The pest management industry fraternity Pi Chi Omega was founded in 1950 on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Ind., so it’s only fitting that its semi-annual membership meeting takes place during the annual Purdue Pest Management Conference each January. This year, like the conference itself, the Jan. 13 meeting took place online.
The evening before, on Jan. 12, Pi Chi Omega hosted a “Raise the Bar” event via Zoom (see our coverage via Facebook here). Both this event and the membership event were sponsored by MGK, Insect Detection Systems Inc. and Dr. Gary Bennett.
During the meeting, Pi Chi Omega President/Rose Pest Solutions VP of Technical Services/Pest Management Professional SHEPerspective Columnist/Mixologist Extraordinaire Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian, BCE, noted that the virtual event seemed to be another rousing success in terms of both camaraderie in the main and breakout Zoom “rooms,” and in raising awareness of the silent auction taking place on behalf of Pi Chi Omega’s scholarship fund. The fraternity is also currently collecting cocktail and mocktail drink recipes for an upcoming booklet on behalf of the fund.
Sheperdigian’s presidential overview also noted that Pi Chi Omega’s letter-writing outreach campaign to various colleges and universities to underscore the value of urban entomology in coursework has been well received, and that he expects that we will start to see some headway being made in 2021 as a result. He ended his president’s report with, as is his tradition, some original verse:
The water’s no longer uncharted
We ended as well as we started
We’re expecting no less
Than to clean up this mess
And get back to our business wholehearted.
After members approved the meeting minutes of the Oct. 13, 2020, meeting, which took place via Zoom during the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) PestWorld conference, committee chairs shared their reports.
Scholarship Committee Chair Desiree Straubinger, BCE, market technical director of Rentokil, noted that two scholarship fundraisers were currently underway — a silent auction of a molting grasshopper print from noted photographer and All-Rite Pest Control President Tom Myers, BCE, and individual donations. The auction ended during the meeting, with Immediate Past President Dale Baker, VP of J.T. Eaton, having the winning bid. He promptly donated the print back to Pi Chi Omega in an effort to build more funding, and it was awarded to the second-place bidder, Veseris‘ Mike Corbitt.
Straubinger noted the 2020 winners of the five Pi Chi Omega scholarships:
- Dr. John V. Osmun Scholarship: Tiana Molitor, master’s student at University of Minnesota, awarded $3,000
- Founder’s Endowment Scholarship: Fabian List, Texas A&M doctoral candidate, $2,000
- Dr. Austin M. Frishman Scholarship: Amanda Penicks, undergrad senior at California Polytech University of Pomona, $2,000
- Alain VanRyckeghem Memorial Scholarship: Aaron Rodriquez, doctoral candidate at Purdue, $2,000
- Norm Ehmann Scholarship: Rajani Sapkota, doctoral candidate at Purdue, $2,000
Summaries of the winners’ research projects will appear in an upcoming issue of the Pi Chi Omega newsletter.
The 2021 Scholarship Application is due by March 15, 2021. To be eligible, applications must be full-time students majoring in urban and industrial pest management, or some closely related plan of study. Learn more here.
MEMBERSHIP IS STRONG
After a report by Finance Committee Chair Russ Ives, Rose Pest Solutions, Pi Chi Omega’s Kristin Coron presented the Membership Committee report on behalf of Chair Dennis Judy, Judy’s Pest Services. The report noted that membership is comprised of 333 active, 67 long-standing (retired, legacy, lifetime, honorary) and 23 student members, for a total of 423 members. Four candidates were unanimously voted in as active members during the meeting:
- Dr. Zachary Devries
- Amanda Klein
- Gregg Orr
- Jen Sweeney
Next, Insects Limited VP Tom Mueller, co-chair of the Pi Chi Omega Gives Back Committee, gave an update on the readiness of the Junior Entomologist slideshow program for schools. The script, designed for members to present either in person or during a video presentation, can be tweaked for elementary to high school students, giving them a glimpse of the benefits of joining the pest control industry and/or becoming an entomologist.
Before Sheperdigian adjourned the meeting until PestWorld in November (yet to be determined whether it will take place in person or online), Coron reported that Myers donated another print for a similar silent auction to continue raising money for the scholarship fund. More details can be found at the Pi Chi Omega website.