With a distinguished career as an entomologist, pest management professional (PMP) and industry leader, Vernon McKinzie has been a key influencer in shaping the pest management industry. He has been a board certified entomologist (BCE) since 1974 and is longtime member of the Pi Chi Omega pest management fraternity. Now, he is now a 2013 Pest Management Professional (PMP) Hall of Fame inductee.
Serving the Association
McKinzie began his pest management career in 1959 and served on the-then National Pest Control Association (now National Pest Management Association, or NPMA) board of directors, as well as regional director. In addition, he chaired the NPMA operations committee when the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created and he assisted in writing and presenting the first Procedures Manual for OSHA compliance.
McKinzie served on the executive board as secretary/treasurer of the NPMA and became president in 1984, and helped restore fiscal stability to the NPMA during terms served on the executive committee. He also served the NPMA by-laws committee for two terms, helping rewrite the by-laws approved by membership; served on the insect control committee and assisted in drafting “Technical Reports” for various pests; and participated in several NPMA Legislative Days.
Passion for Entomology
McKinzie enrolled at the University of Kansas in 1955, contemplating a career as a math and science teacher. However, he took an introductory course in entomology, which sparked a passion for entomology and ultimately a career in the pest management industry. McKinzie completed his college degree in 1959.
“I was never afraid of insects, but I didn’t like scorpions,” he said. “Growing up on a farm, I was stung as a child, but fed scorpions to the chickens.”
McKinzie’s greatest mentor is his wife, the former Nancy Barrett, whom he began to date during the summer of 1954. She has given him 55 years of constant love, patience, support and encouragement. Additionally, he distinctively described additional mentors as his employees, former and present, for their loyalty and hard work throughout the years. They included Pastor Neil Heidrick, now deceased, pastor of his church in the 1960s; Roland Rhodes, a good friend and a supplier with great integrity; Bob Schendel, now deceased, (even though they sometimes disagreed) for giving McKinzie an opportunity; and Philip Spear, now deceased, former technical director of the NPMA, who gave McKinzie continued encouragement.
He is the founder of McKinzie Pest Control, which is now owned by the couple’s eldest son, Steve. He established a successful business from the ground up that supports more than 10 families and protects the health and property of thousands of families and businesses in East Central Kansas from pest infestations. McKinzie retired in December 2001 and remains a consultant. He and his wife reside in Emporia, Kan.
PMP Hall of Famer McKinzie has been very involved with the United Methodist Church and is a certified lay speaker. For six years, he was a trustee for a United Methodist eldercare facility in Newton, Kan. Serving the Boy Scouts of America as a Scoutmaster, McKinzie proudly shares that both sons, Steve and Phil, are Eagle Scouts.