DANIA BEACH, Fla. — More than 150 franchisees, managers and vendors attended the annual Critter Control conference at the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame and Museum Feb. 10-12.
Founded in 1982, Critter Control began franchising in 1987 and added an average of one new office per month over the next decade. Today, Critter Control is the nation’s leading wildlife control firm, with 132 franchises in 38 states and Canada.
|Critter Control CEO Kevin Clark (left) presents International Game Fish Association (IGFA) President Rob Kramer with a $10,000 check for youth outreach and education programs.|
|Part of the meeting included the 12th annual Critter Control Firhsing Derby. Pictured (from left to right): Joe Loma (Minneapolis), Gene Jezek (Critter Control, St Louis), Carlita and Billy Turk (TAP Insulation). This groupd captured the derby with a nice rack of mackerel and a release of a 200-plus pound bull shark.|
Top Market Awards went to Dr. Chris Christensen in Lexington, KY; Richard Swinney in Albuquerque, NM; Van Normand in Gulf Coast, AL; and Gene Jezek in St. Louis, MO. Corporate Citizenship Awards went to Doug Hartman in Birmingham, AL; Tom Brungardt of Kansas City, KS; and Tim Wilkes in Indianapolis, IN. Local franchisees Joe Felegi (Fort Lauderdale) and Chuck Thomas (Miami) celebrated 20 year anniversaries with the company, and Felegi was presented with the Franchise-of-the-Year Award.
Critter Control founder and CEO Kevin Clark gave a State-of-the-Franchise presentation and noted that Critter Control franchisees matched their record year of 2008 in 2009, again generating over $43 million in total system sales. Clark credits the company’s ability to be recession proof to constantly adding new products and services that are good fits within their mantra of ‘Protecting People, Property and Wildlife.’
The annual convention consisted of a one day optional meeting where franchisees choose what topics or specialties they wanted to focus on, a board meeting, a franchise advisory council meeting, a vendor reception, then two days of annual meetings and an awards banquet in the Great Hall of Records at the IGFA. There was even a fishing tournament down in the Florida Keys on Valentine’s weekend, where 16 anglers caught over 100 fish on four charter boats.
“We had eighteen industry vendors in attendance,” noted Critter Control VP of Operations, Sean Carruth. “The annual conference is critical to strategic planning and direction, and to get franchisees focused and confident about our future.”