For more than 20 years, Univar’s PestWeb has been one of the most well-trafficked sites (if not the most well-trafficked) in the industry. One of the reasons is Ask Mr. Pest Control, the column that fields PMPs’ toughest questions about pests, treatments and unique customer issues.
In March 2013, the role of Mr. Pest Control was taken over by Erin Monteagudo, a board certified entomologist with broad experience in technician training and supervision, insect identification and problem solving acquired through her work with pest management firms in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Now based at Univar’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, holding the title of technical content and training specialist for Environmental Sciences, Monteagudo expertly troubleshoots PMPs’ challenges in the field.
“PMPs don’t want a regurgitation of the same old industry facts and figures. I strive to provide them with information that’s fresh, thought-provoking and empowering,” explains Monteagudo, who studied under the supervision of Dr. Phil Koehler and Dr. Nan-Yao Su at the University of Florida. “I enjoy answering their questions and also learning new things myself when I need to research a topic to provide a complete answer. For example, a question about hornets taught me that bald-faced hornets aren’t truly hornets; they’re actually yellow jackets.”
Research plays its role but Monteagudo says that her hands-on experience — field work and technician training — is her most important tool. She also puts that experience to work creating and maintaining Univar’s ProTraining (previously known as Master Technician) courses and their respective state and Canadian province approvals.
Monteagudo shares, “One of Univar’s long-standing objectives is to be an educational resource for PMPs. Mr. Pest Control and our online ProTraining/Master Technician courses are prime examples of our commitment. Last year alone, 62,000 Master Technician courses were taken. We’re proud to be fulfilling that need.”
As for being dubbed Mr. Pest Control when she is clearly not a “Mr.,” Monteagudo adds, “My credibility is more important to me than my gender. I’d rather readers find more interest in my answers to their questions than in the fact that I’m a woman. Univar has built the Mr. Pest Control brand over decades; I’m happy to keep that consistency going; in fact, I plan to be Mr. Pest Control for a very long time. It’s gratifying knowing that PMPs, many of whom don’t have access to technical specialists, can benefit from the information I provide.”
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.