced teams and the opportunities ahead.”
LR Tullius represented and acted as exclusive financial adviser to ChemTec Pest Control on the transaction.
Kness Announces Leadership Transition
ALBIA, Iowa — Kness Pest Defense announced the transition of leadership roles within the company. On July 30, Kathy Kness-Wauson officially retired from the day-to-day operational responsibilities as president of Kness Pest Defense after leading the company for 34 years. On the same day, the board appointed Kness General Manager Dan Crew to oversee the company’s operations. This shift represents the first time in the company’s 96-year history that a non-Kness family member has been selected to direct Kness Pest Defense.
“This transition is a significant step for the company moving forward,” said Kathy Kness-Wauson. “While it’s a changing of the guard, per se, the company’s day-to-day operations will continue being led by someone who holds the company’s Midwest values and commitment to excellence that has propelled Kness to being the industry standard when it comes to pest control products. And that someone is Dan Crew.”
Kness-Wauson will continue to serve as president of the company and its board of directors. Crew has been involved with overseeing daily operations of manufacturing while creating and implementing strategies for growing the company over the last year as general manager.
“It is a great privilege and honor to be selected to take up the mantle for daily operations,” said Crew. “I stand committed to pushing the envelope of what Kness is capable of producing when it comes to creating top-tier pest solutions for all of our customers while reinforcing the company’s welcoming culture of compassion, motivation, and respect.”
Along with his time at Kness Pest Defense, Crew brings 31 years of manufacturing experience.
Bill Blasingame Sr. Celebrating 70 Years in Pest Control
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — Bill Blasingame Sr., a legendary entomologist and trainer who has been involved in the structural pest control industry for 70 years, turned 96 in August.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Blasingame first became involved in the industry in 1950 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in entomology. Throughout the last 70 years, he has served as a regulatory official, an industry trainer and a consultant.
After graduating college, Blasingame immediately began working as assistant state entomologist with the University of Georgia Department of Entomology, where he later served as the state entomologist from 1955 to 1964. In 1964, Blasingame resigned from the position to join Getz Services, one of the South’s oldest pest control companies. At Getz, Blasingame worked as vice president for 10 years until he became director of Stephenson Services, a division of Stephenson Chemical Company, in 1974 (now a part of Veseris).
In addition to his noteworthy positions in the industry, Blasingame was the first chairman of the Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission, which he served on until 1964. There he helped to pass the Georgia Structural Pest Control Act in 1955. In his additional role as director of the entomology division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Blasingame was responsible for the enforcement of this law. In addition to his birthday and 70th year in the industry, this year Blasingame celebrates 65 years since the first commission meeting and since the passing of the Georgia Structural Pest Control Act.
The Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission is not the only organization Blasingame served on. The industry legend has also served as president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the Georgia Pest Control Association (GPCA). He also served as president or chairman of the Georgia Entomological Society, Georgia Council of Entomology, Georgia Plant Pathology Association, Southern Plant Board and Pi Chi Omega. He was also one of the organizers of the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials, on which he served one term as chairman.
Blasingame now serves as technical adviser for Blasingame Pest Management, which is owned by his son Billy Blasingame Jr. The elder Blasingame has trained tens of thousands of pest management professionals throughout his 70 years in the industry.
To send Blasingame a birthday card or to congratulate him on 70 years in the industry, contact him at 195 Evergreen Terrace, Apartment 113, Stockbridge, GA 30281. Or, email PCT at email@example.com. — Erin Ross
Keith Smith Leaves Action Pest Control
EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Keith Smith, who spent the last 12 years as COO of Action Pest Control (a part of TruGreen), left the Evansville, Ind.-based business on July 24. Smith told PCT he is taking at least one year off from pest control to work on his commercial boat leasing business.
Smith had been overseeing the daily operations of Action — which has seven branch locations throughout south and central Indiana, southeastern Illinois and Kentucky — since the firm was sold to Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., in 2015. Following the sale, Action operated as part of Scotts LawnService, and then as a part TruGreen, which purchased Scotts LawnService (including Action), in 2016.
In addition to working for Action, Smith owned Smith Commercial Boat Leasing. Recent developments in Kentucky influenced Smith’s decision to leave Action, he said. In December, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) secured $25 million to help fight Asian carp in Western Kentucky.
Smith told PCT that he and his fleet will be participating in the program by leasing his fleet of boats; the program involves catching and killing the damaging Asian carp. “It’s a lucrative deal that can be one-year, or a two-year deal, but I won’t rule out a return to the pest control industry,” Smith said.
Smith joined Action Pest Control in 2008 after holding various management positions in the pest control industry. Prior to that he worked in the domestic caviar business; he retained the fleet of boats used in that business and was leasing them to others.
While at Action Pest Control, Smith helped Action and CEO Kevin Pass build the firm from a $4.9 million company to one that was about $13 million at the time of the sale to Scotts.
Smith is also president of the Kentucky Pest Management Association, a position he said he plans on retaining, at least for the time being.
PCT reached out to TruGreen; they did not immediately respond to interview requests. — Brad Harbison
New Mexico Man Dies of Plague, NMDOH Reports
Santa Fe, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reported the death of a man in his 20s from Rio Arriba County of septicemic plague, the first human plague death in New Mexico this year, and the second human plague case overall.
The Rio Arriba County man died after being hospitalized. An environmental investigation will take place at the person’s home to look for ongoing risk to immediate family members, neighbors and others in the surrounding community.
“Plague activity in New Mexico is usually highest during the summer months, so it is especially important now to take precautions to avoid rodents and their fleas which can expose you to plague.” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel. Source: NMDOH
ServiceMaster Launches New Anti-Microbial Service
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — ServiceMaster Brands has entered into an exclusive agreement with Goldshield Technologies, maker of proprietary antiseptic and anti-microbial products that actively kill microorganisms on surfaces for up to 90 days. This new service offering will be available to all 1,200 ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Clean franchises nationwide.
Goldshield products are EPA approved for a wide variety of applications, including hospitals, daycares, schools, senior-living facilities, gyms, salons and restaurants. “With the addition of Goldshield products, ServiceMaster introduces an important advancement in the fight against bacteria and infectious diseases,” explained Peter Duncanson, director of commercial operations for ServiceMaster Restore. “This new technology complements ServiceMaster disinfecting and sanitizing processes, providing a barrier that continuously safeguards against dangerous microbes on surfaces. It’s an important development in infection prevention that creates a safer, healthier environment for a relatively long period of time.”
TruGreen Launches New Perimeter Pest Service
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — TruGreen announced the launch of its latest service offering — Perimeter Pest — which is an exterior pest management treatment.
Available in select markets across the nation, Perimeter Pest consists of four seasonal, exterior treatments applied by TruGreen specialists. TruGreen says the treatments last 60-90 days and there is no need to treat inside of the home.
This new service offering will be available in 72 branches spanning several states across the country, including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
“The addition of Perimeter Pest to our Pest Defense Program reinforces our commitment to best serve our customers,” said Johanna Metz, senior director of product management at TruGreen. “Perimeter Pest targets the outside of the home to prevent unwanted pests from making their way inside, and helps customers and their families enjoy more quality time pest-free.”
Capitol Pest Gives Back to the Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of its Capitol Cares initiative, Capitol Pest, Bethesda, Md., recently donated more than $14,000 in services and monetary gifts to charitable organizations supporting those affected by COVID-19. Since April, the company donated more than $10,000 worth of free disinfecting services to Covenant House’s five Washington, D.C., locations. Covenant House is an agency that offers shelter, meals, classes, counseling, healthcare and more to abused, homeless and trafficked youth.
“We launched our Capitol Cares initiative in early April with a mission to find worthy causes that need our help; whether it be employee time to volunteer, a monetary donation, a service donation or any other qualifying way that we can help a worthy cause,” said Brian Schoonmaker, president.
The company also donated $4,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Society, which is providing assistance to families that have lost their income as a result of COVID-19.
The goal of the Capitol Pest Cares Program is to help those in its community that are less fortunate. “On behalf of the 706,000 residents in Washington, D.C., I thank Capitol Pest for their legacy of service,” Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a letter of appreciation to the company.
Schoonmaker said, “We all need to do our part to contribute to society and prop up our fellow man. It is the right thing to do.”