2020 Purdue Conference packs informational punch


January 8, 2020


Attendees of the Purdue Pest Management Conference’s Business Workshop filled the room. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

Nearly 400 pest management professionals (PMPs) gathered on the West Lafayette, Ind. main campus of Purdue University from Jan. 6-8. They attended the 84th annual Purdue Pest Management Conference, to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for Indiana and surrounding states, as well as network with colleagues, browse the exhibit hall and more.

This year, the conference unveiled its first-ever business workshop. Attendees had to pre-register for the Jan. 6 morning event, and it was soon standing-room-only. Moderated by 2019 PMP Hall of Famer David Mueller, BCE, who with fellow PMP Hall of Famer Judy Dold (Class of 2002) brought the idea of a Purdue Conference business-centric workshop to fruition. The speakers included:

  • Former U.S. House Rep. Bob Dold Jr. (R-IL), president of Northbrook, Ill.-based Rose Pest Solutions, gave attendees an overview of the business climate, on national, industry and market levels.
  • Francie Hinrichsen, owner of marketing company Simply Integrated, presented four “smart habits” for success in business, and explained action items for each one so attendees could hit the ground running.
  • Mueller concluded the workshop with a presentation titled “Reading the Financial Tea Leaves,” and then led a question-and-answer session with attendees with Hinrichsen and Dold.



“Nibbles” was perched on the lectern because 2020 is officially the Year of the Rat. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

Before the official start of the conference, Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, moderated a three-part series of mid-morning presentations under the umbrella “Leveling Up: How to Transform from a Noob to a Boss.” Shep, who is not only VP of Rose Pest Solutions of Troy, Mich., but president of Pi Chi Omega and a PMP columnist, patiently explained all the gaming lingo to an audience that perhaps was not as well-versed in the ways of Nintendo and its ilk. He was on hand to introduce the trio of speakers:

  • Recently retired PMP columnist Ray Johnson, president of ACEs for Business, told attendees his presentation was intended to “get everyone on the same page with service, branding and technology.”
  • Industry consultant Jeff McGovern, The Resource Shop, did a humorous and informative take on personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Gaming enthusiast Mark VanderWerp of Rose Pest Solutions offered attendees several “cheat codes” for success, ranging from maintaining a positive attitude to taking charge of your personal and professional finances.



Dr. Stan Cope presented solid information in an entertaining manner. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

Purdue Planning Committee Chair Carrie Campbell, president of Hatfield Pest Control, La Porte, Ind., welcomed attendees and kicked off the official conference. She introduced the afternoon speakers, including:

  • Dr. Stan Cope, Catchmaster‘s  VP of technical services, pinch-hit for Gene White, since the latter was unable to attend. Dr. Cope talked about mosquitoes, ticks and other vectors, and what diseases are being spread throughout the world.
  • Leo Reed, manager of certification and licensing for the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, explains not only the state’s new Pollinator Plan, but also gave an in-depth overview of upcoming regulatory issues — the most pressing of which regards whether technicians can apply restricted-use pesticides under their supervisors’ license.
  • Dr. Karen Vail, professor of urban integrated pest management (IPM) at the University of Tennessee, reviewed ant identification tips and tricks in a fun way: She split attendees into groups that had to identify species just based on scant (but real-life) information.

After the annual group photo on the steps of the Stewart Center, attendees made their way to the Purdue Pest Management reception and exhibition. (Read more about the exhibitors here.)



Dr. Bobby Corrigan always packs the house for his presentations. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

The next morning, Dr. Vail returned to present best practices for low-level bed bug infestations. After her presentation, PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Bobby Corrigan (Class of 2008) explained his “Sherlock Holmes approach” to rodent IPM.

The exhibit hall was open for lunch, with two value-added sessions also going on:

  • Rich Williams, R-Pro Products, shared tips for reducing conducive conditions for a variety of pests.
  • Jack Searls, AAC Distributing, presented an overview on bat biology, behavior, control and prevention.

The afternoon’s technical sessions gave attendees choices as to which speakers to see. They included:

After the afternoon presentations, attendees could take a tour of the entomology laboratory facilities, attend a fumigation update session presented by Drs. Jennifer Gordon and Barbara Nead-Nylander (both from Douglas Products), or attend PMP Hall of Famer (Class of 2006) Dr. Gary Bennett’s retirement reception and roast. Learn more about that last event here.


  • T.J. Neary, Insect Technologies, kicked off the third day of presentations with “Down and Dirty Inspections and Top Mistakes Inspectors Make” during wood-destroying organism (WDO) inspections.
  • Ralph Williams, Purdue professor emeritus, followed up with a presentation detailing insects and their role in forensics.

After a midday awards luncheon, the conference wrapped up with two presentations moderated by the author:

  • Dr. Mike “Dr. Flea” Dryden, Kansas State University, gave an overview on ticks.
  • Jeff McGovern returned to present “Better Ways and New Technologies” to attendees.

The 85th annual Purdue Pest Management Conference will take place Jan. 11-13, 2021. The 86th conference is set for Jan. 10-12, 2022.


About the Author

Heather Gooch

Heather Gooch is the editor-in-chief for PMP magazine. She can be reached at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.

Leave A Comment

  1. Doug Foster says:

    The Purdue Conference was jam-packed with relevant and useful information that PMP’s can put into action immediately! Thanks for the awesome coverage of this timeless event!!!