FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) has launched a strategic search for a new management team, after a nearly six-year tenure with Cooper Coron and Associates (CCA) as their association management company.
Andrea and Kristin Coron, principles with CCA, began their work with NWCOA in August 2013. In the ensuing time, the Corons learned a lot about the Wildlife Control Industry and worked hard to serve the association.
In addition to membership growth, NWCOA has experienced hearty growth in its training department in both the number of certification courses available, and the frequency of their presentation. With the hiring of Gregg Schumaker as NWCOA Training Coordinator, three new courses have been developed, and NWCOA has quadrupled the number of training events they provide.
“The financial stability and strength cultivated under the watchful eye of CCA’s financial management, has positioned NWCOA to capitalize on the momentum built over the last 3 years and continue the exponential growth in our training opportunities,” says Chris Lunn, NWCOA Treasurer.
“NWCOA’s sharp growth has really increased the management needs beyond the capacity of our company,“ says Andrea Coron, CCA President and NWCOA Executive Director. “It has been hugely rewarding to work with the great people who lead and those that are members of NWCOA. We will really miss this organization. We are very proud of the role that we've played in NWCOA’s growth over the last 5 3/4 years.”
A request for proposals outlining the management needs has been published and is available at https://careerhq.asaecenter.org/jobs/12320762. Proposals from either individuals or association management companies are being reviewed now. The review will continue until an appropriate candidate is found. For more information, call the executive office at 540/374-5600.
E-learning is more efficient and cost effective than traditional classroom learning, and helps retain employees. Training increases technical proficiency, particularly important as products, equipment, regulations, and certifications frequently change in the pest control industry.
“You’re either improving as a company or you are digressing. If you’re not training regularly, you’re digressing. It’s important to have training on different subjects, such as new products, application techniques, regulatory changes, and pest identification,” explained Ben Downard, president, Action Pest Services, Greenville, S.C. “There are a lot of ramifications if you’re not training technicians and keeping them up-to-date—misapplication of product, telling customers incorrect information, and legal issues.” He also believes technicians’ professionalism suffers without regular training.
ProTraining, an online platform developed by Univar, hosts more than 400 classes in four categories: technical; business and safety; supplier-provided; and, a recently added category, PCT label training. Courses are diverse, covering subjects from technical, pest-specific topics, driver training, and safety, to sales and business skills, and achieving personal productivity.
“I use ProTraining to train new hires—those unfamiliar with our industry—it’s really effective,” said Debbie Scott, director of safety and education, Advanced Integrated Pest Management, Roseville, Calif. “The courses cover the basics, such as how to read labels and how to use insecticides. There are different videos that are good for those who don’t know the business.”
“Training is number one for our company. It’s our top priority. We go over information, especially with regard to pesticide handling. We use it for continuing education, for technicians to get the credits they need, and to prep new hires for taking their test to be pesticide applicators,” said Cindy Schacht, manager/supervisor, Area Wide Exterminators, Stockton, Calif. In addition to monthly training meetings, the company also annually hosts a Univar trainer for on-site training.
According to Bobby Perry, director of operations, Icon Pest Prevention, McKinney, Texas, Icon takes training very seriously and considers it to be extremely important to the company. We will use a ProTraining course each month during product pick up or use it to develop our own training specific to the needs of our region.”
He sees the value of ProTraning for new, as well as experienced technicians. “Now, when we have a new hire, we put them through ProTraining classes along with internal training to prepare technicians for state certification.” The pest-focused courses are used as a refresher to “reintroduce” specific pests to technicians, “even if they’re very experienced.” He also uses the online training to supplement face-to-face, classroom training during monthly meetings by watching and reviewing a course as a group.
Tami Stuparich, ACE, co-owner, California American Exterminators, Boulder Creek, Calif., shared that she’s been in the pest control industry for more than 35 years and has a number of licenses and certifications. “I still find valuable information when I take one of the ProTraining online classes. I use it for continuing education. It’s easy to use if I’m a few hours short for my state licenses renewals.” She went on to say that it’s the only online training program she uses for taking California-approved continuing education courses. She’s confident the information is accurate and up-to-date.
“ProTraining provides current, detailed information and it’s well presented. It’s important to reevaluate procedures and protocols to keep current with changing industry and regulatory standards,” said Stuparich. “The quality of ProTraining is so good that when my techs or I take a class we walk away with so much useful information. I took a class on mites recently and got a lot of new information and was able to use it the next day.”
Training supports customer service, professionalism, company growth
Superior technical expertise and a high level of professionalism are key to the growth and success of every business. Training supports both.
“I believe ProTraining has helped our company grow. The more knowledge you have when you’re in the field the better. You can answer customers’ questions. When our technicians know what they’re talking about, it’s going to help grow our business,” said Schacht.
Stuparich added that “having well educated technicians provides a really high level of professionalism and customer service, which is a reflection of not only our company but of the entire industry.”
Perry equates training to increased revenue. “We gain dollars through monthly training. When my team is out there with customers, they can explain to them the specific biology of the pest that they’ve learned through internal training or a ProTraining course. Rather than telling the customer that they need $500 in ant treatment, the customer has a better understanding of what the guys are doing and that we’re not trying to nickel and dime them. It’s educating customers. It’s a higher level of customer service. We’re trained professionals.”
Today’s distributors change, adapt and evolve to provide services beyond exceptional product delivery and competitive pricing to help PCOs evolve their businesses.
In order to help support successful pest control businesses, distributors must provide exceptional service in the area of product delivery. Distributors need to offer cutting-edge products, those products must be competitively priced and readily available, and they need to ship or be personally delivered as quickly as possible. Additionally, to enhance the product ordering process, distributors that offer online inventory ordering systems help PCOs with efficiency.
As a result, PCOs know that they can trust in the support of their distributors and begin to rely on that support to help evolve their own businesses. “We really rely on [our distributor],” says Dustin Banks, general manager/owner of Red Rock Pest Control in Las Vegas. “They provide us with pesticide and everything [else] we need to get the job done. They are reliable; they’re like family.” Sharing the sentiment regarding his distributor, Dave Watkins, general manager of O’Connor Pest Control in Camarillo, Calif., who has been in the pest control business for 36 years says “Being in the business as long as I have, I know I can always depend on them.”
Offering the close involvement and consulting services of a personally assigned sales representative, as a result, is one of the most imperative services that a distributor can provide. Per Banks, his sales representative is a person that his company can call to help solve almost any problem. “He is our go-to guy,” he says. Danny Shakespeare, owner of Shakespeare Pest Control in Saint George, Utah, states, “If I have questions, I can call the rep and he [is] just Johnny-on-the-spot.”
In addition to helping solve problems, answering questions, and providing product information, Shakespeare explains that his sales representative is proactive in sharing new product recommendations to help with the success of his company. “He [gives] me other options,” which is very helpful, says Shakespeare. Providing a personal sales representative allows pest control companies to believe in that knowledgeable and experienced resource, which allows the companies to make informed decisions. Shakespeare utilizes his sales representative to provide product recommendations throughout the year to help reduce callbacks and improve quality and efficiencies. He even recently engaged in a personal consulting session with his sales representative to review his entire chemical program and make recommended changes. “Products that I might use [in the store], they let me know about it,” says Jim Bryant, owner of Bryant’s Pest Control in Houston, Texas.
Even though pest control distributors offer online inventory ordering systems, many pest control companies prefer to call their individual sales representatives because they know that their representative will be available and helpful. “I like to call in and talk to my inside rep. I have a longtime relationship,” says Watkins. Because the distributor’s office is close to Bryant’s home, he will “go in and visit with them” when he needs products. He also says that his distributor has been helpful on the jobsite when they have run out of product. “They’ve offered to bring it to the jobsite for us. They’ve gone out of their way. They’ve gone above and beyond,” he says.