Editor's note: Allen Fugler, executive vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association, submitted the following article, which details a groundbreaking training initiative for pest management professionals in Florida.
APOPKA, Fla. — February 23, 2011 may prove to be a pivotal day for training in the pest management
industry. The Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA) in close partnership with Pest Management University
(PMU), The Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (IFAS) and members of the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) demonstrated a “proof of concept” that high quality training can be
delivered to a state-wide audience of pest management professionals.
Florida Pest Management Association President, Tim Brock is looking forward to the opportunities this partnership can
afford to industry professionals. “When I took office I laid out a number of goals for my term as president. One of
those goals was to provide business, education and resource tools vital for success by the pest management and lawn
care industry in Florida. And, more specifically I wanted FPMA to be able to tap into, and take to our members, the
many resources that PMU and IFAS has to offer. Obviously, due to the geographic nature of our great state; training
and education in a central location can be a great challenge...Until now! Without the dedication of our volunteers all
across the state working simultaneously it wouldn’t have been possible. I look forward to this being the first of many
sessions to come.”
The delivery of this training was groundbreaking on many fronts namely the fact that the Polycom system connected 14
different sites over 2 different time zones with the end result of reaching over 250 pest control industry professionals.
John Newman, Vice President of Davis Exterminators was one of the attendees of the recent training. “Thanks to
everyone that had a hand in organizing the IPM workshop. I had the opportunity to attend the class with some my
technicians. The statewide class setting was a great opportunity to hear comments and questions within our industry. I
was very pleased with the outline, presentation and the speakers. It was not only a great educational experience for us
but also an opportunity to challenge ourselves to be better representatives for our industry. The work books alone
received by each technician are worth the cost of the class. I look forward to more classes like this in the future.”
Michael Page, Chief with the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control is elated by the opportunities ahead. “The success
of this state-wide training illustrates what is possible when industry partners such as FPMA, IFAS and DACS work
toward a common goal. Numerous requests have been made for another similar session and we are already discussing the possibility of making training such as this a quarterly event. Clearly, this could be the beginning of a new era of training in the pest control industry.”
FPMA, IFAS and DACS collaborated to provide technical expertise, funding, advertising, course materials and logistical support to provide the training state-wide; proving that affordable high quality training could be delivered using FPMA volunteer trainers and IFAS’s extension infrastructure using the PMU model.
The inspiration behind this innovative collaboration is President of Lindsey Pest Services and tireless FPMA Volunteer Jennifer Leggett. “We made history! FPMA proved that the professionals who make up our organization can come together to raise the quality of training in the industry for the entire industry. The volunteer efforts were extraordinary and this valuable training would never have been possible without the dedication of Pam Mattis with Pest Management University.”
The Pest Management University concept was well maintained during this interactive training which included hands-on activities incorporated at each of the extension locations to ensure the attendees remained engaged throughout the entire day.
Faith Oi, director of The Florida School IPM Program and Pest Management University said, “I am beyond thrilled at the success of the hybrid Polycom-hands-on training done in partnership with FPMA and DACS, but its success is no surprise since the planning was left in the very capable hands of FPMA, DACS and IFAS folks who care about doing their very best.”
Representatives from FPMA, IFAS/PMU and DACS are already in discussion to future support to make training such as this a regular event for the industry across Florida.