When Myers Services of Bedford, Texas, had an opening for an experienced technician in 1989, Javier Rodriguez applied. Trouble was, Rodriguez had no pest management experience. And although that may have initially discouraged former owner Danny Myers as he sat across the table from this enthusiastic young man, it didn’t faze Rodriguez in the least. He believed in his own drive, determination and dedication so strongly that he offered to work for free his first few weeks to prove what a tremendous asset he could be to the Myers team.
“When my wife, Stephanie, and I interviewed Javier, we were impressed by his work ethic, sincerity and sterling references,” says Myers. “All he asked for was an opportunity to prove himself. He would be loyal and hardworking, he promised, if only we would give him the chance.”
So in spite of his lack of industry experience, Myers hired Rodriguez. The results were better than he had ever imagined.
“From the outset, Javier exceeded his promises and our expectations daily,” Myers shares. “The quality of his work was, and continues to be, outstanding, and he is clearly committed to his customers. He is loyal, unselfish, modest and hardworking — an excellent role model for his co-workers. You can build special service programs around technicians of Javier’s caliber.”
Inspections? Audits? Bring ’em! Rodriguez did, in fact, become a specialist. In addition to becoming a certified applicator with the Texas Department of Agriculture and taking a variety of computer and management courses on his own, he passed the AIB International correspondence course with flying colors. For the past 10 years, he has focused solely on food-processing plants; for the past three, he has served as AIB field supervisor.
“At first, food-processing accounts can be intimidating due to the rigorous auditing processes, but you just have to learn to communicate with all parties — your customers and the inspectors — even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone,” Rodriguez said. “We need perfect scores and we earn perfect scores, every time.”
Here’s how Rodriguez does it: Recognizing that each inspector conducts his or her audits differently, he approaches each one prior to the visit, calling or emailing to request a copy of the standards. Once he studies that document and understands the expectations of that particular audit, he works with the customer to ensure all standards are met.
“The customers are delighted when they get perfect scores, and the inspectors are pleased that we care enough to respect their wishes and make sure everything meets or exceeds their expectations,” says Rodriguez.
The Rewards of Giving Back
At the group home where Javier Rodriguez’ son Joel lives, employees don’t often get holidays off. Rodriguez volunteers to work shifts on those days to relieve staff members. “I would be there spending the day with my son on the holiday anyway, so why not broaden the scope of my participation and allow others to be with their families?” he says.
Rodriguez says that the time he spends with his son is precious, and he has always been active in his life. “Some people see having a special-needs child as a sadness; I have never viewed it that way. You can learn so much from a child like this. Every child is a blessing.”
During the past 23 years that Joel has lived there, Rodriguez has spent thousands of volunteer hours with the residents, taking them fishing, to the zoo, to the state fair and on other field trips. He coached peewee football for several years as well.
“Without Good Life, people like me — parents of special-needs children — would be alone in their struggles,” Rodriguez says. “My wife, Analiza, and I feel blessed to have such a wonderful organization, with such wonderful people, as part of our lives.”
His consistently superior records, along with his friendly demeanor, make Rodriguez a natural leader within the company. Team members come to him with their challenging clients, and he is quick to lend a hand. “As long as the problem is solved and the customer is happy, Javier feels fulfilled,” says Myers. “He doesn’t need, or expect, to get credit for his help; he just wants to know everything worked out right.”
And things, when entrusted to Rodriguez, do tend to work out right. He says that the keys to his success — to any technician’s success — are: (1) knowing the target pests well and (2) establishing meaningful, effective communication with the customer. Leave every customer with peace of mind, he says, and you’ll never fail. Rodriguez also believes strongly in treating every person, regardless of position, with the same high level of dignity and respect.
Discipline is key. The success Rodriguez enjoys in acing audits and in serving as a leader among co-workers comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with his background. He worked hard growing up, serving as a farm hand and participating in rodeos. With the dream of one day becoming an officer in the Army, Rodriguez joined the ROTC in high school, rising to the rank of drill team commander. The cadet ran a tight ship, leading his team to first- or second-place wins in nearly every competition they entered. Throughout southern Texas, Roy’s Rifles, as the team was known, became “the team to beat.”
“When I prepare for audits, it reminds me of the preparation work we did before our competitions,” says Rodriguez. “You prepare yourself early, working day in and day out to get everything just right, and then you go out there and win!”
More than a job. Rodriguez says that his job with Myers came at a critical juncture in his life. His then four-year-old son Joel was suffering from seizures and other physical and mental challenges as the result of a chronic condition called Angelman syndrome, which he had since birth. The job provided not only financial but also personal support to Rodriguez, then a single father, and son Joel. “Danny helped me find an organization called Good Life, which helps families like ours,” he said. “I had always been very involved in my son’s care, but I couldn’t provide the 24-hour attention he required. Good Life was the answer to my prayers, because I could still be involved in my son’s daily life but I had the support I needed so that I could also succeed in my career. I will always be grateful to Danny and our company for helping me through this challenging time.”
Myers has been grateful to Rodriguez as well, adding, “Javier’s winning philosophy is that our customers are his customers. In an industry known for account turnover, he has built long-standing relationships in which clients won’t even consider another technician. He is kind, genuine, honest, honorable and unrelenting in his pursuit of perfection. I know that he’ll achieve any goal he sets for his future.”
Myers Services recently joined Massey Services, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. “We congratulate Javier on receiving this prestigious award,” said Tony Massey, president and COO, Massey Services. “Javier is greatly respected among his peers and I saw that firsthand when I met him in September at our Myers/Massey introductory meeting. His commitment to outstanding quality service with both his customers and his fellow team members is one of the many reasons why Javier is deserving of this recognition.”
The author is a PCT contributing writer.