[PCT On the Road] Two Industry Trade Groups Lay Groundwork to Strengthen Ties

Features - Industry Events

UPF&DA Spring Conference offers opportunity for NPMA and United Producers, Formulators & Distributors Association to strengthen relationship and work together on issues of mutual concern.

June 25, 2013
Dan Moreland

Top: NPMA Executive Vice President Bob Rosenberg said revisiting supplier involvement in NPMA committees and expanding supplier representation on the board of directors are among the “action items” on the NPMA’s agenda.
Bottom: “I think we have a real opportunity to work more closely with NPMA,” observed UPF&DA President Tommy Reeves.

For much of the past decade, the United Producers, Formulators & Distributors Association (UPF&DA) and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) have had an “arm’s length” relationship, but that may be changing thanks to an olive branch extended by NPMA Executive Vice President Bob Rosenberg and the association’s leadership earlier this year.

In February, NPMA created a Suppliers’ Council with the goal of providing “a forum for suppliers to voice suggestions and concerns” and to serve as a “catalyst for solutions and change,” according to Rosenberg, one of a half-dozen high-profile speakers at the UPF&DA Spring Conference, held April 23-24, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla.

The Suppliers’ Council held its first meeting at NPMA Legislative Day in March, facilitated by BASF’s Dan Carrothers, where representatives of the two industry trade groups agreed to work together to strengthen their ties with one another.

“I think we have a real opportunity to work more closely with NPMA,” observed UPF&DA President Tommy Reeves, a message reinforced by Rosenberg during his 45-minute presentation at the conference.

Rosenberg said revisiting supplier involvement in NPMA committees and expanding supplier representation on the board of directors are among the “action items” on the NPMA’s agenda as it begins to lay the groundwork to strengthen its relationship with 45-year-old association, which was formed in 1968 by such iconic industry figures as Roland Rhodes, Rhodes Chemical Co.; Bill Brehm, B&G Equipment Co.; Cal Stephenson, Sr., Stephenson Chemical Co.; Clayton Wright, B&G Chemicals & Equipment; Thomas Forshaw, Forshaw Distribution; John Veatch, Veatch Chemicals; and Millard and Ada Oldham, Oldham Chemicals.

“NPMA will re-engage suppliers on appropriate NPMA committees to increase involvement and participation including the opportunity to serve on committees as committee members, not just correspondents,” Rosenberg said. “NPMA will submit a proposed plan to the NPMA board as this will require a change in the current by-laws.”

In addition, “NPMA will create a plan to increase supplier representation on the NPMA board of directors through additional positions (possibly chemical representative, distributor representative, non-chemical representative). NPMA will present a proposed plan at the next Suppliers’ Council meeting for discussion,” he said. “The proposal will then be submitted to the NPMA Board of Directors for discussion at the October meeting in conjunction with PestWorld 2013.” Supplier representatives on the ad-hoc committee include Tommy Reeves, Oldham Chemicals; Karen Furgiuele, Gardex Chemicals; Karl Kisner, Univar; Manny Martinez, Liphatech; Mike Toce, BASF; Steve Levy, Bell Laboratories; John Chaney, Pest Control Supplies; Thom Wharton, FMC; and Donna Giacalone, The Bug Stop.

Other “action items” on NPMA’s agenda for 2013 and beyond, according to Rosenberg, are a desire to improve routine communication between the two organizations via a supplier e-newsletter or blog; improving coordination between RISE, UPF&DA and NPMA; evaluating and improving NPMA’s regional conferences; creating additional lower-priced sponsorship opportunities for suppliers at industry events; giving preference to suppliers who support NPMA when it comes to speaking opportunities; and creating an ongoing forum for dialogue between suppliers and NPMA.

UPF&DA is also hoping to have greater input on trade show hours at NPMA PestWorld, the industry’s premier trade show and educational conference. Rosenberg said the NPMA is taking UPF&DA’s input seriously, expanding this year’s trade show hours in response to the association’s desire for more face-to-face time with conference attendees. “We added two more hours from previous years,” he said.

UPF&DA recently sent a survey to its members asking for additional input about trade show hours at NPMA PestWorld. The survey’s findings will be presented at the next Suppliers’ Council meeting in July, which will be held in conjunction with NPMA Academy in Phoenix, Ariz.

The rapprochement between UPF&DA and NPMA has been well received by the supplier community. “We haven’t had a voice for a long time and Bob was very receptive to UPF&DA having a stronger voice,” observed Steve Levy, president, Bell Laboratories.

“It’s real obvious Bob (Rosenberg) is trying to really reconnect with some folks and open some doors,” added John Bolanos, president, Univar Environmental Sciences. “They’re sending a message they’re willing to listen. I think we should be encouraged.”

Top: The educational sessions were well attended throughout the two-day event.
Bottom: Dr. Jerome Goddard, associate extension professor of medical and veterinary entomology at Mississippi State University, led an entertaining session about “Public Health and Pest Control.”

“We want NPMA to be something more to you than the place where you go to sell your stuff,” Rosenberg told attendees of the UPF&DA Spring Conference. “We want you go to NPMA if you have a problem and want a solution.”

In addition to Rosenberg’s presentation, a number of other informative educational sessions were well received by attendees, including a presentation on “Obamacare and Your Business” by Ben Watkins of Capstone Benefits Consulting; a session on “Regulators and Their Focus” by Derrick Lastinger, president, ASPCRO; and the always entertaining Dr. Jerome Goddard of Mississippi State University, who discussed “Public Health and Pest Control.”

Goddard provided “an update on what’s happening in the bug world,” highlighting the critical role PMPs and industry product suppliers play in protecting public health. “I think we need an educational effort to promote the benefits of pesticides and pest control services,” he said. “Pesticides are good. Pesticides are tools. Pesticides are environmental medicines.”

Goddard, author of the Physician’s Guide to Arthropods of Medical Importance, said people often ask him to list the key pillars of public health when he speaks. He cited clean water and proper sewage disposal as essential for protecting public health, followed by vaccinations and immunizations. And number four on Goddard’s list? You guessed it … pest control.

“Pest control provides an important public health function,” he said. Despite the public’s periodic apprehension about pesticides, Goddard said they are valuable tools in the hands of a properly trained pest management professional. “Pesticides are tools. A doctor uses antibiotics to control out-of-control diseases. Why can’t a PMP use a pesticide to control out-of-control pest populations?” he said.

In concluding his remarks, Goddard said pest problems are “significant worldwide and even increasing,” so PMPs will continue to play an important role in protecting public health, but it will require the industry to remain “on guard” for insect-transmitted public health threats. “We must always be diligent and prepared for pest-related disease outbreaks,” he said.

In other news at the conference:

  • UPF&DA approved the membership of Terramera, a supplier of botanical insecticides to the industry.
  • UPF&DA’s Fall Board Meeting, scheduled for Aug. 21 at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, will be held in conjunction with the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) annual conference.
  • UPF&DA’s Annual Meeting will be held on Oct. 25 at NPMA PestWorld in Phoenix, Ariz., and its Spring Board Meeting will be held at Gardex Chemicals in Toronto, Ontario, on March 5-6, 2014.
  • Prior to the opening session of the two-day event, Robert Stocker, national accounts manager, AP&G, thanked his colleagues for keeping AP&G and its staff in their thoughts and prayers on the untimely passing of Kevin Keane, vice president of professional sales, who died suddenly in April at the age of 53. “It was a big blow to our company,” Stocker said. “It was nice how many people reached out to us when he passed. I’m going to miss him. He had a big personality. Kevin lived a very full life.” Univar’s John Bolanos also thanked those in attendance for keeping Tony Smith, supply performance manager, Univar Environmental Sciences, in their thoughts. Smith underwent a liver transplant earlier this year and is doing well.
  • Welcoming UPF&DA members to Florida was Allen Fugler, executive director of the Florida Pest Management Association. Fugler described the Sunshine State as “the land of the invasive species,” as evidenced by the recent introduction of the conehead termite, Nasutitermes corniger, and giant African land snail in his state.

The two-day conference concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by PCT Publisher Dan Moreland, featuring representatives of the manufacturing, distributor and end-user communities. Those participating on the panel included Dan Carrothers, BASF; Tommy Reeves, Oldham Chemicals Co.; Chris Gorecki, Rollins, Inc.; Tom Wright, BWI Companies; and Jim Sickora, Target Specialty Products.

The final session of the conference was a Manufacturer’s Showcase, where representatives of eight different companies shared their latest product and service offerings in rapid-fire fashion with attendees. “It’s the first time we’ve held such an event and it was very well attended,” said UPF&DA Executive Director Valera Jessee. “Overall, the Spring Conference received very good reviews. It was well attended and our members are clearly excited about the future of the organization.”

“We owe all of our former leaders a debt of gratitude for their service to the organization,” Reeves added. “We want to re-energize UPF&DA and get this organization moving again. We want to speak with one voice.”


To view a slide show of photographs from the 2013 UPF&DA Spring Conference, visit www.pctonline.com.