ORLANDO – Representatives from 38 of this year’s PCT Top 100 companies took time out of their schedules to reflect on this past year’s successes at the PCT Top 100 Awards Ceremony and Industry Summit, held this week in Orlando and sponsored by Syngenta. PCT Publisher Jodi Dorsch noted that the last time PCT honored Top 100 companies at an in-person event was 2018, and “comparing this year’s list and event to 2018 is not even like comparing apples and oranges. It’s like comparing apples and Jupiter. So much has happened in the past four years.”
For example, in 2019 nine companies were acquired from the prior year. From 2019 to 2020, 10 companies were purchased. From 2020 to 2021, seven companies were purchased. In this year’s issue, only one company was purchased from last year’s list to this year’s.
Dorsch then presented plaques to Top 100 companies and provided brief overviews of each firm, including company history/milestones; recent accomplishments; employee achievements; fun facts; and more.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the two-day event included:
• A fireside chat between Dorsch and Dave Fisher, senior vice president, Rentokil North America. Fisher provided insights into Rentokil Initial’s pending acquisition of Terminix, the largest merger in the history of the pest control industry. Fisher said the merger makes sense for Rentokil on multiple levels. “The [Terminix] business has a really strong brand and strong recognition. And we are happy with the systems they have in place and where they are going,” he said. “From our perspective, Terminix has one of the strongest residential brands and that is something Rentokil can really benefit from. That combined with Rentokil's focus on the commercial brand and global market, makes it a really good partnership opportunity. It certainly gives us the opportunity to scale and reach markets all throughout the country and, in some places, throughout the globe.”
The question Fisher said he most often receives is about branding. Fisher said the process for rebranding Rentokil-Terminix will include working with 3rd party input, thinking strategically about different services they provide (commercial, residential and termite) and being respectful of existing Rentokil brands (e.g., Ehrlich Pest Control, Presto-X, Western Exterminator, Florida Pest Control, etc.).
• Communication expert Dave Mitchell gave the keynote presentation on “The Power of Understanding People.” Mitchell said people fall into 1 of 4 styles: Romantics (value relationships); Warriors (value results); Experts (value consistency); and Masterminds (value innovation). As a leader your job is to understand and adapt to each of your employees' styles.
• At the session “Why Diversity Is Good for Your Business,” Brandon Bell, diversity and inclusion lead at Syngenta North America, encouraged company leaders to ask themselves: “I wonder if how I show up, how I lead, how I manage, impacts the innovation [my team is] bringing to the table? Have I really created that space?” His session focused on why having a diversified workforce is not only beneficial but crucial to a company’s success. Bell provided attendees with actionable steps to foster a more inclusive workplace as leaders, such as withholding judgement when interacting with diverse teammates, being transparent and consistent when making decisions, encouraging feedback from employees in the decision-making process and being open to seeing the world through the lens of others when conversing with them.
Bell then moderated a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion, during which speakers Kevin Burns, chief development officer, Arrow Exterminators; Dr. Hamilton Allen, Florida Region technical director, HomeTeam Pest Defense; and Aly Silva Mulgrew, director of innovation and support services, Plunkett’s Pest Control; discussed action steps their companies are taking to implement DE&I. Being open-minded and fostering candid conversations with employees can go a long way in creating a more inclusive workplace, the speakers said. As Burns reminded attendees, educating yourself about diversity and inclusion is an ongoing journey, and “you’re never really going to get to the end in learning.”
Silva Mulgrew challenged leaders to venture outside their comfort zones daily. “It’s human nature sometimes to want to choose the easy path,” she said. “For example, if I go into a room, I’m going to gravitate to the people I know. But sometimes it’s actually better as a leader at an organization to gravitate toward the people that I don’t know. And that’s where it takes work. … I think that’s where, as leaders, we can shine, is making the choice every day to just, in one conversation or one meeting, doing something different that what we naturally do, because we will always naturally choose the easy and comfortable.”
• A panel discussion moderated by PCT’s Brad Harbison on “Why Philanthropy Matters” included Bill Hoffman, owner of Hoffman’s Exterminating, Maple Shade, N.J.; Scarlett Nolen, president of Truly Nolen of America; and Bobby Jenkins, president of ABC Home & Commercial Services, Austin, Texas. While most people think of the impact charity work has on those who receive it, what it means to employees is huge. Hoffman provided the example of a quiet intern at his company who flourished when he donned the Hoffman bumblebee mascot costume and brought joy to a child with autism. Nolen said one of the best things that companies of any size can do to give back to the community is to be involved with schools. She recently participated in a career day and team members are encouraged to give “good bug, bad bug” presentations at schools. “It really shows our perspective about who we are as an industry, what we really stand for, and the impact to the environment that we have when we engage with the schools.” Jenkins said he thinks of a business philanthropy as a win-win-win proposition: good for the charity, good for employees and good for business. The impact of employees being involved in philanthropy cannot be overstated, he said. “When we go do something together, the team becomes that much tighter. And that culture that's been talked about so much…when you're able to build a culture where people are doing something other than their job together. Now, now we're now striking a core. Now we're doing something important.”
• Tony Massey, president and CEO of Massey Services, Inc., served as ambassador to PCT Top 100 event host city Orlando. Massey noted that despite the city's reputation as a tourist destination roughly 2/3 of its residents work in life sciences, health care, innovative technologies and consumer services (e.g., pest control).