While in Nashville two weeks ago, I had the honor of spending a little time with two NPMA committees that are not just important, but essential. The NPMA’s Diversity Committee – a committee whose mission it is to recognize, celebrate and expand diversity in the pest management industry, and PestVets, an organization that’s still actively recruiting, as it sculpts initiatives to provide U.S. veterans of all generations with a voice in the industry.
There were many events I could have attended in the blocks of time set aside for the Diversity committee meeting and the PestVets cocktail reception, but I was drawn to both based on a belief system that values honor and inclusion (particularly the inclusion of underrepresented voices). Both organizations seem to share those values and are attempting to make strides that will benefit the entire industry, no matter an individual’s background.
Both committees deserve recognition and coverage because they are, for now, relatively small groups both fighting to get their message out. Without knowing for certain, I’d still guess many PestWorld attendees are completely unaware that either committee exists. These groups need your support and recognition so they can more easily accomplish their unique and ambitious goals.
PestVets, for its part, has stepped forward to serve those who’ve served us with selfless dedication to their country. PestVets advocate for U.S. veterans and function as a liaison between our vets in the industry, outside the industry, and the industry at large. In February, the NPMA announced the formation of the new veterans group, and explained its mission as: helping veterans get jobs in the pest control industry through various education and training opportunities and provide mentoring and support for veterans currently employed in the industry.
The committee is less than a year old, having had its first brainstorming meeting at Legislative Day in March, 2015. Since then the committee has appointed its first chairman, Martin Overline of the Pennsylvania Pest Management Association and Aardvark Pest Control in Philadelphia. Overline served in the U.S. Air Force as an Entomology Engineer.
PestVet’s intent is noble and important and I encourage all veterans in the industry to find a way to get involved. I’m sure the NPMA and Overline would be more than happy to help bring you into the fold. Reach out and I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.
Likewise the NPMA’s Diversity Committee convened in an hour-long meeting at PestWorld in which its members tackled jumpstarting new initiatives as well as deciding on the next steps to initiatives already put into motion.
Victor A. Charles of Servicemaster in Memphis, Tenn. chairs the Diversity Committee whose stated goal is to develop tools and resources to help the industry navigate a continually changing environment as it works to attract, involve, and retain diverse talent pools. The committee applies the term diversity to encompass minorities, the disabled, women and multiple international voices. The U.S. – and by extension the pest management industry – becomes more and more diverse every day. Diversity is, after all one of the basic tenants our republic was built on, and as pest management navigates through the 21st century, being cognizant of diversity and its benefits to the industry can only serve to strengthen an already mighty profession.
If I were to reduce the Diversity Committee’s PestWorld meeting to a theme, it would be “getting the word out.” The committee is made up of strong, bold voices, all of whom are eager to get others involved. After spending an hour with its members at PestWorld I was inspired to do just that, even if it is via a channel as modest as this blog post.
You can start getting involved by visiting the NPMA website’s committee page here:
You’ll find contact information there, as well as mission statements for all of the Association’s committees, including the ones mentioned above.