Pest Management Professional recently caught up with Marsann McCants, a U.S. Air Force veteran and strategic account executive at Wil-Kil Pest Control, based in Sun Prairie, Wis. She is devoted to spreading the word of professional pest control as a career option to the next generation, especially to women and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), who may not be aware of the earning potential and rewards that abound in this industry.
1. First off, thank you for your service! How did you get into pest control?
Thank you. I learned about this industry through a customer service manager position I held at a human resources consulting firm, which primarily supported pest control companies. When that position ended, about 20 years ago, one of our clients asked me to consider a position at their company, Wil-Kil Pest Control.
2. Over these past two decades, in what ways have you seen the pest management industry change for the better when it comes to attracting and retaining women, BIPOC and other groups — perhaps not only as employees, but as long-term customers?
Shortly after joining Wil-Kil, I was introduced to the efforts of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and its Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) group to further the advancement of women in pest control. While I see this as a great start, much more effort is needed to ensure women are afforded the same opportunities in this industry so that they will see it as a viable career choice.
As for BIPOC and other groups, our recruiters and hiring managers should work to build partnerships with organizations focused on diverse talent and community groups. Each of us can also, just by virtue of our affiliation with various community partners, introduce and educate others about all of the opportunities that are available — the scientific, business and technical aspects of this profession. We can share the impact we have on the protection of our nation’s food, health, environment and homes. Today’s labor force cares about the same things we do, but they may not realize that we are stewards of the environment.
3. What else do you see in the years ahead that pest management firms could be working on today?
Look for ways to include BIPOC and others outside of the top executives in the national conferences and networking opportunities, where current employees might be able to gain insight on how to further their careers, with firms or even with vendors and suppliers. Work with technical colleges and with historically Black colleges and universities in your local markets, and attend their campus recruitment events. Try hosting some live virtual career spotlight sessions of current openings on your company’s YouTube channel or other social media pages like LinkedIn, to reach a broader audience. We need to reach audiences in many different ways if we want to be the employer of choice. Many pest management firms already are doing this well, but as an industry, it is something that always can be improved upon.
4. We understand you are very active in Women in Focus, whose goal this year is to raise enough funds to provide 14 BIPOC students with $2,500 college or technical school scholarships. Would you please tell us more about this group?
We all know that education is the greatest equalizer, and the best investment you can make is to lift up students who desire higher education and can benefit from the financial support. For the past 35 years, Women In Focus has invested in higher education for more than 350 children of color in the greater Dane County, Wis., area. Readers can learn more at WomenInFocusMadison.org.
5. Finally, what do you see as the benefits of being a member of this group, and others like it?
I am at a point in my life where I want to help others get the encouragement, mentorship and support they need to be successful. So many people in my life have helped me along the way, and working with this organization allows me to give back and pay it forward in a way that matters to me.