A night to honor, remember and celebrate

By |  October 18, 2016
The PMP Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Class of 2016 included, from left to right, Dr. Vernard Lewis; Larry Treleven; Blair and Brenna Toblan, who accepted the honor on behalf of their father, the late Vern Toblan; and Dick Sameth. Photo: PMP

The PMP Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Class of 2016 included, from left to right, Dr. Vernard Lewis; Larry Treleven; Blair and Brenna Toblan, who accepted the honor on behalf of their father, the late Vern Toblan; and Dick Sameth. Photo: PMP

All the stars were out again this year for PMP‘s 2016 Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet. Once a year the staff of PMP has the honor of gathering with some of the most influential folks in pest management at NPMA’s PestWorld event — this year in Seattle — to honor the titans of the industry. The black-tie event is the only time I ever have the opportunity to get all dudded up in a tux (… not since prom. I don’t get invited to many weddings.) and it’s always a joyful celebration.

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Pi Chi Omega members celebrate with Vern Toblan’s son and daughter

This year’s Hall of Fame class included: Dr. Vernard Lewis, Larry Treleven, Dick Sameth and — this year’s posthumous recipient — Vern Toblan. Each were honored with a snazzy plaque, one of which is theirs to keep, with a duplicate to be hung in the hallowed halls of Purdue University’s entomology department, which houses PMP‘s “wall of fame.” Additionally, each honoree was introduced with a brief video of their life and career highlights before taking to the podium to accept the award and give an acceptance speech.

Vern Toblans children, Brenna and Blair Toblan accepted Vern’s award on his behalf and both offered a beautifully heartfelt tribute to their father. While neither sibling followed their father’s lead into the realm of pest management, they both were clear that the night’s events gave them a better understanding of their father’s passion for the industry and the people at the heart of it. For me, the Toblan duo’s respective acceptance speeches were the highlight of the night — not only due to the heartwarming vocalized remembrance of their much-loved father, but because it gave everyone in attendance Monday night, the opportunity to see their professional realm from an outsider’s perspective.

Bob Dold and Larry Treleven Photo: PMP

Bob Dold and Larry Treleven Photo: PMP

It reminded me of my early days writing for the industry and how I was quickly taken by the spirit of camaraderie and the spirit of sharing that sets the pest management industry apart from other fields. It was also, I believe, a nice reminder to everyone that their chosen field of expertise is unique in that way; something that might occasionally be forgotten from being so submerged in pest management. An outsider’s voice reminds all not to take for granted the feeling of pride and brotherhood that sets the industry apart from so many other disciplines.

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PMP publisher and editorial director, Marty Whitford, presents Dick Sameth with his Hall of Fame plaque. Photo: PMP

PMP publisher and editorial director, Martin Whitford, and PMP editor, Heather Gooch served as the evening’s co-masters of ceremony, giving Gooch the opportunity to, once again play straight-woman to the comedic stylings of our fearless leader. Meanwhile I disrupted the evening at regular intervals, running around to snap pictures to document the memorable night.

PMP thanks all of those who attended last nights special event, particularly the new class of 2016, their families, our columnists, our friends and the event’s sponsors. We can’t wait to see who we’ll be honoring next year.

Signing off from PestWorld 2016 in Seattle, Wash.  — Watching this space for more reports on the ground from NPMA PestWorld 2016 in Seattle, Wash.

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About the Author:

Will Nepper is senior editor of PMP magazine.

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