Favio Ulloa, who founded and owns Hawthorne, N.J.-based Prestige Pest Services (PPS) with his wife, Karol, spoke with Pest Management Professional recently about emigrating to New Jersey from Ecuador in 2000, while in their early 20s. Soon after they arrived, Ulloa says, they both learned English as a second language at a local community college, and held a variety of jobs that taught them about sales and customer service — all of which prepared them for becoming pest management professionals (PMPs).
1. Favio, you worked for Stuart Aust and his Paramus, N.J.-based Bug Doctor team (now a part of Anticimex) for more than 10 years. How did you and Karol decide the time was right to start your own company in 2014?
It was not an easy decision, but we both felt I gained the knowledge and experience in this industry, and I was ready to work on my own. We were both willing to take the risk and invest in ourselves.
2. What appealed to you about the pest control industry in the U.S.?
I have been an entrepreneur all my life — including being a tennis coach and a real estate investor. When I joined Bug Doctor about 17 years ago, it provided me the opportunity to learn various roles, from being a technician to becoming a top sales representative. I instantly fell in love with pest control, as it fits with my personality.
3. Do you have family members working at PPS?
My brother, Paul Ulloa, is our customer relations manager. In the summer, my sister-in-law Cristina Lebron, my nephew Matthew Ulloa and my niece Rebecca Ulloa, all help out in the office.
4. What is one of your favorite things about living in the U.S., and what is something you miss about Ecuador?
Karol and I are from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It has beautiful spring weather all year long — something we can’t say the same for in New Jersey! But we love it here. Ecuador is a developing country, and its pest control industry is mostly commercial. We enjoy serving customers in both residential and commercial settings. The United States is a great country that offers many opportunities and blessings. We miss our family and friends that we grew up with, but we’ve met many new friends from many different cultures here in the U.S.
5. PPS has certainly come a long way from being founded in a backyard shed! What plans have you, Karol and Paul made to continue its growth in 2021 and beyond?
We would love to continue growing our business with great customer service, increasing our sales, keeping up our inventory and providing our technicians with the latest training and technology.