When and why did you first “fall” for the bug business?
I started with the association just over 15 years ago (1997), and was primarily looking for an opportunity to serve people and work with a team that ultimately made a difference. With the National Pest Management Association (NPMA, then the NPCA) I recognized an opportunity to jump right in and be a contributor by learning the trade of meetings and conventions.
In your opinion, what are the Top 3 obstacles facing the NPMA today?
I would say the major obstacles would involve keeping up with the next generation as it relates to programming and, perhaps more importantly, stressing the importance to younger pest management professionals (PMPs) of attending a face-to-face meeting vs. simply getting information online. Related to that issue is the pressing issue of time, where there is a limited amount of it for member, making it difficult to step away from their businesses and families. And finally, there are the continuous regulatory challenges, which have an impact on the strength of our supplier community in supporting the association and its membership.
What are the NPMA’s Top 3 opportunities?
NPMA has opportunities to identify niche markets and offer educational resources in a timely manner, developing programs that meet the needs of a diverse membership portfolio ranging from very small businesses to mega-corporations. And finally, there’s the international marketplace.
What changes have taken place in the NPMA’s annual convention, PestWorld, over the past few years?
Each year we meet to come up with new, innovative ideas we can use to enhance the strength of the annual convention. It’s the world’s largest pest management expo, and it continues to grow each year despite the environment of mergers and acquisitions. The exhibit hall continues to be a strong focal point, where we strive to ensure the attendees flood the floor each day, visiting the suppliers who support the show. A new concept was rolled out last year in the form of our “House of Learning,” where a hotel room or studio apartment was set up and used for demonstrations and classroom discussions.
There are opportunities every year that involve working with local municipalities in different locations. Last year in New Orleans, for example, we did structural pest tours of the French Quarter. Plus, the local state associations make sure PestWorld has a strong impact on their local membership or attendee base. Last year, we held a Louisiana Day, where special programming and featured speakers were offered. This type of programming will also be offered this year in Boston.
What changes can PMPs expect to see this year at the show?
For PestWorld 2012 we’re very excited because, based on our location, we have a unique opportunity to partner with Benson Shapiro, a renowned professor from the Harvard Business School who’ll be leading our Management Institute, which is offered as an optional program within the convention program. We’re also offering in-depth educational programs, Thought Leaders, where outside-the-industry experts are featured in various topics including sales, marketing, social media and more.
We’re also featuring Small Business Saturday, an event that includes special programming designed with the small business’ needs in mind; the Pest Academy, which offers in-depth study of a specific pest from an industry expert; and finally, the Bed Bug Symposium, where we continue to offer new and critical information to our members.
What can a PMP expect to gain by attending PestWorld this year?
PMPs gain exposure to the world’s largest pest exposition. Plus, there’s an opportunity to learn from the industry’s leading researchers, educators and consultants in more than 75 educational sessions.
There will also be opportunities for networking with more than 3,000 attendees from around the world.
What other events does the NMPA sponsor?
The NPMA hosts a series of Regional Conferences each year, including the Eastern, Southwestern, Southern and Mid-Atlantic/Carolinas Summer Conference. In addition, there are several other specialty meetings hosted annually:
- Legislative Day, where our industry has the opportunity to gather and be represented on Capitol Hill;
- the Academy, focused on personal and professional growth based on a foundation of team-building and networking;
- the Lawn Care Summit, geared toward companies offering lawn care services, partnered with the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET); and
- the Wildlife Expo, partnered with the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA), which offers an outlet for those engaged in wildlife control and bird management.
When there’s a need that presents itself, the NPMA works to be timely, presenting on topics that aren’t part of the annual program schedule. Most recently, the NPMA sponsored the Bed Bug Forum, Bed Bug Workshop series, and the Canine Inspection Conference.
All of this sounds like a lot of work. What do you do for fun?
Oddly enough, spending so much time on the road or in the air, I still enjoy traveling and exploring new places with my husband, Matt. When we’re not working or traveling, we’re enjoying the good life and our blessings, which includes relaxing at home with our friends and family.
At a Glance
Title: Vice President, Conventions & Professional Development
Organization: National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
Years in pest management: 15 years with NPMA
Industry mentors: NPMA CEO, Rob Lederer
Top 3 industry achievements to date: “My top achievement would be the continuous growth in attendance and financial return for NPMA’s annual convention. I also serve as staff liaison for the Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM), which allows me to be part of the development of an amazing group of women. An annual scholarship is given every year to promote women in pest management. Over the past two years PWIPM has been able to raise more than $20,000 for breast cancer research. Part of my work includes serving as staff liaison for the Leadership Development Group (LDG), watching the growth of the industry’s young leaders, while actively engaged in facilitating the mentoring program where members can learn from one another in a non-competing environment. I also work with the LDG to strengthen my commitment to serving the communities we visit — for example, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans in October 2011 and our recent work with the Boys and Girls Club of Boston.”
Jerry Mix, was editor/publisher of PMP until his retirement in 2004. A member of the PMP Hall of Fame (Class of 2005), Mix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.