Some 30 years ago, I decided to drive to Chattanooga, Tenn., to attend a daylong training seminar and learn more about pest management. As I remember it, this was before we had to get everyone certified and earn continuing education points. I just wanted to learn how to control pests better and raise the bar for myself, as I was still a rookie and had lots to learn. The main speaker for this event was none other than Dr. Austin Frishman, BCE-Emeritus. I had read his column in this very magazine religiously, and I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say.
I sat up front to be able to see and hear, and I’m glad I did. If you have been to one of Dr. Frishman’s presentations, you know he has at least two tables full of pest management-related items spread all over the place. He then uses these props to explain how and why each particular tool is important for controlling a certain pest.
Special teaching style
I am a visual learner, and I love this approach to teaching. If he ever starts a YouTube channel to demonstrate pest management (hint, hint, Doc, if you’re reading this!), I just know tons of people would subscribe to learn valuable information.
What I really love about Doc’s teaching style is that he challenges us to think outside the box when confronted with a specific pest problem. You might say that going the extra mile to search out every nook, crack and crevice is just the start; you have to also learn the why and how that pest is located in that spot. That’s what I have learned from Dr. Frishman.
An amazing career
From the old days of running a huge fogging bomb truck through the neighborhood, to inspecting some of the largest food manufacturing plants in the nation to advise them on existing conducive conditions, Doc has done it all. Over the years, I have had him come to my office and provide training. We also have had him speak many times at our local Smoky Mountain conference. He loves to come to the Smokies, as he is an avid fly fisherman.
My personal signed copy of his book, The Cockroach Combat Manual, is a treasure and is not for sale. Everyone in the business should do a deep dive into the pages of this classic if they want to really understand how to kill those suckers.
Our friendship over the years has grown closer, and my wife Tammy and I look forward to seeing Doc and his wife, Barbara, at PestWorld every year. He told me a few years ago he was thinking of retiring, but luckily for our industry, he continued on for a while longer. But at this year’s Pest Management Professional Hall of Fame, it was announced he is officially retiring. I hope he has a worldwide farewell tour that lasts a while.
I will always feel like I won the lottery with the wealth of knowledge I learned from this good doctor. Happy fly fishing and enjoying your grandchildren, family and friends, Doc. Thank you for your service to our industry.