In February, more than 370 people attended the National Wildlife Control Operators Association’s (NWCOA’s) Wildlife Expo in sunny Myrtle Beach, S.C. The event kicked off with a warm welcome reception in the group’s largest exhibit hall to date, with 40 vendors ready to share their products, services and a wealth of information.
NWCOA presented several certification courses before and after Wildlife Expo, and also introduced the Structural Bird Management course. Avitrol and Bird Barrier combined their two certification trainings into one training event that was held prior to the Expo.
Several members were presented with NWCOA achievement awards, including:
- Tim Julien Lifetime Legacy Award: Michael Tucker, CWCP, Beast Nuisance Wildlife Solutions, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Educator of the Year: Carla Wagner, Wild Goose Chase, Chicago Ridge, Ill.
- Professional of the Year: Russell Sieb, CWCP, NJ Pest Control, Randolph, N.J.
- Volunteers of the Year: Keith Markun, Beast Nuisance Wildlife Solutions, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Chris Sims, Eco Wildlife Solutions, Moreland, Ga.
- Micro-Business of the Year: The Critter Trapper, Inglewood, Calif.
- Macro-Business of the Year: Varment Guard Wildlife Services, Columbus, Ohio.
Website connects members, consumers
The recently relaunched NWCOA website aims to provide members with easy-to-find information about membership, benefits, events, certifications, training and more. Integrated with a new Association Management System, members can log into the system to gain access to the Just for Members section. There, they can update their profile information, which is then instantly updated in the directory. Members also can register for events and pay their dues, with an auto-renewal option if they prefer.
An all-new consumer section provides information about the industry and why it is important to use the services of a professional. A searchable directory allows consumers to locate a member company or use the advanced search to find companies with specialized training.
Taking training to the next level
With education being a hallmark of the group’s purpose, the NWCOA board voted in April 2018 to hire a training coordinator. This individual would be dedicated to coordinating training, keeping current programs up-to-date, and developing new curriculums for NWCOA members.
After a two-month search, Gregg Schumaker was hired to fill the position in June 2018. Since then, he has developed two new training courses: the NWCOA Urban Bird Management course and the NWCOA Structural Bat Management Professional course. In addition, the NWCOA Wildlife Control Operator Training course was completely revamped.
This year, Schumaker plans to refresh the Advanced Operator Training course and to begin creation of the NWCOA Urban Bird Management Professional, Part II course. Under his direction, the number of training courses increased four-fold in 2018. In 2019, NWCOA is offering a full complement of courses across the country: Visit NWCOA.com/event-calendar to find a course near you.
Seeking industry leaders
The NWCOA governing board elections will be held in October. A governing board of nine members meets monthly for meetings, and each serves on committees to keep the goals and objectives of the organization moving forward.
To run for a seat on the board, you must carry a professional NWCOA membership for a minimum of three years. If you qualify, the NWCOA can connect you with a current board member to learn more. Nomination forms will also be distributed to all members in August.
Election results will be announced at the NWCOA Annual Membership Meeting, which will take place in conjunction with Wildlife Expo 2020 on Feb. 4-6 in Las Vegas, Nev.