NORCROSS, Ga. — Valera Jessee, executive director of the Georgia Pest Control Association the last 28-plus years, announced she will be retiring on June 30. The executive board has appointed a search committee to consider a replacement Executive Director.
Jessee, who turns 68 later this year, told PCT she had been considering retirement for the past couple years, and decided now was a good time for a transition as the association has a strong executive team in place and it is not facing pressing issues or emergencies.
Jessee came to GPCA in 1986 after having spent 15 years working as director of information and education with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. During her tenure, GPCA grew from 200 to 1,000 member companies and its annual budget increased from $80,000 to close to $600,000. Other accomplishments include: helping create the Guardians of GPCA; identifying a solid lobbying group for the association; establishing Georgia’s state legislative day; and helping GPCA raise $1 million for Leukemia/Lymphoma research.
In a statement e-mailed to GPCA members, Jessee wrote, “The friendship and support I have enjoyed since 1986 cannot be measured. As the association has prospered and grown, I too have benefited from the environment of leadership, and professionalism. I leave behind an office – but I take friends with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you.”
Jessee added that she will remain as executive director for the United Producers Formulators & Distributors UPF&DA, an association of pest control manufacturers, formulators and distributors. She will work from her home office.