Take solace that even 47 years ago, the pest management industry was struggling to find qualified professionals. Companies across the country are still looking for ways to hire and retain top-notch technicians today.
In 1973, the July issue of Pest Control magazine, now Pest Management Professional (PMP), highlighted the struggle to recruit students into pest control at a collegiate level. Dr. Gary Bennett, PMP Hall of Fame Class of 2006, shared his strategy to bolster the pest management industry’s labor pool and develop trained professionals.
At the time, Dr. Bennett served as an assistant professor of entomology at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. He recognized that many students in entomology programs, or otherwise, didn’t realize pest control was a career path they could follow, saying: Most people do not understand the scope of the career field or the large number of pests the professional deals with.
Dr. Bennett’s service in the pest management industry began when he was 12 at his father’s company in Lake Charles, La., Bennett Pest Control. He saw firsthand the challenges of operating a pest control company without enough technicians.
He noted pest control offers a variety of choices for graduates:
He cited the federal government’s Public Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Armed Forces. Others who need pest control graduates include mosquito abatement districts, hospitals, nursing homes and other public institutions, lawn and garden centers and, of course, pest control firms.
Last summer, Dr. Bennett retired from his post as coordinator of Purdue’s Urban and Industrial Pest Management Center.