This month, we feature a question and answer (Q&A) session with Dr. Austin Frishman president of Boca Raton, Fla.-based AMF Pest Management Services.
1. How can the pest management industry attract more top-caliber professionals?
Fifty-plus years ago, I heard this same question. And 50 years from now, it will still be asked. We need to assemble a task force comprised of professionals representing all facets of this industry to develop a powerful recruiting brochure, DVD, website and app. We need to drive home the myriad opportunities this industry offers, and how pest management professionals (PMPs) are true heroes who protect people, pets, plants and structures, while serving as guardians of the environment. We need PMPs to spread this good news with guidance counselors and students. PMPs should invite students to tour their facilities. We should make a special effort to reach out to trade schools and veterans. We have to create and promote attractive careers, not stepping-stone jobs.
2. How can we better train and retain the hardworking professionals already serving our industry?
Training presenters should be all-stars in the areas they’re discussing, and let’s make training more fun: informative and entertaining. For retention, we need to do a better job making our co-workers feel more wanted and needed. We need to drive this home through our actions and words.
3. Is there a story behind the scorpion bolo tie you wear often?
I wear a scorpion bolo tie because:
1. I can’t stand anything tight around my neck.
2. It creates an unforgettable first impression.
3. Mom took out a scorpion hanging on our screen door with just one whack of her shoe, showing me protecting families and homes is key.
4. You’ve achieved plenty since joining the professional pest management industry in 1967. Why—with all that you have accomplished—do you always say: “Faith and family come first”?
When each of us departs this world, our headstone will state the day we were born and the day we died. The dash between the two dates is measured by what each of us does when we’re alive. I’m most proud of the successes of those closest to me, especially my children and grandchildren. We are called by God to be of maximum service to others, and it starts in the home.
5. Speaking of family, some of us sometimes have a problem ensuring we harness mobile business technology, rather than the technology harnessing us. Do you have any related advice for PMPs?
Technology should help us without impersonalizing our services or encroaching on our family time. The gift of technology, harnessed properly, is immense. But let’s never forget that a simple smile, handshake or a few kind words can mean more to a customer or co-worker than a text or email. The business of technology adoption is part science and part art. We have to be high tech and high touch.
You can reach Pest Management Professional Publisher and Editorial Director Marty Whitford at email@example.com.