BATON ROUGE, La. — Doug MacPherson, longtime owner of Dugas Pest Control and former NPMA president, passed away on Jan. 14, from COVID-19 complications. He was 89.
An Ohio native and Korean War veteran, MacPherson became involved in the pest control industry after graduating from Ohio State University in 1955. His first job in the pest control industry was as a pest control business franchisee, then later as a manager for Redd Pest Control in Mississippi.
In 1973, MacPherson purchased Dugas Pest Control, and he grew that company into a large pest control firm, serving Baton Rouge, La., and surrounding areas. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, MacPherson began transitioning leadership of Dugas to his daughter, Laura Simpson. He remained active with the company until 2003.
Simpson said the key to her dad’s success was that he was fair and respectful to his employees. “Between watching him and then doing it myself, I learned very, very early that your people are everything.”
MacPherson also took an active role in associations, serving as president of the Louisiana Pest Management Association (1971) and the National Pest Management Association (1979 – 1980).
One of MacPherson’s greatest contributions to the pest management industry was as a founder of LIPCA, an insurance agency for the pest control industry. During the mid-1980s, pest control companies in Louisiana (and other parts of the country) were struggling to get their general liability policies renewed by insurance providers. MacPherson and other pest control owners in Louisiana joined forces, found investors and formed LIPCA as a stock insurance company. In order to become a member of the Louisiana Pest Management Association, a pest control company had to be a LIPCA policy holder. As a result, Simpson noted that at one time 90 percent of PCOs in the state of Louisiana were LPMA members, which made the association one of the strongest in the country.
Simpson, whose background is in accounting, joined Dugas full time in 1979, learning all aspects of the business from her dad until she felt comfortable leading the company (becoming the primary license holder of Dugas Pest Control in 1996). Under Simpson’s leadership, Dugas continued its growth, becoming one of the largest independently owned pest control businesses in Louisiana, with 34 employees servicing Southeast Louisiana at the time of its sale to Rentokil in 2018. Simpson also became an association leader, serving as NPMA president in 2013-2014. Simpson’s family is still involved in the pest control industry. Her son, Jeremy Clark, is a Rentokil district manager, overseeing the Dugas operation. Clark is an LPMA past president, former NPMA board member, and he is married to Julie Tesh, daughter of Pest Management Inc. (PMi) Owner Billy Tesh.
MacPherson is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joanna Penn MacPherson; and his daughters, Laura Simpson (Floyd); Traci MacPherson and Kelly Johannessen (Bob); grandchildren, Jeremy Clark (Julie), James Clark (Natalie), Alex Day (Danielle), Suzanne Otwell (Travis), Andrew Jones, Rob and Anna Johannessen; and eight great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge or NPMA's Pest Management Foundation.