In his role as southeastern technical manager for B&G Equipment Co., Dr. Claude Thomas regularly speaks at association meetings, distributor events and company functions, about cutting-edge pest management technologies and techniques.
B&G Equipment typically launches three pest management products a year. Because Dr. Thomas helps develop these solutions and introduces them to pest management professionals, he helps educate about 5,000 pest management professionals (PMPs) each year.
The 2013 Pest Management Professional (PMP) Hall of Fame inductee was B&G’s vice president of sales, marketing and research, from 1980 to 1992. He began this second stint with B&G Equipment in 2004.
He has conducted countless continuing education unit (CEU) training programs for PMPs in his 12-state territory, which starts at its northern point in Kentucky and continues south to Florida and the Gulf states.
Dr. Thomas recently finished two years as education chairman for the Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA), where he helped develop 10 online training programs. He’s been on the Field Day and Workshop Committee for Florida A&M University since 1993. And he’s part of a committee that’s writing specifications to eliminate conehead termites (Nasutitermes corniger) from a 40-acre plot in Davie, Fla.
In 1994, in the midst of many industry commitments, Dr. Thomas made another one: He married Jennifer Leggett, owner of Lindsey Pest Control, Jacksonville, Fla.
“Jennifer and I are highly involved in the pest management industry, working with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the FPMA,” Dr. Thomas said. “Jennifer is in her second term as an NPMA board of directors member-at-large, which means we’re involved in nearly all association programs and activities.”
Dr. Thomas earned all three of his degrees — bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate — at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo. He was active in the field of academic work at Western Michigan and the University of California, Riverside, before finding his calling in the pest management field. He takes a great deal of pride in his work at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg where he did postdoctoral work from 1990-1991 under Dr. Bill Robinson, now technical director for B&G Equipment.
“At that time, we didn’t understand why we were having so many retreats in termiticide applications,” Dr. Thomas said. “I was looking at the movement of termiticides in soil because termites were finding the holes where the termiticide applications weren’t complete. We learned the drill holes needed to be moved to 1-ft. spacings as opposed to 18-in. spacings. That changed our whole thought process about termite work.”
“Claude brings a practical approach to his research and knowledge of equipment and application technology,” Dr. Robinson said. “We all learn from him. What the industry knows about the movement of liquid and foam under concrete slabs is not guesswork. There’s good data, hard won by Claude from beneath heavy concrete slabs.”
Dr. Thomas said his top three industry achievements include receiving the 2011 Pioneer Award from the Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA), serving as the educational chairman for FPMA and serving on the planning committee for the Urban Entomology Conference from 1985-1992.
He is quick to share the spotlight: “I’ve been honored all these years to work with the leaders of this industry, learning from them and passing it on.”