Gooch Reflects on Pest Management’s Past

|  September 10, 2013

I was flattered when the Pest Management Professional (PMP) staff asked me to contribute to this 80th Anniversary Collectors Edition! The thought of how to approach this special assignment brought back a flood of memories. During my tenure with the magazine, from 1995 to 2005, I saw a significant change in how the industry identified itself.

Back in the mid-’90s, as a nervous 20-something working for then-Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Jerry Mix and then-Managing Editor Lisa Shaheen, I was instructed to keep the “exterminator” references to a minimum. Still, I recall how each of us struggled over whether using the term “pest management” in Pest Control magazine would give the connotation that a tech couldn’t finish a job and treatment would be ongoing instead of the one-and-done approach so prevalent in the industry. Over time, we realized the emerging “pest management” concept wasn’t negative. Pest management techniques such as pest proofing and ongoing monitoring lessened the threat of emergency callbacks and offered new revenue streams.

In the late 1990s, we started using the word “management” with aplomb, and suddenly, our references to pest control operators doing pest management seemed to be at odds. What were PCOs operating, exactly? To more accurately describe their jobs, we should say they were managing — people, pests and expectations. Around this time, our technology columnist, Dean Stanbridge, pointed out that many of his Canadian colleagues were referring to themselves as pest management professionals (PMPs).
The National Pest Control Association became the National Pest Management Association in 1996. It was more than semantics; it was a change of how the industry saw itself.

We started referring to professionals as PMPs in stories in 2000, and by 2007 the staff made the transition complete by changing the name of the magazine to Pest Management Professional (PMP). 2007 wasn’t the first time the magazine underwent a makeover to reflect the changing times and industry. The publication launched in 1933 as Exterminators Log. Then the publication’s name evolved into Pests, then Pests and Their Control, then Pest Control, then PMP.

Celebrating achievements
My start at the magazine coincided with the demise of chlorpyrifos and passage and implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act, which overhauled the way the U.S. EPA weighted the risk of pesticides.

While I’m proud of many accomplishments during my tenure, and grateful for the many friends I made, learned from and still keep in touch with, one of the biggest projects I had the honor to work on began in 1996. Another of our columnists, Dr. Austin Frishman, suggested we spearhead an industry Hall of Fame. He was concerned so many pioneers in pest management were being passed by as time passed and their contributions were being taken for granted. Before we knew it, we were planning a black-tie affair at Purdue University in January 1997 for the inaugural HOF class comprising Bob Russell, Dr. John Osmun and Bill Brehm.

This year we’re inducting six professionals, expanding our PMP Hall of Fame to 75 industry icons. To find out who comprises our PMP Hall of Fame Class of 2013, check out Will Nepper’s “Off the Cuff” column on page 8 of our regular September show issue accompanying this 80th Anniversary special edition. Please also visit www.pmphalloffame.com; these individuals’ stories might inspire you to take up their mantle and continue to lead this industry down its path of professionalism. pmp

You can reach Gooch at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net

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