ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – After patiently tolerating two-years of Zoom meetings prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50 product suppliers and other industry stakeholders traveled to the “Sunshine State” in late April to meet face-to-face at the UPFDA Spring Conference, where a comprehensive strategic plan for the 54-year-old organization was unveiled.
(Click the following screen for a slideshow from the event)
The productive, two-day event featured a well-attended board of directors meeting, celebratory cocktail reception and jampacked educational sessions featuring presentations by Steve Good of Good Strategies, Kemp Anderson of Kemp Anderson Consulting and Jeff Braun of Primera Inc.
The meeting was a much-needed respite for those who experienced the disruption of the past two UPFDA spring conferences, one canceled in 2020 and the other held remotely in 2021 because of health concerns related to the pandemic. Yet even this year’s meeting could not completely avoid the ongoing impact of the pandemic with Braun giving his well-received presentation via Zoom “out of an abundance of caution” when he was exposed to the virus shortly before the event.
In kicking off the board of directors meeting on the first day of the conference, UPFDA President Tom Forshaw said, “I know we’ve gotten a lot done during Zoom meetings these past two years, but there’s no substitute for in-person get-togethers. That’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about this meeting.”
And that enthusiasm was matched by UPFDA Executive Director Andrea Coron and Associate Director Kristin Coron, as well as the staff of the historic Don CeSar Hotel, a Mediterranean-style resort affectionately known as the “Pink Palace.” It rolled out the red carpet for UPFDA attendees as it has done for generations of visitors to the Gulf Coast since opening its doors in 1929 at the height of the Great Gatsby era before falling into disrepair in the wake of the Great Depression.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Don CeSar was saved from the wrecking ball and re-opened as a full-service resort in 1973, gaining renewed fame when it was featured in the movie “Once Upon a Time in America” starring Robert De Niro and James Woods, as well as the MTV Documentary “Southern Accents” which included a rooftop performance by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Much like the Don CeSar, which experienced its fair share of ups and downs during its storied history, UPFDA members and their association were impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t mean the organization wasn’t working diligently behind the scenes to address its future. In fact, during the pandemic shutdown, UPFDA embarked on an ambitious strategic planning process, the results of which were unveiled by Committee Chairperson Jackie Angulo on the second day of the conference.
The yearlong process, facilitated by industry consultant Mark DiNunzio of MarketPoint Solutions, resulted in a streamlined committee structure, long-term strategic plan, and updated mission and vision statements.
“The new structure was designed to support committee chairs and help with the transition of new chairs so the history of what each committee has done can more easily be transferred,” Forshaw said. In this way, UPFDA hopes “to build transparency and flexibility, all in an effort to supply more benefits to our members and help sell UPFDA to partners who aren’t yet members.”
In providing an overview of the strategic plan during the educational portion of the Spring Conference, Angulo said committee members wanted to be respectful of UPFDA’s past while addressing the association’s future.
“The founders of our small group were able to create an organization where we could meet and talk about difficult subjects and bring solutions that would be beneficial to the industry,” she said. As the vice-president of a third-generation business herself (Superior Angran) Angulo said she has been attending UPFDA events from the time she was a child.
“When I was young, people were always good and well intentioned, constantly teaching me the big lessons in life,” she said. “Now that I’m older and wiser, I understand that people only shared these very personal experiences and lessons because they believed in what they were doing and wanted to pass it along. It is in this spirit that we want to keep this organization moving forward.”
While serving on the Strategic Planning Committee with fellow committee members Donna Giacalone, The Bug Stop; Debra Logue, BASF; Rick McDonald, Catchmaster; Scott Riley, MGK; and Forshaw, Angulo said, “I have learned to see the beauty in the process of change. I’m convinced that UPFDA is firmly positioned to serve our industry members.”
Yet despite all that’s been accomplished this past year, Angulo said the committee’s work isn’t done. “Overall, we believe this process will continue to add more value to the organization. Every year the strategic thinking process will continue as annual plans are constantly refined for the betterment of UPFDA.”
Following Angulo on the program were a series of high-profile speakers that addressed the current and future state of the pest control industry, providing insights about how to survive during one of the most volatile periods in the history of the structural pest control industry.
Good’s session, “Designing, Building & Executing a Winning Strategy,” couldn’t have been more timely given the multiple challenges facing the industry, from supply chain issues to an inflationary economy and employee recruitment to regulatory issues.
Good, a graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in Economics, added, “It’s all about strategy, structure and people … but you can’t start with the people. You have to start with the strategy. Then you put the right people in the right places to fulfill your strategy.”
Anderson’s session took a look at the past, present and future of the structural pest control industry, which not only survived but thrived during the pandemic thanks to the business acumen and creativity of PMPs, product suppliers and other industry stakeholders.
Anderson, who holds an MBA in Finance and Operations Management from The Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, echoed Good’s comments, urging UPFDA members to take a strategic interest in their customers’ businesses.
“You need to be more strategic today and you need to help PMPs be more strategic today than in the past,” he said, because the industry is a fleet-based, route-based business that is under enormous inflationary pressure due to skyrocketing fuel, labor and vehicle replacement costs. “And we’re still recovering from what happened in Q2” of 2020, when the pandemic caused numerous lockdowns and business closures. “It’s hard to imagine that there’s not a recession on the horizon,” he said.
Jeff Braun, CEO of Primera, a member-owned cooperative of independent distributors serving the pest control, turf and ornamental markets, followed Anderson on the program. In his high-energy session titled, “Positive Connection in a Seemingly Always Connected World,” Braun shared valuable insights about how to build and connect world-class teams that transform organizations.
“Connections are mutual,” he said. “There have to be benefits for both (parties),” citing the work of Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor, author and podcast host, who describes connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
“A true positive connection gives more than it receives,” Braun observed, walking attendees through an exercise whereby they created their own “Personal Connection Plan.”
Rounding out the educational portion of the program was a second presentation by Good titled, “How Suppliers Can Help PMPs Achieve Their Goals.”
Corporate sponsors for the UPFDA Spring Conference included Bell Laboratories, Superior Angran, Catchmaster, Nisus, PCT and Forshaw.
To learn more about UPFDA or to become a member, visit www.upfda.com or contact Executive Director Andrea Coron at 540-681-2114.
UPFDA Unveils New Logo, Industry PR Campaign
The Public Relations Committee has been busy this past year, with the association’s new logo and a PR campaign extolling the benefits of UPFDA membership unveiled at the Spring Conference.
The new logo features a contemporary font and the tagline: “Suppliers of Industry Solutions.”
The centerpiece of the PR campaign is a series of ads featuring UPFDA members describing why they and their companies benefit from UPFDA membership. The series of five ads feature Cisse Spragins, Rockwell Labs; Tom Forshaw, Forshaw, Inc.; Berry Cothern, Syngenta; Jackie Angulo, Superior Angran; and Karen Furgiuele, Gardex Chemicals. The ads will appear in the industry’s trade publications throughout the coming year.
“Thank you to each of the UPFDA members who were kind enough to be featured in the ads and share their comments about why they value UPFDA,” Committee Chairperson Dan Moreland said.
The program for the ICUP 2022 conference, which will be held at the Pompeu Fabra University, in Barcelona, Spain, June 27-29, 2022. is now available.
Download the program at www.icup2022.com/index.php/programme/programme-at-a-glance and then click on the ⊕ symbol (plus symbol) the titles of the presentations for each session are shown
After each plenary session there are several parallel sessions with speakers from around the world. These deal with specific topics such as mosquitoes, termites, bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, rodents and birds and cover both chemical and non-chemical control. In addition, there is a poster session and a range of workshops where delegates have the opportunity to discuss particular topics in more detail.
The 2022 organising team, chaired by Dr Rubén Bueno from Laboratorios Lokímica explains: “The team has worked hard pulling together what promises to be another stimulating and productive event. In total, the programme comprises around 70 oral presentations and 50 posters which will appeal to all involved in urban pests and their management.”