In Memoriam: Dr. Charles Wright

Departments - News

December 6, 2021


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The pest control industry mourns the loss of Dr. Charles Wright, longtime entomology professor at North Carolina State University, who passed on Nov. 14, at 91.

A native of Boynton, Pa., Wright earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science from the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. in entomology from N.C. State. Following a stint as technical director of Wilson Pest Control, Winston-Salem, N.C., Wright returned to N.C. State in 1963, where he retired as a professor emeritus in 1995 with more than 150 published research and teaching articles.

One of Wright’s legacies to the pest control industry was serving as the inspiration behind Blanton Whitmire’s crack and crevice technology. In 1997, he secured two Distinguished Professorships on behalf of N.C. State — one of which was established in his name — from Whitmire Research Laboratories.

Wright was a gifted educator who loved to teach and share his knowledge with others. In addition to teaching and mentoring entomology students at N.C. State, Wright was a longtime presenter at North Carolina Pest Management Association training events. In 2011, Wright was recognized as a PCT/Syngenta Crown Leadership Award winner.

In 1953, Wright married Velma Creech, and throughout the years they traveled to all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. In earlier years, they were members of Hillyer Memorial Christian Church and, more recently, Cross Assembly. He also conducted genealogical research and a number of articles have been published on his findings.

Wright was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Velma C. Wright, daughter Lisa (Lawrence) and his granddaughter, Myah.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association (


Dr. Coby Schal Remembers Charlie Wright

Editor’s note: Dr. Coby Schal, the Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University’s Department of Plant Pathology, penned the following tribute to his longtime colleague and friend.

Charlie was the most modest, mild-mannered, stay-in-the background, yet highly accomplished professor I have known. He savored educating and mentoring students in the science and art of structural pest management and promoting the professional growth of PMPs. Even before joining N.C. State as a professor, I was well-aware of Charlie’s philosophy that pest control in and around homes should not rely on broadcast applications of pesticide formulations that were developed for agricultural crop protection. Charlie was greatly influenced by the residential residue analysis of his long-term colleague Ross Leidy, and developed the perspective that the ecology of indoor pests and their proximity to humans — especially children — should prescribe safer alternatives. Together with Mr. Whitmire, president of Whitmire Research Laboratories, Charlie documented that targeting the cracks and crevices that harbor pests not only reduced the amount of insecticides used, but also their translocation and contamination of other household surfaces. Charlie served as the scientific inspiration for Mr. Whitmire’s ideas and his N.C. State research program generated empirical evidence for these concepts.

Through his long-term collaboration with Dr. Wright, Mr. Whitmire recognized the importance of research and higher education to his industry, and he endowed two professorships in the entomology department at N.C. State. When I arrived at N.C. State as the inaugural Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor, Charlie greeted me with kindness and Southern hospitality. He immediately introduced me to his two masters students, who later completed their Ph.D. with me. He introduced me to leaders of the North Carolina Pest Control Association (most of whom he mentored), and he and Gene Dupree, his longtime research associate, took me to Southeast N.C. counties to see for myself that indoor pests have not read the “urban entomology” texts — they are quite content infesting rural and agricultural trailer parks in Duplin and Sampson counties.

Charlie and I had very different backgrounds that informed our urban entomology viewpoints. Nevertheless, we connected on so many levels; most importantly, we converged on the idea that indoor pests are harmful and need to be eradicated rather than “managed” — a philosophy that continues to guide my research. Many of his colleagues in urban entomology were unaware of his zeal to right the wrongs of income inequality and institutional poverty. He understood environmental injustice before the term was coined, and understood that insect pests were major contributors to health disparities in low-income rural and urban communities.

Charlie’s legacy lives with the dozens of PMPs he trained and mentored, including some of the leaders of the pest management industry, and with the social consciousness he instilled in his mentees.

Lee Barrett Promoted To President of Nisus Corporation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nisus Corporation announced the appointment of Lee Barrett as company president. Barrett was formerly vice president of the Nisus pest control division.

Lee Barrett

According to Barrett, “The opportunity to lead such an outstanding company is an honor, and I am excited about working with all our divisions to move the company into the next phase of our growth.”

Formerly with U.S. Borax, Barrett joined Nisus in 1999 as director of sales for the Western Division, when Nisus acquired the sales and marketing rights to the Tim-Bor Professional product. In 2009, he was promoted to director of new business development and international sales, where he serviced national builder clients and formed relationships with new builder prospects, focusing on regional and national builders. Barrett also took a leadership role in securing business in the international market.

In 2012, Barrett was promoted to divisional vice president, domestic/international pest control, where he has been responsible for the sales and profitability of Nisus’s Pest Control Division. For the last nine years, Barrett has dedicated himself to developing a seasoned sales team for the pest control industry while strengthening relationships with customers and distributors. Barrett succeeds Kevin L. Kirkland, president and CEO of Nisus, who retired in November. According to Barrett, “Kevin Kirkland is a hard act to follow; he has guided the growth of Nisus Corporation for 22 years, all while consistently delivering profit and growth and creating three new divisions over his tenure.”


PestTech 2021 Returns to In-Person Event

Editor’s note: Frances McKim, a U.K.-based freelance journalist, who was a co-founder of the independent Pest magazine and its accompanying website, Pest+, recently returned from PestTech 2021 held in Milton Keynes, U.K., Nov. 10, and filed the following report.

NPTA Chief Operating Office Steve Hallam (far left) and the NPTA organizing team.

MILTON KEYNES, U.K. — Organized by the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA), PestTech is a leading autumn U.K. event for pest management professionals. Held this year on Nov. 10, in Milton Keynes, U.K., this one-day event was supported by more than 1,000 attendees, a full exhibit hall and packed technical seminars.

Without a doubt, the atmosphere was upbeat; everyone was pleased to once again be out and about, meeting friends and colleagues and catching up on industry news.

The exhibition hall was buzzing with all the expected companies in attendance. Formerly trading in Europe as Pelsis (the owners of B&G and Curtis Dyna-Fog), the company took the opportunity to showcase its new name and identity — Edialux Professional Products.

The booths of international companies, such as Bell Laboratories, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF and PelGar, were manned by their U.K.-based staff. Kness proved the exception to the rule, as Joseph Belcher made the journey from the U.S. However, international visitors were much reduced. Commenting on the event, NPTA COO Steve Hallam, said, “Wow. This was a fantastic event enjoyed by all. It was great to be back to some sort of normality. My thanks goes to all those who supported PestTech as well as the NPTA organizing team. Roll on PestTech 2022.”

One cloud is emerging on the horizon.Although the U.K. pest control industry has fared well during the pandemic, like other industries throughout the world, it is facing supply problems. Manufacturing disruptions, coupled with Brexit issues, has led to shortages of goods ranging from pest control products all the way through to building materials and vehicles.



WorkWave Announces Football Legend Theismann As Keynote Speaker

HOLMDEL, N.J. — WorkWave announced NFL football legend Joe Theismann as this year’s keynote speaker at the 2022 Beyond Service User Conference, which combines three field service conferences into a single event for professionals and leaders across the industry.

At the conference, Theismann will share how passion, leadership and teamwork create a comprehensive game plan for success, and how an effective leader empowers individuals to step out of their comfort zones to achieve a higher level of performance.

Prior to his career-shortening, gruesome leg injury against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in 1985, Theismann led his team to the Super Bowl XVII championship, was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and was twice named both the Pro Bowl’s Most Valuable Player and the NFL’s Man of the Year. He is currently a world-class entrepreneur, WorkWave reports, and well known for his longstanding community service efforts for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

The conference will be held Jan. 9-12, at the Renaissance Orlando and, in addition to this year’s keynote, will feature thought leadership sessions and customer success stories across multiple learning tracks. Customers of PestPac, ServMan, Real Green, Coalmarch and Slingshot will have exclusive access to this event and its educational sessions.

For more information about WorkWave and the Beyond Service User Conference, visit


McCall Service Hosts First Commercial Pest Management Summit

TAMPA, Fla. — More than 110 attendees gathered in Tampa, Fla., for McCall Service’s first annual Commercial Pest Management Summit on Sept. 24. Originally scheduled for February 2020, the event was postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. McCall said it was determined to keep the event on the calendar and provide a resource for CEUs, networking and speakers.

The event drew 37 vendors, along with PCOs and food safety professionals from Florida and Georgia. It provided a platform for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pest Management University, Quality Pro and the National Wildlife Control Operators Association to demonstrate resources.

The event was headlined by Dr. Bobby Corrigan of RMC Pest Management Consulting. Many of the speakers directed their presentations to building a true Integrated Pest Management program for clients by using a detailed inspection or facility assessment.

A raffle prize drawing raised more than $1,200 for the Florida Pest Management Association Foundation. More than 25 prizes were donated by McCall and other vendors.


PestSure Holds Annual Safety and Loss Prevention Conference in Florida

CLEARWATER, Fla. — PestSure, an insurance provider dedicated to and owned by pest control professionals, hosted its annual Safety and Loss Prevention Conference in Clearwater, Fla., Oct. 5-6, to further the pursuit of creating an industry-wide culture of safety.

The two-day event drew more than 100 pest management professionals looking to learn and share safety and risk management best practices. Attendees participated in multiple sessions focused on safer fleet management, improving safety culture, the cryptic world of experience modifiers and how to navigate the changing insurance marketplace.

“The Safety and Loss Prevention Conference is part of PestSure’s secret sauce,” said Todd Burke, COO of PestSure. “The agenda is stacked with timely and relevant topics that are specific to pest control, and the collaborative spirit the industry is known for is evident with attendees.”

Burke added, “There is no meeting like it in the industry, and our insureds receive tremendous value by attending.”

Featured presentations covered topics impacting the way the pest control industry designs and conducts its safety and risk management practices, including:

  • Commercial Vehicle Lawsuit Reform, Bobby Jenkins, ABC Home & Commercial
  • Surveillance and the Claims Industry, Kevin Lederer, Go Command
  • Drug Laws and Employees, Bill Judge, Drug Screening Compliance
  • Risk Reduction from Cyber Threats, David Finz, Alliant

Thompson Street Announces Formation of Pest Control Holding Company

Attendees of the recent McCall Service Commercial Pest Management Summit.

ST. LOUIS — Thompson Street Capital Partners (TSCP), a private equity firm based in St. Louis, has partnered with pest control industry executive Jay Keating to form an acquisition company, PestCo Holdings. The company said the move was made “in order to consolidate the highly fragmented pest control industry. The partnership will focus on acquiring companies and assets as part of a strategy to build a market-leading pest control business.”

“We are excited to partner with Jay as part of this new endeavor,” said TSCP Managing Director Jeff Aiello. “There is fierce competition for quality talent in the pest control industry, and after nearly a year of searching we are confident we found the right partner to help us consolidate this industry, drive organic growth and create a market-leading integrated platform.”

Keating brings 25 years of pest control industry expertise to the new platform, starting as a technician and rising to become vice president of operations and COO at Sears Pest Control. Keating went on to work in both regional and division roles for the Southeast Division of Orkin from 2001 to 2014 before assuming the role of president and COO of Spraggins, a residential construction company based in Orlando, Fla.

“TSCP has a long and successful track record of executing the buy-and-build strategy in fragmented markets,” Thompson Street Capital Managing Partner Bob Dunn added. “With past roll-up successes in retail audiology clinics, commercial fire safety, self-storage, and plumbing/HVAC home services, we believe we have the experience needed to successfully execute on this thesis.”

PestSure COO Todd Burke presents at the general session.

Keating remains passionate about the pest control industry and says he sees great opportunities for growth via a strategic rollup within the space, focusing on specific geographies, sales strategies and collective corporate values.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with TSCP to build a leading pest control company,” said Keating. “TSCP is an ideal partner with a demonstrated track record of working well with founder-owned businesses, demonstrating integrity, exceptional analytical horsepower, and enabling growth by providing the partnership and resources required to build successful companies.”

Thompson Street Capital’s PestCo Holdings Acquires Presto Pest Control

ST. LOUIS — Thompson Street Capital announced its portfolio company PestCo Holdings acquired the assets of Presto Pest Control. Located in Telford, Pa., and founded in 1999, Presto Pest Control is a provider of commercial pest control services in the middle Atlantic market, with a particular focus on serving the restaurant industry. Presto is PestCo’s first acquisition. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Jay Keating, CEO of PestCo, said, “Presto is an ideal starting point for our consolidation efforts at PestCo. Ken Fox has built a high-quality organization over many years with a concentrated footprint in attractive markets in the middle Atlantic. We are excited to partner with Presto’s employees to help accelerate Presto’s growth.”

Ken Fox, founder of Presto, added, “Presto has taken great pride in consistently delivering aggressive service coupled with a personalized approach from our technicians and people in the office. This business model has resulted in consistent organic growth along with phenomenal customer retention.

“We chose to partner with TSCP because of their demonstrated ability to take Presto to the next level by their commitment to maximizing growth opportunities and cultivating synergistic deals yet maintaining the culture of Presto Pest Control. The future has never looked brighter for Presto’s customers and employees.”

Presto was advised by Paul Giannamore, managing director at The Potomac Company.


BedBug Central Announced It is Now TRNZ4m

TRENTON, N.J. — BedBug Central announced its rebranding as TRNZ4m, along with its website launch and a new hire.

“Being bold and audacious at our core, we decided during one of the most challenging times in history to take the necessary steps towards our rebranding efforts,” said Robert DiJoseph, TRNZ4m COO.

DiJoseph said that during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the company started the process to rebrand into TRNZ4m, leaving BedBug Central behind.

“Although BedBug Central saw tremendous success and recognition over the past decade, we started to venture into other avenues, so the name no longer reflected the company,” said DiJoseph. “Of course, it will always be the core of the company, but it wasn’t what defined us any longer. We’ve taken the steps to expand beyond bed bugs into other pest products, as well as educational offerings, so we wanted to create a brand the reflected everything we’ve been working towards, and that is TRNZ4m.”

TRNZ4m’s family of companies include the SenSci product line and the Evolve YT Supervisor Development courses.

DiJoseph said that although the company’s name and appearance may have changed, the values are still there.

“TRNZ4m is devoted to growing businesses while transforming minds by providing effective, affordable pest control products and educational platforms,” he said. “We believe in living by our core values to deliver the greatest products we can to our clients that will in return grow their business now and into the future.”

Along with the new name and look, TRNZ4m launched its new website,, and welcomed Allison Berg to the team. Berg, TRNZ4m’s new client acquisition coordinator, has more than 14 years of experience in the pest control industry and looks forward to making her mark with TRNZ4m.

“I’m really excited to join the TRNZ4m team and help grow the business through new client acquisitions,” Berg said. “It’ll be a new twist to take my knowledge on selling the products from a pest management company perspective to the manufacturing side, but I’m looking forward to developing many more relationships and partnerships on this journey.”


In Memoriam: Richard Kammerling


NEW YORK — Richard Kammerling, an early adopter of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) whose career in pest control and food safety spanned 50 years, passed away on Nov. 21. He was 80.

Respected by colleagues for his commitment to IPM, Kammerling’s business, RK Pest Management Services, Huntington Station, N.Y., developed new technologies; conducted pest management inspections; provided technical support; and designed food safety and IPM programs.

He is remembered as an important “sounding board” and mentor to others in pest control and food safety. Many of his business relationships evolved into lasting friendships.

Kammerling is survived by Rosalie, his wife of 56 years; the couple’s four daughters; and seven grandchildren.

To support Kammerling’s volunteerism, the family asks that donations be sent to the Harry Chapin Fund, or Long Island Cares .

Read colleague comments about Kammerling.