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Green Drain is an inline floor drain trap seal used in the outlet connections of floor drain bodies or the inside of floor drain strainers. It can be used in commercial facilities such as restaurant kitchens, bars and food-processing facilities to help seal the drain opening to prevent odors, sewer gases and insects (like drain flies and fruit flies) from coming up through the floor drain. Green Drain’s four flexible silicone sealing ribs ensure easy installation into openings that may have variations in size and the silicone rubber sealing flapper will open to allow drainage and close when there is no water flow. The Green Drain can be used in either new construction or as a retrofit. The product is available in four sizes — 2, 3, 3½ and 4 inches.
With its ferocious grip, Trapper T-Rex Rat Snap Trap gives superior trapping power for chemical-free accounts or special situations, manufacturer Bell Labs says. Trapper T-Rex combines trigger sensitivity with the trap velocity needed to capture and hold rats. Its patented interlocking teeth make rat escapes virtually impossible, Bell Labs says. Trapper T-Rex sets easily by foot or hand. Its removable bait cup can be withdrawn, filled with an attractant and re-inserted without having the trap set. Trapper T-Rex has multiple uses: placed alone or in pairs back-to-back along rat pathways and wired above ground to pipes or rafters. For additional security or to prevent non-target exposure to children, pets or wildlife, place one of Bell’s rat-sized tamper-resistant bait stations inside that are designed to accommodate T-Rex: EVO Express, EVO Ambush, EVO Circuit, EVO Landscape, Protecta and Sidekick.
PestWest says its fly control light Quantum lamps are 40 percent more powerful than standard BL350 lamps; they are FDA compliant and feature a FEP-shatter resistant lamp coating; and they feature UVA- resistant metal construction. Quantum lamps last longer than plastic systems, the company says; they feature a slim design for when space is at a premium; and they feature the patented Reflectobakt sleeve, which extends glueboard life.
The company also offers specialty systems for high-moisture and potentially explosive environments.
Bird Barrier Americav.ht/eggxit E
ggxit from Bird Barrier is a new tool that fills the valleys between Spanish tiles on solar-panel bird exclusion jobs. Solar panel exclusion work has become one of the most common forms of bird control, Bird Barrier says. Eggxit’s engineered egg-shape dips into the troughs between Spanish tiles and is hog-ringed to the mesh above. Bird Barrier says PMPs can cut Eggxit in half and use both ends or the product works for capping open ends of Spanish tiles. One of the product’s highlights is its ability to rotate. The ends are designed to fit any tile size, style and configuration, the manufacturer says. Also, Bird Barrier says PMPs should consider pitching Eggxit outward slightly when attaching.
Woodstream, the longtime manufacturer of Victor Holdfast glueboards, is transitioning all rodent glueboard products, including item numbers M309, M320 and M319, to a new superior and proprietary Holdfast PRO glue formulation, the firm says. New Holdfast PRO glue is available only from Victor and provides PMPs the most aggressive and highest-performing rodent glueboards available on the market, Woodstream reports. Holdfast PRO is proven to catch more mice and rats plus it greatly reduces pull offs and escapes, the manufacturer says. It is also highly effective at catching insects. Patented Easy Peel clear release liner allows faster easier service. All traps come pre-baited with a synthetic non-allergenic peanut butter scent.
SenesTech, a developer of proprietary technologies for managing animal pest populations through fertility control, announced that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation approved ContraPest for sale and use in California under registration #91601-1-AA.
ContraPest targets the reproductive capabilities of Norway and roof rats. As a highly palatable liquid, the formulation promotes sustained consumption, helping to reduce fertility in both male and female rats, bringing populations down and keeping them down, the company reports. The delivery system is designed to minimize PMP exposure, and ContraPest is dispensed inside tamper-resistant bait stations, minimizing the risks to non-target species, SenesTech says.
ContraPest can be used in IPM programs to help reduce reproduction and magnify the success of IPM protocols or as a standalone, non-lethal solution for customers that are looking to reduce or eliminate the use of lethal methodologies. ContraPest is a Restricted Use Pesticide.
Before Karl J. Kisner graduated from college at The Ohio State University — Buckeye proud, ROTC-trained and equipped with a resume including being a National Guard officer in charge of 45 men and $50 million in equipment — he created a very specific list. It was a personal road map — a list of goals he has continued to check off during his 28 years in the pest control industry.
Kisner made his own business plan to move up the ranks in agribusiness.
“It included salaries and what jobs I wanted by what time period,” relates Kisner, 51, who today serves as Univar’s vice president of marketing. “I’ve always felt if I didn’t have something to shoot for, I wouldn’t get it.”
Kisner was always a man with a plan.
“I think it has to do with my ROTC training — that discipline and rigor of making sure you have things planned out,” he relates. Surrounding himself with industry leaders helped reveal opportunities. “I’ve always been goal- and objective-oriented,” he continues. “And most of my career, I’ve taken gambles and risks to take on new opportunities. I say, ‘Why not?’”
That was Kisner’s approach when he was asked to head up the launch of Termidor in 1999, during a time when the industry’s manufacturing giants were merging and selling properties. The approach was the same when in 2007 he returned to the distribution side of the industry after a successful ride during a merger flurry with AgrEvo, Aventis, Bayer and BASF. “I love the fact that your hat changes every few minutes. I love managing multiple projects at one time — that’s what I feast on,” Kisner says of what’s appealing about distribution.
Kisner, who “has the biggest radio voice I’ve ever heard,” says Mike Hildebrand, president at Univar, “also has a mix of calmness and is very passionate about what he does. That comes across in conversations you have with him — he is just able to get stuff done.”
Trace McEuen, Univar’s vice president, environmental science, Americas, says Kisner builds confidence. And he has “the type of disposition that builds strong friends and bonds in this marketplace. He has a far-reaching global understanding of our business because of his previous opportunities, especially in the supplier community. His ability to launch products like Termidor has given him a unique perspective on market dynamics.”
Kisner, humbly says, “It’s odd talking so much about yourself.” When interviewed about his career, he frequently passes the credit to his industry peers. The PCT Leadership Award, he says, “is the result of being around so many others who have helped me get it.”
But in the eyes of those “so many other people” — from McEuen at Univar to colleagues at the former Aventis and his agency partner on the Termidor launch, Laurie Van Metre — it’s clear Kisner brings something distinctly different to the industry.
He’s decisive. He’s a hands-off boss. He’s detail-oriented. His voice and presence fills a room — but he’s more likely to be the one listening. “He is an amazing problem-solver,” says Van Metre, president at the marketing agency FVM. FVM was the agency partner during the Termidor launch. “He is always focused on new ideas, on trying new things, figuring out how marketing can make better contributions to the business. Working with Karl Kisner, you get to do great things.”
Paying It Forward
Dave Buzzelli remembers a weekend road-trip he took with Kisner when both were working at AgrEvo, which became Aventis when it merged with Rhone-Poulenc in 1998. Buzzelli was the sales manager for pest control products, and Kisner was brought on to be product manager of AgrEvo’s turf division.
“I got to know Karl right away — our offices were down the hall from each other, and we hit it off because we both love football and we both had been in the service,” Buzzelli shares.
When Ohio State’s football team traveled to College Station, Pa., to play Penn State, Kisner suggested the two of them visit the campus and check out the game. Kisner attends virtually every home OSU game, and many away games, usually bringing along his father, Kenneth Kisner. “He’s a pretty rabid fan,” Buzzelli says of his former colleague.
It’s more than fanhood. Kisner’s brand of Buckeye pride transcends football.
When Kisner was named to OSU’s Alumni Association board of directors in 2010, he was personally contacted by two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin about the appointment. “This was my chance to ‘pay back’ Ohio State,” Kisner says.
During his time at Ohio State, Woody Hayes had his office in the building housing the ROTC classrooms, on occasion leading classes attended by Kisner as a young cadet. In fact, the famed football coach taught Kisner’s class the day before he passed away. “We were the very last group he ever talked to,” Kisner says. “His philosophy was always about paying it forward. So, that message has resonated with me since the day I heard it, and it will until I’m no longer on this earth.”
Kisner didn’t actually start his college career at OSU. As a junior in high school, his family moved to the Columbus suburb of Gahanna — a stone’s throw from OSU’s campus. Kisner, originally from Northeast Ohio, had planned on being a Buckeye, but “I decided I wanted to get away from home,” he says of his choice to attend Eastern Michigan University instead.
That lasted a year. Kisner jokes he was “too close to that other place,” referring to OSU’s arch rival, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and its 5-minute drive from Eastern Michigan’s campus. Sophomore year, Kisner went back to Plan A. (Always, there’s a plan.)
From Hayes’ influence and Kisner’s sheer love of OSU, “paying it forward” to OSU is a commitment he takes seriously. In 2000, Kisner’s mother, Sharron, was diagnosed with a rare nerve disorder called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), which confined her to a wheelchair. His family sought out care at Ohio State. “There is no cure for it, but they helped her accept and understand the disease, and they were at least able to help her,” Kisner says.
Kisner’s support for OSU is due in part to the great support the college gave to his mother and family. “Because there was so little research about the disease, we decided to create an endowment with $25,000, which my family and a few of our customers supported, and now we are just shy of $100,000 dollars that is allowing Ohio State to use in their neurology program,” he says.
Kisner also is involved with a Greyhound research program at OSU. Kisner and his husband, John-Francis Polakovic, have rescued six Greyhounds, and their first unfortunately died of bone cancer. “You don’t realize how many different things Ohio State touches, but we have a great Greyhound program here, and they do research on osteosarcoma because they found that the bone cancer that appears in some Greyhounds is related to the bone cancer young kids can get,” he explains.
So, from training at OSU’s ROTC program to earning a degree in agronomy with a business specialization — to relying on Ohio State for its medical care, and rallying its work with Greyhounds — Kisner is about as “all in” of an alumni as you can get.
Back to the OSU-Penn State game with Buzzelli. In full fan mode, Kisner and Buzzelli arrived on campus early to take part in pre-game festivities. “He took me to some alumni parties and we sat in the Ohio State section,” Buzzelli says.
This was no ordinary going-to-a-game day. It was Kisner, OSU to the bone, traveling with his industry friend, sharing what it means to be a Buckeye. Except, the game didn’t turn out like the Ohio State section of the stadium would have liked.
“Penn State upset OSU, and so we got in the car after the game to drive home. We stopped at a red light — I have on a Penn State hat and he has on an OSU hat,” Buzzelli says. “People are surrounding our car and yelling at him during the light. As soon as it turned green, he hit the gas and we got out of there.”
A few minutes later, the car fell silent, Buzzelli asked Kisner to turn on the radio. “We are not listening to the radio!” Kisner told him. “The whole ride home, the car was quiet,” Buzzelli recalls with a laugh.
A Monumental Launch
When fipronil, brand-name Termidor, hit the market in 2000, Kisner oversaw its launch in the midst of a chain of acquisitions. AgrEvo and Rhone-Poulenc had become Aventis. Rhone-Poulenc brought fipronil to the deal — a product that Aventis happily inherited. The company appointed Kisner to launch the now-Aventis product into the market. Certainly, this was a career opportunity that Kisner found appealing. But it came with some real challenges.
For one, the pest control industry already had a reliable bait and familiar liquid products, so the company had to prove that Termidor offered something different “At the time, liquids were falling out of favor a little bit and baits were gaining momentum and market share, so how do you separate yourself in the market?” Buzzelli relates.
Kisner and his team had a short time to launch the product, during which they conducted extensive research, talking to pest management professionals to gain their perspectives. “Over two months, I spent a lot of time learning about the termite market, pest control and the different products,” says Kisner, who had primarily worked in turf and ornamental up to this point.
Consumer feedback would help Kisner and team build the messaging and go to market with a totally different approach, positioning Termidor as a premium product. “Karl was concerned about helping PMPs be successful with the product,” Van Metre says.
Andrew Assir, who works under Kisner today at Univar, says Kisner is “always telling us to make sure we put on our customer hat. What do customers think? What does the PMP think?”
Kisner was adamant that Termidor not be sold as a product that “stops bugs from eating studs,” Van Metre says. There were no images of PMPs in work shirts scouting properties, and never did a single termite appear in the advertising.
Kisner brought his creativity, decisiveness and direction to the table. And his creativity is what took this campaign out of the box. “With Karl, you can go in places that may never work, if you know what I mean,” Univar’s McEuen says. “You talk about ideas that aren’t the standard — he doesn’t have a mindset that everything has to be A,B,C. It can be D, R, J, anything. You mix it up, and from that you generate some pretty good ideas. He has the creative ability to see things that others do not see.”
The campaign, and product, was a significant chapter in the pest control industry’s long and storied history. “It was a once-in-a-career experience,” Van Metre says of the launch.
There were other challenges aside from selling this brand and vision to the market. Those had to deal with ownership of the product during an M&A dance taking place among manufacturers in the early 2000s.
“All of a sudden, Aventis decided they didn’t want to continue in the pest control industry, so they decided to spin off that division — and they were ‘spinning off’ and being sold to Bayer,” Kisner says.
“But, Bayer was not able to keep fipronil due to FTC and European regulations. So, that’s when (former Aventis executive) Mike McDermott and some others came to me and said, ‘How would you like to lead this hold separate group?’ The goal was to protect the assets of [fipronil] for whoever was going to acquire it, because at the time, we had no idea who that was going to be.
“So, it was: 1) great to launch the product and start right at the ground level, and to work with some great people to launch it; and 2), now you’re in this hold separate position where I’m still working with the folks at Bayer, yet we are also somewhat competitors, and I have to protect the product for the acquirer.”
Once Kisner and team found out BASF would acquire fipronil, “I had to, again, make sure the product was taken care of not to benefit BASF and not to benefit Bayer.”
This role presented a complicated conundrum from a communications standpoint. “It was a situation where I wasn’t making anybody happy. And there were some frustrating days,” Kisner says.
But, again, there was opportunity.
BASF brought on Kisner as senior marketing manager in March 2003 and he continued overseeing Termidor. He says the Termidor ride and its initial launch and success are a major point of pride for him. “But every job I have taken has come with a significant challenge — and that is what I have always felt the proudest about,” he says. “Without any doubt, when I started most jobs, the first few months, I was always like, “Oh, boy, I am in way over my head. Can I even do this job?’ Every job I’ve had has come with a challenge: develop a new market or territory, launch a new product, protect the assets, build out a coordinated marketing plan, etc.”
In 2007, when opportunity knocked again, Kisner had a chance to move back to the turf side of BASF after nearly a decade run with Termidor. So, again he said, “Why not?” “You need fresh blood, fresh ideas — and I needed to do something fresh, and I wanted to get back into turf,” Kisner relates.
Then, more networking, talking and another opportunity arose months later on the distribution side at Univar. Kisner was lured by the chance to, once again, wear a different hat every minute in this fast-changing segment. And, he was drawn by the culture — the tight-knit group at Univar’s environmental science group, many with 30-plus years of tenure. “Univar has people who really care about the industry we are in, their co-workers and customers,” he says.
Always Evolving — And Settling In
Kisner says most people outside of the industry, when they learn he is in the pest control business, are pretty surprised. “They kind of give me this look, like, ‘Really?’ But it has given me one hell of a career. So, we need to go out there and tell people how great of a career opportunity this is.”
Kisner is constantly sharpening the saw, including attending five marketing-focused Executive Education classes at Northwestern University. The four- to five-day sessions teach how to build marketing strategies, brands and “customer communications in a nanosecond culture,” he says. “The reality is, how we interact and how we communicate with customers is changing at such a fast pace, so making sure I continue to stay on top of what is going on by attending these classes is invaluable to me,” he says.
Also, Kisner continues to take on new challenges, now with his role as marketing manager for Univar in Canada. He’s not just charged with environmental science — but markets ranging from personal care to oil and gas, pharma and everything Univar touches. “I can apply my agriculture and environmental science background to [these markets], and what I learn from them, I can b
ring back to AG and ES,” he says. “I love the diversity of what and who I get to work with on a daily basis,” adds Kisner, the man behind PestWeb, the industry’s leading website. Under Kisner, PestWeb has evolved to provide customer interaction tools to meet the pest management professional’s ever-changing needs.
Kisner has lived a full career for nearly 30 years, and now he’s content in Austin with his partner John, their two Greyhounds and two cats — appropriately named Scarlet and Grey. He says he is happily settled at Univar.
Going back to that old, college plan, he adds, “My goal, and my hope, was to always be with one company for as long as I could — one that I value and believe in. For a while I rode the acquisition roller-coaster, but once it settled down, it has allowed me to settle down and in.”
Rollins’ Jerry Gahlhoff knows something about change. Whether it was as a child following his father, a branch manager for Orkin Pest Control, around the country or as an adult pursuing his own career in pest management, Gahlhoff has packed and unpacked from North Dakota to North Carolina to Texas to Georgia.
In fact, between his personal and professional moves Gahlhoff estimates he has relocated 18 times. Fortunately, the uncertainty and anxiety that typically accompanies packing and unpacking for most of us, doesn’t faze him.
“The longest I was in one place was six years in middle school and high school in Jacksonville, Florida,” recalls Gahlhoff. “My dad said he would let me finish high school in one place but looking back moving so often has made me adaptable and able to go with the flow.”
As one would imagine, making lasting friends when you are registering for a new school every other year isn’t easy. That’s where pest control stepped in, filling a void that eventually, even though Gahlhoff didn’t intend it to, became his career.
“One thing that appealed to me, even when I was young, about the industry was its social nature,” says Gahlhoff. “We never lived close to family so the people at work became our family.”
He recalls watching his dad play on the company softball team and going to the branch on Saturdays to help out whenever he could. “Some longtime Orkin employees tell me they remember talking to me when my dad would have me call in the week’s numbers to Atlanta,” says Gahlhoff. “I’m not sure if that is 100 percent accurate but it is part of the environment I grew up in.”
A Gator Twice Over
After graduating high school Gahlhoff enrolled at the University of Florida to study business, but it was an experience he had working for his father over summer breaks that prompted him to look at the industry differently.
“I had a training experience one summer that wasn’t the best and it made me realize how much better a technician’s job could be and how it could be a competitive advantage if the right training was made available,” says Gahlhoff. “That’s what got me interested in the technical side of the business.”
Gahlhoff switched majors and started taking classes in the school’s globally recognized entomology department where he met one of the country’s most respected voices on pest management, Dr. Phil Koehler.
While still taking a variety of business classes, which was encouraged to give students a perspective on how science impacted the business of pest management, Gahlhoff ’s interest in research evolved with the encouragement of fellow student, Dini Miller, now a well-respected professor of entomology at Virginia Tech University.
“Field research was more appealing to me than the lab,” recalls Gahlhoff. “I enjoyed getting out in the field to see how what we were doing in the lab applied to the real-world pest issues PMPs were facing.”
Koehler says Gahlhoff possessed the ability to take theory and apply it successfully in real-world pest management practices. One of Gahlhoff’s projects focused on termiticide repellency and, according to Koehler, changed the industry’s approach to residual termiticide treatments.
“He reads people very well and has a knack for putting the right people in the right position to succeed,” adds Koehler. “People are comfortable with him and because of his approach they are open with and want to work with him.”
Following completion of his master’s degree, Gahlhoff was weighing his next career move when he was recruited to join Wilson Pest Control in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as the company’s technical director.
His decision to leave the comfortable routine of college life set him on a course that would see additional moves and eventually lead him to work for the world’s largest pest management provider.
Climbing The Ladder
When he arrived in Winston-Salem, Wilson Pest Control was a growing company and with a boost from venture capital, it became a prime target for acquisition. Dallas-based Centex HomeTeam did just that in 2001 and Gahlhoff got his first taste of the M&A side of the pest control industry.
“I was thinking, ‘What did I get myself into?’ recalls Gahlhoff. “I was ready to head back to Florida.”
At the initial transition meeting Gahlhoff was itching for a fight. When the management contracts were presented he told Home- Team’s Bob Wanzer he wouldn’t sign them until certain language was taken out. To his surprise, HomeTeam agreed to the changes and Gahlhoff would start working with Wanzer, who along with then HomeTeam CEO Rob Swartz, would become valuable mentors to him.
HomeTeam’s trajectory took off like a rocket — they went from $40 to $140 million in seven years — and so did Gahlhoff’s career.
“He reads people very well and has a knack for putting the right people in the right position to succeed. People are comfortable with him and because of his approach they are open with and want to work with him.” Dr. Phil Koehler, Endowed Professor of Urban Entomology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
In 2004, Gahlhoff was promoted to vice president of technical services and moved to company headquarters in Dallas. Over the next five years two more promotions followed as did another move — this time back to Florida — as Gahlhoff wrestled with the breakneck pace of the company’s growth.
“Initially I thought I was supposed to be the brakes and make sure our processes and procedures were followed,” says Gahlhoff. “After 18 months I realized I was the engine governor and had to figure out how best to support our growth but still maintain high service standards. We had to do it fast, but we had to do it right.”
During this period Gahlhoff learned the value of culture in a company’s success.
“We talked constantly about culture, values and what we stood for,” says Gahlhoff. “We wanted to help people get their arms around what we were doing.”
What Gahlhoff didn’t see coming was another acquisition — not by HomeTeam — but by Rollins in early 2008.
“I came to realize that the most important thing was to help others with transition and see it through,” adds Gahlhoff.
In a journal he kept, Gahlhoff expressed his feelings about the situation. He considered leaving and doing something else. He talked with industry colleagues who had been through previous acquisitions. He weighed the pros and cons over and over, and by July of that year he had warmed to the idea and decided to give it a chance.
Applying Lessons Learned
With that goal in mind, Gahlhoff joined Rollins and served as president of Home-Team from 2011 to 2016 before being promoted to president — specialty brands.
In his current role, Gahlhoff is responsible for overseeing the Rollins’ specialty brands portfolio that includes HomeTeam, Western Pest Services, Waltham Services, Northwest Exterminating and OPC Services. He is also responsible for the company’s human resource efforts and is an active voice in Rollins’ acquisitions.
With recruiting being a significant challenge for the entire industry, Gahlhoff hopes to steer Rollins and its brands through the process of embracing millennials into its workforce.
“We are not an assembly line business,” he says. “We are a people business that kills bugs and our foundation must be built on people. Our success or lack of success will depend on it.”
Gahlhoff says the industry must think about the work and the role of the technician differently to attract millennials. “Millennials do the math differently and want different things from the job,” he says. “We need to learn how to manage flexibility better when it comes to work schedules, benefits and career opportunities.”
Gahlhoff ’s ability to connect with people on the front line in the branches to the c-suite is something John Wilson, Rollins’ president and chief operating officer, says makes him highly effective in his role.
“Jerry is not your typical ‘bug guy,’ he is much more than that” says Wilson. “He is outstanding with people, knows the technical side and has a good business mind. He can connect at all levels of the business and that is a rarity.”
Gahlhoff’s personal experience dealing with the roller coaster of emotions during an acquisition helps make the onboarding process easier for companies joining the Rollins family. As does his legendary sense of humor.
“You have to enjoy what you are doing, and Jerry has that part covered,” adds Wilson. “He embraces having fun while getting the job done and that is infectious with other people.”
And while Gahlhoff can dish it out, he also can take a good joke.
Phil Koehler recalls an incident during Gahlhoff’s time in Gainesville where Gahlhoff shrink-wrapped a fellow grad student’s car upon his arrival back from a delayed flight or the time he applied Vaseline to the drawer handles, arms of a chair and telephone in the office of a colleague.
Koehler recalled when payback was delivered and Gahlhoff ’s colleagues at HomeTeam wrapped his car, resurrecting the practical joke from early in his career. Gahlhoff got the joke.
“He has the ability to laugh at himself,” Koehler says, and as a result “people want to be around him.”
Isn’t that what being a leader is all about?