Reflecting on Past, Present Service Technician Excellence

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December 6, 2021

When our staff was discussing what to put on the cover of our December issue, the answer came pretty quickly: text and images to commemorate 25 years of recognizing PCT’s Technicians of the Year.

It’s been incredibly rewarding for PCT and sponsor BASF to annually honor standout service professionals in the residential, commercial and termite categories. Throughout the years, we’ve enjoyed recognizing these men and women in the pages of PCT and at an in-person event (with the exception of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

We always look forward to learning and writing about our technicians’ previous vocations, how they’ve found a home in pest control and within their companies, and what makes them such special service professionals.

From having interviewed and written many of these profiles, I’ve noticed a lot of common threads among our Technicians of the Year, including their ability to: (1) connect so well with customers that many consider them friends; (2) take ownership and run their route as if it were their own business; and (3) do whatever is asked of them, whether or not it is “in their job description.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these profiles throughout the years, and we think you’ll agree this year’s winners — Juan Arroyo, Derek Foster and Joe Avery — all fit that mold.

Juan Arroyo, of Massey Services, is PCT’s Residential Technician of the Year. He is beloved by his customers, who often compliment his friendly attitude and ability to thoroughly explain processes and treatments. His manager, Adam Taylor, told PCT that Arroyo’s sincere care for others and for a job well done set him apart. “He just cares so much more than most. He’s genuinely empathetic to people’s concerns, and he builds relationships off of that. When you’re able to empathize with others and find the source of the problem and create a solution, bonds are established, and he’s excellent at doing that.”

PCT’s Commercial Technician is Northwest Exterminating’s Derek Foster, who services everything from large warehouses to small, single-room businesses. His manager, Scott Brigman, said Foster understands the nuances of commercial pest control. “With commercial, you’re forced to think outside the box. You always run into different scenarios and have to think a little bit more. Derek’s done a great job of that.” Foster also is highly regarded for his ability to communicate and develop relationships with customers. As he noted, “Gaining that trust, being up front with the customer, educating them as to what we’re doing rather than waiting to be asked, and showing up and doing what you need to do goes a long way.”

The “go-to” technician for solving challenging termite infestations at HomeTeam Pest Defense’s Winter Garden, Fla. office is Joe Avery, PCT’s Termite Technician of the Year. Avery enjoys the “puzzle-solving” aspect of termite control, including finding infestations in a home, garage, crawlspace, etc., and then “backtracking” to find how the termites are coming out of the ground and into the house. HomeTeam General Manager Stephanie Hill praised Avery for his role as mentor. “Whether it be through teaching or working beside [other technicians], he just really has that drive for continuous improvement,” she said.

One final thought on PCT’s Technician of the Year Awards program: We’ve noticed that pest control companies have gotten better about showcasing service technicians in ads, social media, marketing materials, etc. It’s a smart strategy to show potential customers that they will be dealing with a friendly, knowledgeable professional. For those who submit nominations and have had winning technicians or finalists (see page 58), PCT hopes that in our own little way we have helped raise their — and your company’s — profile. So, thank you to all of the owners, managers and technical directors who take the time to nominate a deserving technician for this award. And for those managers who would like to participate in coming years, we look forward to receiving those nominations, which can be filled out online at bit.ly/32bfFGB. You can also email me at bharbison@gie.net with any questions.

The author is senior digital editor and managing editor of PCT magazine.