JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — David Cooksey, former co-owner of McCall Service, passed away on May 14. He was 53.
In addition to his involvement with McCall Service (sold to Rollins in January), Cooksey served his country, retiring from the United States Air Force as a colonel. He joined the United States Air Force on July 5, 1985, when he became a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He graduated from the Academy May 31, 1989, with a bachelor of science in political science and government. As a second lieutenant, he was an intelligence and communications officer at Shaw Air Force Base. Cooksey was part of the initial cadre of forces that deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. While deployed, Cooksey prepared the infrastructure to support the deployment of over 500,000 troops to the region. Cooksey was vital to the detection and warning of incoming missile attacks on troops, and providing the intelligence to support the location and destruction of Iraqi missile launchers. Cooksey also served in Operation Enduring Freedom and spent significant time in Combined Joint Operations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Djibouti.
In 1995, after completing his MBA at the University of South Carolina, Cooksey separated from the USAF to work in his family’s business, McCall Service. Cooksey served McCall Service as its CFO and eventually co-owned it with his brothers. Cooksey and his brothers were able to grow the business into one of the largest pest control companies in the United States with a base of customers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
As a direct result of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, Cooksey felt again called to the military, and he joined the USAF Reserve as an aircraft maintenance officer. The flexibility of the Reserves allowed Cooksey to continue working at McCall Service, while dedicating time to also be in the Air Force. Initially assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, Cooksey ultimately was the operations officer for the organization, and was responsible for ensuring the base’s aircraft were fully operational, safe and ready to fly. In 2010, Cooksey transferred to Patrick AFB in Florida, where he rose through the ranks to become the base’s Deputy Group Commander. Cooksey was promoted to colonel and led the deployment of his unit to Djibouti. In Djibouti, they were responsible for counterterrorism missions against Isis and Boko Haram terrorists. After a distinguished career in the service of his country, Cooksey retired from the Reserves in 2017.
Cooksey enjoyed teaching a class on family business at the University of North Florida. Additionally, he was the current vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association and would have assumed the role of president in January 2023.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Bayside Wounded Warrior Fund. Donations should be made payable to the Bayside Wounded Warrior Fund and sent to: Attn: Andrew Wilfong, 1048 Anchor Rd., St. Johns, FL 32259.
UPFDA Looks to the Future at Virtual Spring Conference
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — The early days of the pandemic had a number of ramifications for the pest control industry in 2020, with one of the most notable being the cancellation of the UPFDA Spring Conference, an annual event attended by the industry’s product manufacturers, formulators and distributors.
Entering the second year of the pandemic, with conference and trade show activity still in the early stages of recovery, much like the overall economy, the UPFDA board of directors decided to hold this year’s event virtually rather than return to an in-person event, with positive results.
In kicking off the half-day meeting, UPFDA President Thomas Forshaw IV said hosting the Spring Conference virtually represented an opportunity “to get more people from each of our companies educated and involved,” while reaching out to industry colleagues who may not have attended an UPFDA event in the past.
“I believe that in order for UPFDA to remain a healthy and viable organization, the association must grow,” he said. “We must be able to articulate the value UPFDA provides.”
And while everyone would agree it has been a challenging year, UPFDA members have much to be thankful for, according to Forshaw, president of Forshaw. “The first thing I’m thankful for is that I’m part of the pest management industry, an industry that was classified as essential last year,” he said, “and an industry that saw growth in a year our country’s GDP shrank. The second thing I’m thankful for is 2021 is off to a great start.”
But to sustain that growth, while continuing to ensure UPFDA remains a vital and vibrant presence in the pest management industry for years to come, the organization must establish a long-term vision and enhance its brand, according to Forshaw, which is why the organization’s board of directors recently formed a Strategic Planning Committee led by Jacqueline Angulo, CEO of Superior Angran.
As part of the strategic planning effort, UPFDA retained the services of consultant Mark DiNunzio, president of MarketPoint Solutions. “This committee is working to create a plan to revitalize UPFDA’s branding and develop a strategic plan to help guide the association’s direction in the future,” Forshaw said. “The Strategic Planning Committee is in the process of developing measurable goals and creating a strategic roadmap to help us achieve those goals.”
Angulo then introduced DiNunzio, who provided an overview of the Strategic Planning Committee’s work thus far, with the goal of “future-proofing the association. Lots of industry associations have experienced challenges, not just last year, but even in preceding years,” DiNunzio said, so it’s always good to step back and assess “what value it brings to its members,” establishing a comprehensive roadmap that will “enhance and expand that value proposition” moving forward.
To achieve that goal, the committee is taking a three-phase approach to the project. Phase 1 will focus on building a vision and mission for the future with measurable objectives put in place. Phase 2 will involve the creation of a strategic plan that is developed with the input from all UPFDA committees. And Phase 3 will focus on how to “communicate a really strong value proposition moving forward,” DiNunzio said.
In commenting on UPFDA’s progress thus far, Forshaw said, “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jackie and everybody working on the Strategic Planning Committee for the energy that you’ve invested to make us a strong organization.”
The rest of the half-day conference was devoted to educational sessions focusing on such diverse topics as how to develop “Sustainable Protocols and Strategies for Continued Growth and Development,” led by Greg Clendenin, CEO of The Clendenin Consulting Group; “Achieving B2B Customer Intimacy,” featuring DiNunzio; and a highly anticipated keynote address by U.S. Air Force Retired Lt. Col. Kevin Sweeney, who shared his experiences as a decorated pilot during the Gulf War to communicate the five principles of “Pressure Cooker Confidence — How to Lead When the Heat is On.”
Clendenin, who played a pivotal role in the growth of such well-known companies as Middleton Pest Control and Sears Termite & Pest Control, shared how any organization — large or small — can achieve exponential growth. First and foremost, he said, “growth is a mindset” that starts with a company’s leadership. “If you can’t see it in your mind’s eye, you can’t do it.”
In the conference’s keynote address, Sweeney shared a real-life experience of how to lead during a crisis when the KC-135 tanker aircraft he was commanding lost two engines in a combat sortie during Operation Desert Storm.
Despite overwhelming odds, Sweeney and his crew of four, who were all awarded the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross for their heroism, successfully landed the plane in Saudi Arabia after stabilizing the aircraft mid-flight.
The UPFDA Virtual Spring Conference also featured presentations by Kristi Wells, who shared information about the Safe House Project, a national leader in the fight against sex trafficking in America; and Cindy Mannes, NPMA vice president of public affairs, who updated members on the association’s Workforce Development Initiative.
To learn more about UPFDA or to become a member, visit upfda.com, email email@example.com, or call 540/681-2114. — Dan Moreland
PMPs Report Emergence of Brood X Cicadas
BELTSVILLE, Md. — While pest management professionals are mostly focused on structural pests this summer, another type of insect is capturing the public’s imagination: Brood X of the 17-year periodical cicada, Magicicada spp.
Prior to their emergence, Brood X had spent the past 17 years living underground as nymphs, feeding on the sap of plant roots and developing to maturity. They began emerging after the first ground thaw of 64°F. What’s unique about Brood X is that all the cicadas of the brood — up to 1.5 million per acre — emerge from their nymphal homes not over a season or even a couple weeks, but within a few nights of each other.
While there are several periodical cicada broods, Brood X is the one usually in the headlines because it emerges in such large numbers and, in many instances, in densely populated areas in the central and eastern U.S.“
They started really getting crazy (in mid-May),” said Brian Schoonmaker, president of Capitol Pest, Beltsville, Md. “They are everywhere. I have thousands and thousands in my yard. I probably have an entire trash bag full just on my driveway.”
Like Maryland, Indiana is another state where cicadas are emerging. “Mainly in the Indianapolis, Louisville (Ky.), Jasper and Terre Haute markets,” said Scott Robbins, technical services manager, Action Pest Control, Evansville, Ind. “Other than answering occasional customer questions, we aren’t doing anything service-related. Still, it’s an interesting regional event for bug geeks!”
One such bug enthusiast is Kathy Heinsohn, technical & training entomologist, American Pest, Fulton, Md., who sent PCT a video of cicadas making noise (downloadable here). She said, “I love this video because of the sound. They are in the tree tops but so loud. And exuviae of nymphs are toward the bottom trunk of the tree.”
As Robbins noted, customer education is the primary focus for pest management companies — something echoed by Frank Meek, technical services manager at Rollins. “We don’t ever want to go out there and start making pesticide applications or anything like that to try to control this. It’s a waste of chemicals, it’s a waste of time and it’s a waste of money. And it’s a danger to the environment.”
In terms of customer education, Meek encourages pest management professionals to explain to customers that cicadas are part of nature. “Educate them on what’s going to happen, what to expect, what to see and assure them there’s no damage going to be done to their property. And that that sound is going to go away in just a week or so.”
Meek added that cicadas can’t damage established trees, but if customers are concerned about damage cicadas might cause to new trees, they can tie tape tree strips around tree bases and/or loosely attach netting around the base (just below a tree’s limbs). — Brad Harbison
Pelsis Group Announces Acquisition of Bird-B-Gone
JACKSON, Ga. – Pelsis Group, a global manufacturer of pest control products, in May announced that it had acquired Bird-B-Gone, a leading manufacturer of humane bird deterrents. Bird-B-Gone joins Pelsis Group’s portfolio of pest management products, which includes B&G Equipment, Curtis Dyna-Fog and Edialux. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Bringing Bird-B-Gone into the Pelsis family of brands fits within our strategy of adding companies that are leaders in their category, and it brings two of the biggest brands in the pest and bird control categories together under one roof,” said Andrew Milner, chief executive at Pelsis Group. “The acquisition of Bird-B-Gone will allow us to equip pest control operators with additional products and solutions backed by our mutual commitment to purposeful innovation, investment and customer service.”
Founded in 1992 by Bruce and Julie Donoho, Pelsis said Bird-B-Gone has built a worldwide reputation for a large selection of high-quality products backed by superior training, technical support and service excellence. The company manufactures its products in the U.S. and offers free hands-on bird control training through its Bird-B-Gone University.
“Julie and I have been blessed by the opportunity to build Bird-B-Gone into the company it is today, and we know that our employees and customers – who we truly consider to be our family and friends – will be in great hands,” said Bruce Donoho, founder and CEO of Bird-B-Gone. “We recognized that to keep growing we needed to align ourselves with a company that shared our vision and provided the right synergies. Bird-B-Gone will benefit from Pelsis’ commitment to invest in manufacturing excellence, innovation and service. We are proud to become part of a family of brands that are united by the common goal of producing the best pest control and deterrent equipment in the world.”
Bird-B-Gone will continue to be headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., which is also where the company’s products are manufactured. David Smith will continue in his role as chief operating officer for Bird-B-Gone and will report to Todd Pawlowski, general manager for the Americas for Pelsis, who also has responsibility for B&G Equipment and Curtis Dyna-Fog. Bruce and Julie Donoho will serve as strategic consultants for a period of time to help integrate Bird-B-Gone into the Pelsis organization.
Black Ownership Matters Adds Advisers Zia Siddiqi and Genma Holmes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In May, the Black Ownership Matters executive board unanimously approved Dr. Zia Siddiqi and Genma Holmes as advisers.
Siddiqi has 40 years of experience in urban, industrial and public pest management, working throughout North America. His experience includes 18 years working for Orkin, where he designed and managed pest management programs for various national and local customers, representing clients from retail to food manufacturing/processing/storing/serving businesses. He currently serves as a consultant and is a technical support specialist for manufacturer RodentBloc.
Holmes is the owner of Holmes Pest Control, Nashville, Tenn., and is a serial entrepreneur. She is the executive producer of Living Your Best Life Radio, and the editor-in-chief of GSH Publishing. She has created, managed and branded numerous award-winning social media campaigns for not-profits and for-profit organizations.
Black Ownership Matters is the recently formed organization that provides support and promotes Black economic advancement in the field of pest management. Learn more at www.blackownershipmatters.org.
AMVAC Rebrands as AMGUARD Environmental Technologies
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — American Vanguard Corporation (AVD) announced that AMVAC Environmental Products (AEP) — a provider of chemistries and low-impact solutions to the professional pest, public health, golf, lawn care and ornamental markets — is rebranding its businesses and will operate under the new name AMGUARD Environmental Technologies.
The name change reflects AMGUARD’s strategic commitment to providing a compelling portfolio of technology and innovative solutions to the markets it serves.
In addition to its recently announced strategic integration with OHP, the shift of AEP to its new AMGUARD identity is part of the company’s long-term strategy to grow and redefine its position in non-crop and highly technical markets through portfolio expansion, innovation, licensing and strategic acquisitions.
From its headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., AMGUARD and its family of professional and specialty brands will leverage expanded supply chain, operations and financial management capabilities across the business to support its growth and portfolio initiatives.
The AMGUARD name — a derivative of “American Vanguard” — ties to corporate parent AVD and its 50-plus-year history of global excellence as a diversified specialty and agricultural products company focusing on crop protection, turf and ornamental markets and public health applications.
Emphasis on the word “guard” reinforces the company’s mission to help professionals protect and defend against unwanted pests, weeds, diseases and deadly public health vectors.
Use of the phrase “Environmental Technologies” underscores the company’s commitment to being a leading provider of technology and innovation and to addressing the growing demand for low-impact professional solutions.
Terminix Service Donates $1 Million to Support Urban Entomology
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Terminix Service, Columbia, S.C., announced a $1 million gift to launch the Urban Entomology Initiative at Clemson University.
This lead gift will be used to support research, education and training in urban entomology — the study of non-agricultural pests — focusing on solutions to pest problems in and around structures used by people. “The ongoing study of urban entomology delivers crucial information and guidance to pest management professionals across the state,” said Terminix Technical Director and Board Certified Entomologist Kevin Hathorne, a Clemson graduate. “Staying up-to-date on the latest training and best practices is vital for us to deliver quality service to our customers as well as recruit and retain talent.”
Clemson urban entomologists are well-respected in the field, often assisting pest management professionals and citizens in identifying and confronting pest problems such as treatment resistance and new invasive species. Terminix Service has a long history of working with Clemson on the study and responsible management of nuisance pests,
“As a family business, Terminix Service Inc. is deeply committed to bettering the communities where our employees work and live,” said Rion Cobb, vice president of human services. “We appreciate the long-term relationships that have developed over the years with Clemson and are proud to partner with them to protect the health and property of South Carolinians.”
The urban entomology endowment is in partnership with the South Carolina Urban Entomology Charitable Alliance and the South Carolina Pest Control Association, of which Terminix Service is a founding member.
Dr. Stan Cope Named PestVets Veteran of the Year
BAYONNE, N.J. — Dr. Stan Cope, vice president of products and technical services at AP&G, was named the 2021 PestVets Veteran of the Year during the 2021 National Pest Management Association Legislative Day.
The PestVets council serves as a conduit between the pest control industry and veterans who are transitioning into civilian life. Cope has contributed significant time and effort to raise awareness about the industry to the veteran community.
Cope recently traveled to Nashville to make an in-person donation to Operation Stand Down, the charity and beneficiary of PestVets’ annual Day of Service. This donation was used to help furnish housing and create welcome boxes filled with home essentials and a $125 gift card for groceries to veterans.
Cope was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a medical entomologist for 23 years, retiring with the rank of captain. Cope said, “I am honored by this recognition. As a retired captain and 23-year medical entomologist in the United States Navy, nothing brings me greater pleasure than to give back to those who serve. I am proud to be a part of this industry and AP&G for their great support in helping to introduce veterans to a career in pest management.”
Jonathan Frisch, AP&G vice president of sales and marketing, said, “Congratulations, Stan, on this great honor. We admire your dedication to the pest management industry and your commitment to helping fellow veterans.”
Cope will be celebrated in November at PestWorld 2021, in Las Vegas.
WorkWave Announces Acquisition of Slingshot
HOLMDEL, N.J. — WorkWave, a provider of software solutions for field service companies, announced its acquisition of Slingshot, a provider of customer call center software and customer support in the field service market.
“The need to grow their business — to attract, retain and maximize each customer relationship — is what keeps every field service owner and executive awake at night. Slingshot is not just the market leader at helping its customers grow, it is the only organization of its kind in our industry that has a proven track record of using omni-channel communication software to close more deals for its customers,” David F. Giannetto, CEO of WorkWave, said in a press release. “By bringing such an outstanding organization into WorkWave, we will be able to provide unique integrations into our solutions that will increase the unparalleled advantage our customers have over their competition, reinforcing that WorkWave is the premier partner to service organizations.”
WorkWave says Slingshot is unique in that it is the only provider of any scale supporting service organizations, delivering call center software capable of interacting with customers across multiple methods of communication, from phone and SMS to email and chatbot, to not just improve sales for its customers, but also improve the overall customer experience in a cohesive, holistic manner.
Slingshot will continue to support its customers operating on non-WorkWave platforms; however, WorkWave says new integrations with WorkWave solutions will increase the value for customers in the WorkWave family.