Not even snow mid-spring could douse the camaraderie and collective sense of accomplishment at this year’s United Producers, Formulators & Distributors Association (UPFDA) meeting.
Held April 17-19 in Chicago, UPFDA’s spring meeting marked the golden jubilee of the organization. Attendance at the annual meeting was up 20 percent thanks to UPFDA’s 50th anniversary, a powerful lineup of presenters, and a closing evening featuring:
⦁ A five-star, five-course dinner.
⦁ Guest speaker Dan Hampton, an NFL Hall of Famer who played defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears when they won Super Bowl XX in January 1986.
⦁ Oldham Chemicals’ Tommy Reeves, two-time UPFDA president, sharing “50 Years of Memories.”
Reeves noted how far UPFDA has come from its few founding members in 1968. Today, UPFDA is 75-plus members strong, a singular voice protecting the proven products and professionals serving the structural pest management industry.
Reeves shared a snippet from the minutes of UPFDA’s first meeting in 1968. The minutes identified a trend toward industry manufacturers partnering with distributors to develop the professional market, and then some turning around and trying to sell direct. “Sound familiar?” Reeves asked, causing the room to erupt in laughter. “Fifty years later, this is something we’re still fighting — a good reminder of UPFDA’s timeless relevance.”
Other meeting highlights included:
⦁ David Crow, founder of DC Legislative & Regulatory Services, shared his take on President Donald Trump: “Like it or not, Trump is doing much of what he said he would do, which doesn’t happen often in politics. Trump said he would quickly reduce the size and scope of the federal government. He has cut almost 1,000 positions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alone.” [Editor’s Note: These cuts have come at a cost. The EPA reportedly has lost almost two-thirds of its staff for reviewing pesticides and rodenticides, which has slowed product registrations and re-registrations.]
⦁ Dr. Stanton Cope, AP&G’s VP of technical products and services, advised pest management professionals (PMPs) providing mosquito management services to inspect sites thoroughly (look up, down and all around), perform mosquito monitoring, rotate chemicals, avoid non-targets, and manage expectations. “Mosquito management should be positioned as public health risk, and nuisance, abatement. PMPs’ marketing message should be: ‘We will reduce the number of — not entirely eliminate — mosquitoes.’”
⦁ Rose Pest Solutions’ Bob Dold Jr. held a lively question-and-answer session focused on understanding consumers: “If a prospective customer tells you, ‘I have to talk to my husband,’ then you haven’t made the sale. Eighty-five percent of purchasing decisions are made by women.”
⦁ Hampton shared insightful lessons from his NFL career, including: “I remember Coach [Mike] Ditka, shortly after being hired, getting us all in a room and telling us: ‘I’ve watched a lot of game film. We have a lot of great players. But we’re not playing as a team, and we don’t have shared goals.’” In his closing remarks, Hampton coached the 94 meeting attendees on how to win in life:
“To be successful, as individuals and organizations, we all need four things: 1. Something to do: a career.
2. Someone to love: family.
3. Something to believe in: faith.
4. Something to hope for: goals.”
One of UPFDA’s goals, Reeves added, is to continue to grow in size and scope … for decades.
“We built this organization from the ground up,” Reeves reminisced. “We’ve had a great run, but we’re nowhere near the finish line. It’s been a real honor to sit at the table with all of you. Here’s to 50-plus more years of continued growth for all.”
You can reach Marty Whitford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-706-3766.