Black Ownership Matters Aims to Close the Inequality Gap

Features - Industry Organizations

New organization was formed to support, promote Black economic advancement in the field of pest management.

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April 12, 2021

With the goal of providing a network of support for current Black pest control owner/operators and promoting Black ownership of pest control firms, Black Ownership Matters (BOM) has been launched.

The organization was formed in summer 2020 when a group of like-minded individuals and organizations from across the country came together with the goal of supporting Black economic advancement in the field of pest management. As Black Ownership Matters President Jason Payne noted, “Significant inequality in this industry, and all industries, has created a racial wealth gap that we all are struggling to close. In order to help close this gap, our goal is to promote Black ownership of pest control companies and advancement in the industry by providing financial guidance, business resources, employee development, mentorship and community support.”

During the past eight months, BOM has been meeting virtually to build the organization from the ground up, including developing a mission statement and electing leaders. The group came up with the following three strategic goals:

  • To identify current Black owners in the pest management industry and support their business growth through mentorship and access to resources.
  • To promote career advancement of Black industry professionals and support upward mobility in their careers through additional education, certifications, licensing, etc. BOM views this step as the catalyst for many to begin their path to ownership.
  • To engage in outreach to the Black community at large to inform them of the critical role pest management plays in the lives of all people — and why this is a great industry to be employed in — and to discuss potential business ownership opportunities available in the field.

PCT spoke with BOM leadership to learn what drew them to this organization and what they hope this group will accomplish.

Payne

President Jason Payne, CEO of Payne Pest Management. “There has never been an organization specifically geared towards African-American-owned pest control companies or specific mentorship programs addressing the hurdles African-Americans face in the pest control industry when trying to advance their careers. I hope this group can act as a resource for small, Black-owned businesses and help them take the next step in the growth of their company. I also hope we can help individuals grow into management and leadership roles in the companies they are currently with, while sharing the benefits of being in the pest control industry to high school and college students.”

 

Golden

First Vice President Wayne Golden, Vice President and Owner of GSquared Consulting. “I have seen the attempt to focus on diversity and inclusion through my career, but when you look around in every aspect of the industry still today, with the exception of women, people of color are not represented. I want to be able share our knowledge and assist current Black-owned pest management companies and individuals in the industry to achieve business and personal successes. With NPMA only representing a small portion of the industry, here is a chance to touch more — to build an organization that truly focuses on helping people grow.”

 

Allen

Second Vice President Dr. Hamilton Allen, Florida Regional Technical Director, HomeTeam Pest Defense. “BOM emphasizes inclusion, not just diversity. There wasn’t a space or platform to support the growth of minority-owned pest control companies, particularly African-Americans. BOM is looking to do just that — create an inclusive and supportive environment for Black-owned pest control companies. One overarching goal is to establish a viable networking community for African-Americans in the pest management industry. Current members of the group, like Jason Payne and Faye Golden, provide me with mentorship and we want to extend these types of relationships on a national scale.”

 

Golden

Treasurer Faye Golden, Director of Government Affairs, Cook’s Pest Control. “As a member of NPMA’s Board of Directors, I receive even more inquiries from business owners, especially Black owners of pest control companies, on how to grow their businesses and how to better engage with their local pest control association(s) and NPMA. In this moment of national awakening, the time has never been better to share stories of Black pest control operator/owner experience and grow Black-owned pest control companies through mentorship and community involvement. Shared experiences have the power to shape perspectives and drive conversations around critical issues.”

 

Barbour

Secretary and Vice President Sterling Barbour, former PCO and Vice President, Veterans Advocacy Group of America. “To join any organization, the first thing you do is look at the mission. Are the mission and goals in line with your thinking and the things you want to accomplish? The second thing, which is really important, is who is on the team. Looking at our team, I am amazed to be a part of such a great group. Lastly, owning a pest control company and being in the business over 30 years, I see the misalignment of Black owners and executives in the pest management industry. We’re going to do exactly what our mission says: To invest in the economic advancements of the Black communities through the area of pest management.”

 

Thomas

Adviser Dr. Sonja Thomas, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education, Alabama Cooperative Extension. “When I was asked to join this group and serve as a board member, I was excited to see so many individuals that look like me, willing to reach back and help those desiring to be business owners. In my line of work, I receive several calls per year from individuals of color inquiring about starting a pest control business. With the help of this group and other sponsors, we can now offer another resource for those that are underserved. I would love to see this group become an access point that leads them to other resources that are readily available — a hub of sorts that guides each company on their way to success.”

Black Ownership Matters is adding members and building industry support. The organization recently launched its website, www.Blackownershipmatters.org, which includes additional details about the group and its goals, as well as information on how to support BOM through involvement and patronage.

The author is senior digital editor and managing editor of PCT.