[View Point] Common threads

Columns - View Point

December 28, 2012
Brad Harbison

Included in this month’s issue is PCT’s Technician of the Year Awards supplement (page 19), sponsored by BASF Pest Control Solutions. In addition to recognizing three standout technicians in the residential, commercial and termite categories, the supplement is an annual celebration of the industry’s frontline professionals. Our hope is that other technicians who read the profiles might pick up a few tricks of the trade.

We’re proud to recognize this year’s winners: Colby McCarty, ABC Home & Commercial Services (residential category); Javier Rodriguez, Massey Services (commercial category); and David Hicks, Bug Out Service (termite category).

In the 16 years since PCT launched this program we’ve observed numerous common threads among our winners — both past and present — that we think are important to note. These include:

Paying close attention to detail. PCT’s Technicians of the Year are skilled problem-solvers and tacticians. Commercial technicians, for example, excel at providing pest control in sensitive accounts, many of which are audited (e.g., food-processing facilities). This year’s Commercial Technician of the Year, Rodriguez, recognizes that all auditors conduct their audits slightly differently, so his service protocols are tailored to meet and exceed each of these auditors’ expectations. Similarly, we’ve seen numerous examples of Termite Technicians of the Year who have made an art out of termite inspections, in many cases discovering termites in accounts where others have failed.

Taking on tasks outside their job description.
Our Technicians of the Year do more than just excel at the technical and communication skills involved in being a service technician; they actually seek out opportunities to “wow” customers. For example, many of PCT’s Residential Technicians of the Year who have elderly customers will do small things like bring in the newspaper, change a light bulb or help move a piece of furniture.

Embracing new technology.
PCT’s Technicians of the Year often are the first people their companies turn to when new technology is introduced — whether it is equipment or products. These technicians are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone and find out if these new introductions can help them do their jobs better. For example, this year’s Termite Technician of the Year, Hicks, not only is the company’s “tool guy,” but he is so mechanically inclined that he designs and makes modifications to equipment.

Excelling at the role of mentor. Smart pest control companies have recognized the value of using veteran technicians in mentoring roles. PCT’s Technicians of the Year embrace this role. We’ve seen examples of our Technicians of the Year working overtime to help newer technicians at a challenging account or stepping out of their comfort zone to lead training meetings.

The above examples have something else in common: they are all self-initiated. PCT’s Technicians of the Year — as well as many standout service professionals in this industry — recognize that these “above and beyond” actions not only are in the best interests of their companies, but they help make for a more fulfilling job experience. As PCT Residential Technician of the Year McCarty noted, “It’s infinitely rewarding knowing that you’ve helped people rid their homes of rodents or insects. Seeing their faces light up because you’ve made their homes safe again is a daily reminder of the importance of the work we do.” In many ways, it goes back to the old adage that “your job is what you make of it.”

The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT magazine.