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Rise up, Pest Nation

|  October 7, 2020
Scott Steckel addresses 2019 PestWorld attendees in San Diego, Calif., as NPMA president-elect. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

Scott Steckel addresses 2019 PestWorld attendees in San Diego, Calif., as NPMA president-elect. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

Since late March, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has held both its Executive Leadership and the Pest Academy events online. As we gear up for a virtual PestWorld convention this month, we wish we could celebrate our vibrant industry in person with you. But as they say, when you have lemons, it’s best to make lemonade. We know this year will be different, but plans are in place to ensure it is just as successful as in years past.

Since COVID-19 arrived in the U.S. earlier this year and nearly everyone was affected by a shelter-in-place order, it is now time to support one another by joining this virtual event to deepen our education, see new products and materials from our vendors, and find new ways to network with industry peers. I love hearing news that colleagues on the residential side of the business are doing much better than initially expected, and that the commercial side is returning to normal after a couple of months’ downturn. I am personally grateful that the NPMA staff found our purpose early in the pandemic as “essential services,” which gave all of us the needed lift to fight through the many changes this has caused us all.

It hasn’t been easy, but once again this industry survives and thrives during times of economic changes. The story of our family-oriented industry once again collaborating to overcome the lack of a pandemic “playbook” to follow warms the heart. I encourage those who always attend in person to continue the tradition via their laptop, desktop or tablet, and for those who haven’t experienced PestWorld in person before to try this new venue. With no travel, hotel or meal costs, and a new virtual meeting discount, you can afford to attend this year’s PestWorld and discover the exceptional.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

First, we all need a cure for this virus, and our best hope is for at least one of the 23 testing variants currently being tested to work. Once we have a cure, then life as we knew it can start to return. Two thoughts I have about the industry’s road ahead include:

  • I am confident home values will increase, since many homeowners have put some of their savings into large home improvements. That bodes well for homeowners’ need for pest control protection.
  • The mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) market has picked back up at the same time as the volume of new small businesses is growing. Both are due to the spin-off of many experienced folks from these sales and the downsizing of other industries that discovered the value of the pest control industry. New faces mean new ideas, and shared thoughts mean we all get better.

VIRTUAL PRESENCE

It is my hope that a cure happens in time for our Legislative Day event in Washington, D.C., set
for March 14-16, 2021.

We need that to happen for so many reasons — not the least of which, the social nature of pest management professionals practically demands it!

In addition to “seeing” you at PestWorld, I look forward to being virtually present at many of your state meetings over the coming months. If I can be of assistance to you as a fellow member of the “Pest Nation,” please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Scott Steckel

Scott Steckel

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STECKEL is strategic development director for Plunkett’s Pest Control, and the 2020-21 president of the National Pest Management Association. He can be reached at scott.steckel@plunketts.net.

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