About 400 industry professionals and 38 exhibitors gathered in West Lafayette Jan. 6-8, for the 84th annual Purdue Pest Management conference. During the course of the three-day event, attendees heard from industry experts who presented on a variety of cutting-edge pest management topics. Attendees also had opportunities to network with one another and learn about the latest industry innovations in the exhibit hall. Some of the highlights included:
• On Tuesday evening, Dr. Gary Bennett, who recently retired after having led the Purdue Pest Management Conference for 50 years, was "roasted" by friends and colleagues during a special gathering on his behalf.
• A business session led by David Mueller, founder of Insects Limited. In addition to moderating the workshop, Mueller presented on the topic “Reading the Tea Leaves.” Leading off the workshop was Bob Dold, Jr., president of Rose Pest Solutions, who provided an overview of today's business climate. Dold said PCOs should be encouraged in 2020 because the nation’s economy “has been firing on cylinders.” He challenged PCOs to think strategically (“Play chess instead of checkers,” he said) and constantly re-examine how they are performing in the following areas: operations, sales, marketing, HR, IT and training. Following Dold was a presentation from Francie Hinrichsen, owner of Simply Integrated, Morton, Ill., who reviewed “4 Smart Habits for a Successful Business.”
• A vector management session created by Rentokil’s Gene White and presented by Stan Cope of AP&G. Cope noted that although vector management is not all that difficult, there are some landmines, including understanding local regulations; extensive paperwork; and drift concern. Following Cope was Leo Reed from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist. Reed reviewed Indiana’s pollinator protection plan.
• Pi Chi Omega held its annual bowling party. The pest control fraternity used this occasion to raise a total of $160 that was given to the Ace Campus Food Pantry, which provides assistance to Purdue students and faculty who may be experiencing food insecurity (lack food) on a consistent or inconsistent basis.
• Rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan discussed “The Sherlock Holmes Approach to Rodent IPM.” Like the famed fictional detective, pest management professionals have been “trained to see what others overlook” Corrigan said.
• At the Pi Ci Omega member meeting, Pi Chi Omega president Mark Sheperdigian noted that thanks to a recent generous donation to The Norman Ehmann Scholarship Fund, the fraternity will be able to increase scholarship payouts from $9,000 to $11,000 per year. The scholarships are given out annually to five undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees in urban and industrial pest management.
• Back by popular demand were the Purdue’s entomology lab tours. Attendees got to see first-hand some of the work being done by Purdue students and researchers. In addition, this year’s conference included presentations on termites, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, flies, wildlife pests, and more.
PCT will have additional coverage in the coming months. Below is a slideshow of photos taken during the conference.