ServiceMaster Details TruGreen Spin-Off
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Calling the division a distraction, ServiceMaster’s CEO announced in November that the company would spin-off TruGreen LawnCare as a standalone company by the end of the year.
The separation of TruGreen LawnCare also positions ServiceMaster well for an IPO in the near future.
Effective Dec. 31, TruGreen LawnCare will be a separate company. It will be owned by private equity-firm CD&R, said Rob Gillette, ServiceMaster CEO, during a third-quarter earnings call in mid-November.
The remaining ServiceMaster business units — including the Terminix, American Home Shield, Merry Maids and ServiceMaster Clean brands — will stand as a separate company with revenue of $2.3 billion.
“We have significant opportunities to grow these businesses ... into adjacent sectors and new markets,” Gillette said on the call. “TruGreen has been distracting.”
The announcement comes as no surprise — the green sides of ServiceMaster’s business have been performing poorly for several years. In 2011, the company unloaded TruGreen LandCare, its commercial landscaping division, to another private equity group for $38 million, a fraction of the $250 ServiceMaster paid for it in 1999.
David Alexander, TruGreen LawnCare president, said the separation allows his division to focus on its core problems, namely a drop in customers of around 300,000 over two years, and an inability to retain new customers. He said the company’s goal is to return to 2012 customer levels by the end of next year.
“We still have some upward battles in terms of customer count. We’re not going to build customer count significantly for two or three more quarters. I believe we’re stabilizing customer count. We’re to a point we can stabilize, but we’re not at a point where we’re going to build for several quarters,” Alexander said on the call. “We had some issues serving everyone. We have not provided all-star service to anyone this year.”
The spin-off also positions the new ServiceMaster well for a potential IPO.
“There’s always the idea of a liquidity event somewhere in ServiceMaster’s future. This brings that liquidity event closer to us, clearly,” said Alan Haughie, ServiceMaster’s CFO.
Ron Edmonds, an M&A consultant based in Memphis, said the news is promising if it means new ownership of TruGreen, but in the short-term means confusion in the market.
“The problem is that there’s a high level of uncertainty. That’s the worst thing for the industry,” Edmonds said. “I don’t think anything is improved by what’s just happened.” — Chuck Bowen, Lawn & Landscape magazine
PCT Service Technician’s Inspection and Identification Manual Offer Now Available
RICHFIELD, Ohio — The PCT Media Group is pleased to announce that pre-publication orders are now being taken for The PCT Service Technician’s Inspection and Identification Manual. This publication is the next handy guide for service technicians, written by William H. Robinson.
“The Service Technician’s Inspection and Identification Manual is meant to make inspection and identification easier for service technicians by providing information to help anticipate the common pest or damage that will be found during site inspections,” the author says. “Technicians will find the detailed information and the illustrations of more than 200 pests and damage invaluable to have on-site.”
Pre-publication price is $19.95, which is 33 percent off the list price. This offer ends Jan. 15, 2014. After Jan. 15, the list price is $26.50 per book. Shipping begins Feb. 1, and domestic shipping is free with all pre-publication orders. To order, call a PCT Store representative at 800/456-0707 or visit www.mallishandbook.com or www.pctonline.com.
Steven Sims Forms Blue Imago Consulting
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Dr. Steven Sims has formed Blue Imago Consulting, a firm that provides product discovery, research and development, project management, registration and other services for the pest management industry. “I worked on new product discovery and development for 16 years at Whitmire Micro-Gen,” Sims said. “Now I’m enjoying helping others with the discovery and development process and assisting them in bringing their products to market.”
Sims has extensive experience in research and product development in agriculture and was a lead entomologist in the development of Monsanto’s insect-resistant plant products. He has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Davis.
In his 16 years with Whitmire and then BASF, Sims served as senior research entomologist. “In this role, I discovered and evaluated new tech-nology for professional pest control including novel active ingredients (natural products and conventional pesticide chemistry), aerosol, concentrate and bait formulations. I discovered and developed many of the successful insect bait and MotherEarth products sold by Whitmire. I managed projects, product development, registration of insect control formulations, and novel delivery systems. I also provided entomology expertise and guidance for the business and served as lead contact for university cooperators.”
Sims is a member of a number of professional organizations including the Entomological Society of America, Pi Chi Omega, National Pest Management Association and the Lepidopterists’ Society. For more information, call 314/707-1343, email email@example.com, or visit www.blueimago.com.
Registration Available for 2014 Wildlife Expo
New Orleans — The NPMA/NWCOA 2014 Wildlife Expo will be held Jan. 9-11 at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, La. Interested attendees can register online and download the education program at https://www.npmapestworld.org/commerce/wildlife_expo_2014.cfm.
The 2014 Wildlife Expo features an educational program focusing on both the technical and management sides to the nuisance wildlife business. Program highlights include:
- Up-and-coming technologies for the nuisance wildlife business
- Regulatory updates on wildlife services competition
- A review of OSHA workplace safety requirements
- CEUs from NWCOA’s Certified Professional Training Courses for technicians
- New ways to increase profits in wildlife work
In conjunction with the Wildlife Expo, NWCOA is offering Certified Professional Training Courses for technicians. This unique opportunity is only available at the Wildlife Expo and is normally offered exclusively to NWCOA members. The courses available are:
- NWCOA Certified Basic Wildlife Control Operator Training Course (16 NWCOA CEUs)
- Bird Barrier America Certification Training Course (16 NWCOA CEUs)
- NWCOA Bat Standards Compliant Training Course (8 NWCOA CEUs)
For more information, contact 703/352-6762 or visit www.npmapestworld.org.
|Comings & Goings
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Justin Bellet has been promoted to vice president of operations for Truly Nolen of America. With the company for 12 years, Bellet has served as district manager, regional manager and vice president of Eastern operations. As vice president of operations, Bellet is responsible for the operations of all residential pest control, termite and lawn of all Truly Nolen locations in North America.
Additionally, Matt Wild has been promoted to director of business strategies for Truly Nolen of America.
In other Truly Nolen news, David Bolton has been promoted to branch manager of the Green Valley, Ariz., location of Truly Nolen of America.
Finally, Scott Brody has been promoted to branch manager of the Orlando location of Truly Nolen of America.
After being hired by Arrow Environmental Services, Morganville, N.J., Timothy P. Best became an Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) and was promoted to staff entomologist and technical specialist.
Victor Hammel has been elected chairman of the board of directors of Reading Health System. A board member since 1992, Hammel served Reading Health System as vice chairman of the board from 2011-13. Hammel is chairman of Rentokil Pest Control, North America, and was formerly co-owner and CEO of JC Ehrlich Co.
Chris Caliendo has been promoted to branch manager of Heron Lawn and Pest Control’s Sanford, Fla., branch. Caliendo has 14 years of experience in the lawn and pest control industry and more than 18 years of experience in the green industries.
Zoëcon Launches Residential Training Module at IPMtraining.com
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — The Zoëcon Professional Products (ZPP) division of Central Life Sciences has launched a Residential Training Module at www.ipmtraining.com, a digital pest management resource developed for PMPs and product distributors. The website offers facts about pests commonly found in residential settings and suggests best practices to help PMPs address specific infestations and develop a customized IPM program.
The module was developed to give PMPs with all levels of expertise an educational resource to help with their work in the field. “We’ve designed the site to be an immersive and intuitive tool providing detailed information about pests, different products available for treatment and application tips,” said James Herrmann, Zoëcon director of marketing.
The website provides a virtual residence for visitors to explore with detailed information on common household pests and more than 75 facts and tips providing protocol suggestions for effective treatment. The site highlights seven of the most common household pests — mosquitoes, wasps, fleas, cockroaches, ants, bed bugs and spiders — and provides a detailed look at areas of the home most commonly infested. Throughout the virtual home, visitors can read pest control product descriptions and recommendations specific to the different applications, or ask questions of a Zoëcon product expert through an online form. As visitors move through the site, they can add recommended products to a custom IPM plan that can be printed for future reference.
Real Green Analytics Acquires Coalmarch Productions
WALLED LAKE, Mich. — Real Green Systems/Real Green Analytics recently purchased Coalmarch Productions. Coalmarch Productions, Raleigh, N.C., is a website design and marketing firm that will further Real Green Analytics’ ability to provide online marketing solutions, the firms say.
The new services offered include: website design, programming, search engine optimization, reputation brand management, content marketing and pay-per-click management. Coalmarch will further Real Green’s efforts to provide pest control and lawn care customers with a one-stop source for all of their marketing needs by providing effective and creative high-end inbound marketing strategies, solutions and implementation. For more information, call 919/827-0742.
Avitrol Announces PestWorld iPad Winner
TULSA, Okla. — Matt McNerney of Fry’s Food Stores is the winner of Avitrol Corporation’s PestWorld 2013 iPad Mini Giveaway. Pictures of the giveaway and conference are available at www.avitrol.com.
“Thanks to everyone who participated, and we’ll see you all next year!” said Avitrol’s Sheldon Dillingham.
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Innovative Pest Management, Denver, N.C., was the runner-up 2013 Small Business of the Year, as selected by the Lake Norman Chamber. Innovative Pest Management finished as runner-up to CURRENTS magazine. (See photo on the right.)
Quebec firm Maheu&Maheu celebrated its 80th anniversary in July. The company was founded by Horace A. Maheu in 1933 in Quebec City, and is now a $16 million-plus company that employs about 60 people. Under the leadership of Michel Maheu, the company took a significant step toward using green products and IPM techniques, the firm said.
Mark Dotson, CEO of A All Animal Control and competitive motorcyclist, competed in The Ohio Mile. Dotson topped out at a speed of 229.3578 mph at the motorcycle land speed event.
Four new pest management companies joined BedBug Central’s bedbugFREE network. They are: BedBug Solutions, San Diego, Calif.; Greenforest Termite & Pest Control, Sunnyvale, Texas; Bug Authority, Nashville, Tenn.; and Serfco Termite & Pest Control, Bentonville, Ark.
Knockout Pest Control, Uniondale, N.Y., donated $5,000 to the Fanny Dwight Clark Memorial Garden to help replace some 40 trees destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s impact on the Garden was “dramatic and devastating,” and it was closed for six months following the storm. “[Knockout CEO Arthur Katz’s] concern for the restoration of our badly damaged Clark Botanic Garden is entirely consistent with the environmental awareness that is evident in his practices at Knockout Pest Control,” said Jerilyn Dreitlein, president of Clark Gardens. (See photoon the right.)
Catseye Pest Control, Castleton, N.Y., donated $11,500 to Make-A-Wish, dispersed between the Make-A-Wish chapters of two Catseye-serviced regions. The donations were made through fund-raising efforts of employees, family, friends and clients. Catseye also was recently named to the Albany Times Union’s 2013 Top Workplaces list. The newspaper gives the awards to businesses in the Albany region that best exemplify a positive work environment, according to the firm.
Marietta, Ga.-based Northwest Exterminating was recently named one of Atlanta’s Top Workplaces by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ranking at No. 7 in the mid-sized category on the newspaper’s list, Northwest takes pride in the culture it has created for its team members, CEO Steve Phillips said. “People spend a lot of time at work, so it’s only right that we make it a good place for them to be,” he said.
Chesapeake Bay Pest Control, Yorktown, Va., announced it has been selected as a winner of the 2013 Best of HomeAdvisor award. The program awards top-rated service professionals in the HomeAdvisor network. Travis L. Steveson, owner of the company, said receiving the award was an honor for his company.