Top 100 Event Attendees Celebrate, Network, Learn From Others

Departments - News

June 30, 2022

Pictured (left to right): PCT’s Brad Harbison presented a Top 100 plaque to DA Exterminating’s Chris Caire, Jed D’Arensboug, Ed Reynolds and David Cherry.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Representatives from this year’s PCT Top 100 companies took time out of their schedules to reflect on this past year’s successes at the PCT Top 100 Awards Ceremony and Industry Summit, held in Orlando in early June and sponsored by Syngenta.

PCT Publisher Jodi Dorsch noted that the last time PCT honored Top 100 companies at an in-person event was 2018, and “comparing this year’s list and event to 2018 is not even like comparing apples and oranges — it’s like comparing apples and Jupiter. So much has happened in the past four years.”

For example, in 2019, nine companies were acquired from the prior year. From 2019 to 2020, 10 companies were purchased. From 2020 to 2021, seven companies were purchased. For 2022, only one company was purchased between last year’s list and this year’s.

Dorsch then presented plaques to Top 100 companies and provided brief overviews of each firm, including company history/milestones; recent accomplishments; employee achievements; fun facts; and more.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the two-day event included:

  • There was a fireside chat between Dorsch and Dave Fisher, senior vice president, Rentokil North America. Fisher provided insights into Rentokil Initial’s pending acquisition of Terminix, the largest merger in the history of the pest control industry. The question Fisher said he most often receives is about branding. Fisher said the process for rebranding Rentokil-Terminix will include working with third-party input, thinking strategically about different services they provide (commercial, residential and termite) and being respectful of existing Rentokil brands (e.g., Ehrlich Pest Control, Presto-X, Western Exterminator, Florida Pest Control, etc.).
  • Communication expert Dave Mitchell gave the keynote presentation on “The Power of Understanding People.” Mitchell said people fall into one of four styles: Romantics (value relationships); Warriors (value results); Experts (value consistency); and Masterminds (value innovation). As a leader, your job is to understand and adapt to each of your employees’ styles, Mitchell said.
  • The session “Why Diversity is Good for Your Business,” presented by Brandon Bell, diversity and inclusion lead at Syngenta North America, provided attendees with actionable steps to foster a more inclusive workplace as leaders, such as withholding judgment when interacting with diverse teammates, being transparent and consistent when making decisions, encouraging feedback from employees in the decision-making process and being open to seeing the world through the lens of others when conversing with them. Bell then moderated a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion, during which speakers Kevin Burns, chief development officer, Arrow Exterminators; Dr. Hamilton Allen, Florida region technical director, HomeTeam Pest Defense; and Aly Silva Mulgrew, director of innovation and support services, Plunkett’s Pest Control; discussed action steps their companies are taking to implement DE&I.
  • A panel discussion on “Why Philanthropy Matters” included Bill Hoffman, owner of Hoffman’s Exterminating, Maple Shade, N.J.; Scarlett Nolen, president of Truly Nolen of America; and Bobby Jenkins, president of ABC Home & Commercial Services, Austin, Texas. While most people think of the impact charity work has on those who receive it, what it means to employees is huge. Hoffman provided the example of a quiet intern at his company who flourished when he donned the Hoffman bumblebee mascot costume and brought joy to an autistic child.
  • Tony Massey, president and CEO of Massey Services, Orlando, Fla., served as ambassador for PCT Top 100 event host city Orlando. Massey noted that despite the city’s reputation as a tourist destination, roughly two-thirds of its residents work in life sciences, health care, innovative technologies and consumer services (e.g., pest control).

PCT will include additional Top 100 event editorial coverage in upcoming issues.

— Brad Harbison and Jacqueline Mitchell

 

PPMA Executive Director Cindy Mannes to Retire at Year’s End

FAIRFAX, Va. — In early June, during the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) board of directors meeting at the National Pest Management Association’s Executive Leadership Forum in San Diego, Calif., PPMA Executive Director Cindy Mannes announced her plan to retire at the end of the year. Mannes, who has served in dual roles as both the executive director of PPMA and the senior vice president of public affairs for NPMA for nearly 15 years, expressed both gratitude and optimism to the board.

Cindy Mannes

“Those who know me, know I love a challenge, and I’ve been so fortunate to spend my career challenging this dedicated board and our family of investors to grow PPMA to new heights and achieve great things together. Our collective impact on the industry has been remarkable, and now, PPMA is credited as one of the leading drivers of our industry’s growth,” said Mannes. “It’s been a true honor and privilege to serve the industry and all of you. I believe in the work you do protecting families, health and property and have been fortunate to be able to share my strong beliefs with the world.”

While the news is bittersweet to PPMA Chairman Bobby Jenkins, he said he is looking forward to what’s to come. “It’s a big year for PPMA and one full of change. We’re celebrating our silver anniversary, welcoming new industry leaders to our board of directors and transitioning such a high-profile position in our ranks. We vow to do our due diligence to hire the right person who is a strong and innovative leader with extensive marketing and communications experience to continue to get the word out about the value of professional pest control to consumer and commercial audiences.”

The search for PPMA’s next executive director is underway. In anticipation of this career milestone, Mannes shared her news earlier this year with a trusted group comprised of NPMA and PPMA leadership and a search committee has since been appointed. Members of this group include Jenkins and PPMA Treasurer Mike Rottler, NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf and Vault Communications President Jessica Phelan, along with Mannes.

The board expects to name a new executive director in the last quarter of 2022, following the PestWorld convention, to allow for some overlap with Mannes’ term and ensure a seamless succession.

 

In Memoriam: Bill Pursley

TOPEKA, Kan. — Bill Pursley, longtime vice president of food safety education at the American Institute of Baking (AIB) International, died on June 12, in Topeka, Kan., days after suffering a stroke. He was 75.

For more than 30 years, Pursley led AIB International’s food safety audits and education business, helping food companies understand and manage food safety good manufacturing practices and prerequisite programs. After retiring from AIB in 2012, he worked as consultant.

Bill Pursely

Pursley received his master’s in grain science from Kansas State University, then joined the American Institute of Baking in 1975 as an inspector, working in the Northeast U.S. and Canada. He later moved to AIB headquarters as program coordinator, then director of the audit services and started the Food Safety & Defense Educational Department. During this time, Pursley was instrumental in establishing offices or co-associations with many countries including Europe, Japan, Latin America and China.

Pursley was also a leading instructor, having conducted numerous training seminars and audits worldwide. He educated thousands of students about the important role they play in protecting the nation’s food supply.

Al Ct. Cyr, a longtime colleague of Pursley’s at AIB, shared on LinkedIn that Pursley was “just as comfortable working with people on the plant floor as in the corporate boardroom. Bill had a unique ability to get to the core of an issue and come up with a solution. He was a gifted teacher and helped tens of thousands of people in the food industry understand their role in protecting the integrity of the food they work with. He will be missed.”

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Jamie’s Wish Foundation or Manhattan Kiwanis Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 876, Manhattan, Kan., 66505. — Brad Harbison

 

ServiceTitan’s Pantheon User Conference Returns

Basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson spoke at this year’s Pantheon User Conference.

LOS ANGELES — ServiceTitan’s Pantheon User Conference returned in April at the historic Los Angeles Coliseum. The goal of the event was to help service professionals “harness the power of technology.”

Highlights included keynote presentations from basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who shared his incredible journey from NBA superstardom to one of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs; businesswoman Kat Cole, who shared the most significant lessons about leadership and innovation she’s learned throughout her career; and leadership expert Simon Sinek, who sat down for a fireside chat with Keith Mercurio, senior director of executive success at ServiceTitan.

Additionally, the event featured leadership sessions and several new ServiceTitan updates, including the launch of Titan Intelligence (TI), a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. These include:

Smart Dispatch (Beta), ServiceTitan’s new dispatch tool, which uses machine learning to analyze job data and assist in assigning technicians for jobs based on factors such as geographical zones, skills, drive time and technician sales performance to help save time and maximize revenue.

Price Insights, a Pro feature allowing contractors to see average prices in their region, enabling them to competitively price services based on local averages.

Marketing Pro Ads (Beta), which enables marketers to lower their cost per lead and maximize ROI. By leveraging Google Ads’ measurement tools and dynamic call tracking features, ServiceTitan customers can see the impact of Google Ads budgets and optimize and automate the flow of key revenue, job and audience data back into Google.

Learn more at www.servicetitan.com.

 

World Pest Day Spreads Message of Global Health Protection

FAIRFAX, Va. — The Global Pest Management Coalition (GPMC) held a virtual program and provided pest management professionals with materials in support of World Pest Day, which was held June 6.

Following this year’s theme “One World — Protecting Global Public Health through Professional Pest Management,” the GPMC put together a free virtual program that included messages from coalition members from around the globe as well as a lineup of programming that included: “Recognizing the True Value of Pest Management,” by Chow-Yang Lee, University of California, Riverside; “Mosquito Management on a Global Scale,” by Gene White, global director of vector management, Rentokil Initial; “Impacts of Rodent Infestations on Public Health and Food Supplies,” by David Lilly, Ecolab Global Pest Elimination.

The GPMC also provided a toolkit, courtesy of the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), that contained promotional materials that individuals and organizations could use to support World Pest Day. The coalition also thanked Orkin for its ongoing support of World Pest Day.

 

Wisconsin Women Launch PWIPM Chapter

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin now has its own chapter of Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM), an affiliate group of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

Breanna Neerland, A.C.E., operations manager at Kwik Kill Pest Control, Madison, Wis., was inspired to organize the chapter after attending virtual PWIPM events during the COVID-19 pandemic. She contacted NPMA to get a chapter started in her home state and kicked things off with a booth at the February Wisconsin Pest Control Association’s Midwest PestCon.

Attendees of the first-ever Professional Women in Pest Management Wisconsin chapter meeting.

Neerland grew up in the pest control industry. Her father, Bob, is the founder of Kwik Kill.

Neerland joined the family business seven years ago after a five-year career in pharmaceuticals and has since worked her way from technician to her current position as operations manager. She said she believes it’s important for women in the pest management industry to have a safe space where they can share their experiences, learn and grow.

“I believe that women-focused organizations are extremely important in male-dominated industries, because it allows us to be surrounded by peers that understand the struggles that we go through,” Neerland said.

Neerland said she wants the direction of the chapter to be determined by its members, whether they’re interested in networking opportunities or crave more educational sessions.

The chapter’s first official event was a kick-off party at Bell Laboratories. About 20 industry professionals attended for networking, a silent auction and a chance to put names to faces after interacting in the chapter’s Facebook group, Neerland said.

Neerland said she appreciates the pest control industry’s opportunities for continued growth and learning, along with its supportive nature. “This industry is truly unique, because we all encourage each other’s success,” she said.

Those interested in joining Wisconsin PWIPM can email Neerland at breanna@kwikkill.net or join the Facebook group Wisconsin Professional Women In Pest Management. — Jacqueline Mitchell