FAIRFAX, Va. — For the last 17 years, National Pest Management Association (NPMA) Executive Vice President Rob Lederer had guided the association through a period of significant change and growth. So last week’s announcement that Lederer had resigned, effective immediately, left many unanswered questions for the association and its members.
The announcement itself, made by NPMA President Laura Simpson during a conference call with the NPMA Board of Directors, caught some board members by surprise.
“It was kind of a shock and certainly nothing I wanted to hear because Rob’s a friend of mine,” Mike Rottler, president of Rottler Pest Solutions, told PCT. “[The announcement] really lasted maybe five minutes. They moved on to the convention topics and basically ended it without any discussion — which I thought was a little strange — but, hey, it is what it is.”
Russ Ives, president of Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., said he “had not had any indication, and I don’t think the other members of the executive board had really either.”
Immediate questions about this development, including exactly why Lederer resigned, have yet to be answered. While Lederer will be staying with NPMA for six months in a consulting role, the timing of the resignation — less than a month prior to NPMA PestWorld 2012 — has raised questions among several industry members contacted by PCT. In the release NPMA distributed following the announcement, Lederer stated that it was “time to pursue new challenges,” but he did not expound on his plans.
Simpson told PCT “Rob doesn’t even know yet. He is taking some time to figure that out, and in the meantime he can help us through this transition. He will be available to us [while] he’s looking for a different challenge.”
WHAT’S NEXT? In the wake of the announcement, NPMA’s Executive Committee began making preliminary transition plans.
Simpson said NPMA has decided not to hire an interim executive vice president, but rather NPMA senior staff will divvy up Lederer’s responsibilities. “The team works so well and individually they all have areas of expertise and all work hard," she said. "They will come together as a team to work together. The different functions of Rob’s have been reassigned to senior staff.”
Simpson added that NPMA’s Executive Committee is meeting this week to work out additional details about the transition. She said one member of that group will be visiting NPMA headquarters every week to support NPMA staff and assist in various capacities.
Ives said NPMA is still working through the details of Lederer’s consulting role, but that his involvement in the transition is welcomed. “Seventeen years of experience is something that you don’t write off,” he said. “There are obviously things that will be of importance to the association that he’s probably in the best position to help inform us. I presume as we go through a search process that, similarly, a successor will value whatever input may be provided that way.”
NPMA Executive Board members contacted by PCT expressed confidence that the transition will go smoothly largely because NPMA has a strong and experienced staff in place. Todd Leyse, president of Adam’s Pest Control, Hamel, Minn., said, “I’m sure lots of rumors will fly and staff may be worried and less focused on their job, but long term it should have little effect as our membership is a strong group and the remaining staff are wonderful.”
Ives concurred, adding, “We are blessed with a very seasoned and capable staff. We are fortunate in that so many of the senior staff has been engaged in that for many, many years, so that’s a blessing, and also a credit to a lot of what Rob has done. Not all of them, but most of them have come on during the time that he was there.”
The authors are publisher, editor and managing editor of PCT.