The National Pest Management Association CEO Dominique Stumpf, CMP, CAE, welcomed attendees to the first ever virtual version of PestWorld during the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Originally scheduled to be held in Nashville, Tenn., the 87th annual event was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Although things may certainly be different in this new digital environment, and no I’m not going to say the new normal, I can promise you that you are going to receive a tremendously valuable experience this week,” said Stumpf in a recorded message played for attendees. “And we’re so happy you’re here with us as we make history together.”
PestWorld 2020 is no different from past events, as it is a place for those in the pest management industry to gather to network, learn to improve, and grow together.
Stumpf highlighted the ways in which the NPMA served its members in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- A dedicated website — pestcontrolcoronavirus.com — with updated coronavirus related information geared to pest control businesses and employees.
- A webinar series to provide relevant, current information to help companies stay in business.
- The push for pest control to be classified as an essential service not only on a state level, but on a federal level as well.
“This industry responded with kindness and grace in the face of adversity,” she said. “You helped your customers, and were one of the few people even allowed inside homes during stay-at-home orders. You offered flexibility to your employees, you supported other local businesses, and found ways for your teams to give back to your communities.”
She also acknowledged those who helped make the switch to a virtual event.
“Thank you for the exceptional staff at the NPMA for working so quickly and outside of their comfort zone to convert this year’s event to a virtual platform,” she said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them, and their passion and dedication to our membership.”
She thanked the supplier community and PestWorld sponsors, as well as the strategic partners that continually support NPMA initiatives.
“We’re looking forward to what’s to come, and have full faith that we can do and face anything when we are motivated and working together,” Stumpf said.
The NPMA’s Workforce Development Initiative, a program introduced at PestWorld 2019, is now up and running, Stumpf said. It is designed to help pest control companies to grow by finding and fostering skilled workers.
A video shown about the program revealed employment of pest control workers is projected to grow 7 percent, from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
Highlights of the Workforce Development Initiative include:
- A website — PestControlJobs.com — will help make job seekers aware of the excellent job opportunities in the pest management industry, promoting careers and earning potential.
- A comprehensive search engine optimization program will increase the website’s visibility online and attract job seekers using keywords during online searches.
- A job board function will provide a consistent, up-to-date list of job opportunities to help drive job seekers to pest control companies looking for workers.
- Newly launched Facebook and LinkedIn social media platforms will drive awareness of professional pest control as a desirable career path.
The program, said Stumpf, “will drive talent and seek to educate potential job seekers about the incredible opportunity that awaits them in the professional pest control industry.”
Also announced during the Opening Ceremony were the NPMA’s 2020 Executive Leadership Program members.
Established to identify and train aspiring association leaders and establish a pipeline of engaged individuals that represent the NPMA’s diverse membership, the program has a two-year curriculum encompassing professional development, association training, mentoring, and participation at NPMA events.
The second class of students graduated within the past year. This year, the NPMA welcomes the fourth class, which includes Tim Bird, Mayday Pest Solutions; Adam Brashier, Modern Pest Control; Bridget Carr, Bug Express Pest Control; Manuel “Manny” Guzman, Pestrol Inc.; William “Bill” Horgan, Debug Pest Control; Trent Kucherka, ABC Home & Commerical Services; Kaija Saarinen, Green and Gone Pest Solutions; Clint Sowle, Ecolab; Trey Strickland, Waynes Pest Control; and Donald Volonte, Terminix International.
As is tradition at PestWorld, the Opening Ceremony featured local entertainment. Because this year’s event was slated for Nashville, Tenn., songwriters Barry Dean and Luke Laird gave a virtual performance, playing their guitars from the comfort of their sofa.