PestWorld 2021: Together again


December 16, 2021


Crowd at PestWorld 2021 during one of the sessions. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

PestWorld 2021 is proof the pest control industry is ready to get back at it in-person.

Turnout for the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) annual event, held in Las Vegas, Nev., was robust after the coronavirus pandemic sent the meeting online last year. The NPMA reports 3,500 people attended and more than 200 companies exhibited at the MGM Grand Nov. 2-5.

“We anticipated solid attendance, but the numbers really did surpass our expectations,” NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf, CMP, CAE, told Pest Management Professional (PMP). “Knowing how resilient this industry is and that our members are committed to one another, I was more inspired than surprised.”


NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf noted how resilient the industry is. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

Nevada’s mask mandate for anyone indoors regardless of vaccination status, Nisus Corp.-sponsored/supplied hand sanitizer stations strategically placed throughout the exhibit halls, and stickers on name badges indicating attendees’ preferred level of contact were just three of the many safety protocols in place.

PestWorld is geared to pest control company owners and managers; technicians and sales representatives; product manufacturers, distributors and service providers; and pest control industry researchers, educators and students. The annual event features an exhibit hall, educational sessions, NPMA committee meetings and receptions; and plenty of networking opportunities. The theme at PestWorld 2021 was “reconnected, inspired, educated.”

The Nov. 2 opening ceremony featured the Rat Pack — Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra impersonators — and such classic tunes as “Mack the Knife” and “Luck be a Lady.” An Elvis Presley impersonator, accompanied by a couple of beautiful showgirls, was in the building as well, singing “A Little Less Conversation” and other hits.

Stumpf welcomed attendees, telling them, “It is so great to be here and to see all of you. Thank you so much for taking the journey, short and long, for showing up and being here so that we can be all together. It feels so good to be back together.”

The growth PestWorld and the pest control industry experienced over the years was evident in the two exhibit halls that flanked the NPMA’s Member Center. Each was packed with manufacturers, distributors and service providers who were ready and willing to show pest management professionals (PMPs) their products and services.

“We had great participation from our supplier community, which we are thankful for as the trade show is a big part of PestWorld,” Stumpf said. “When the venue was booked 10 years ago, one hall worked. But with continued growth, we needed to explore additional space.”

During the opening general session on Nov. 3, NPMA President Scott Steckel, whose term was extended because of the pandemic, took the stage and followed a family tradition: The strategic development director for Plunkett’s Pest Control said his father, PMP Hall of Famer Jim Steckel (Class of 2006), and grandfather Dr. H.K. Steckel, served the industry in the same capacity in 1970 and 1937, respectively.

“PestWorld was a wonderful experience this year for me, as current president,” he told PMP. “We were face-to-face after a two-year hiatus, and we surpassed the number of attendees we had at PestWorld 2019 in San Diego two years ago.”


Author Alex Banayan shared lessons learned from innovators. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

The featured presenter at the Nov. 3 opening general session, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, was Alex Banayan, author of the Third Door. This best-seller chronicles the business lessons Banayan learned while contemplating what he wanted to do with his life when in college. He shared his favorite stories about growth and what he learned from record producer Quincy Jones, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and talk show host Larry King, among others. He said his seven-year journey to learn from today’s innovators taught him about persistence, success and failure. “The opposite of success is not failure,” he said. “The opposite of success is not trying.”


The PWIPM breakfast showed the increasing prevalence of women in the pest control industry. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

A Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) breakfast, sponsored by ServicePro, took place Nov. 4. Attendees cheered on the recipients of the PWIPM’s 2021 Empowerment Grants, who were on hand to accept their plaques and say a few words of thanks. Janice Crisostomo, marketing manager for Terminix Commercial, and Kristen Stevens, director of training for Cook’s Pest Control, received their awards from Alvin Pest Control President and CEO Betty Thornton, who serves as chair of PWIPM. In her remarks at the event, ServicePro CIO Kim O’Connor said she was proud the company has sponsored the PWIPM breakfast for the past 15 years: “I feel blessed. I’ve spent almost two decades in this industry, and I’ve learned from each and every one of you.”


Arrow Exterminator’s CEO Emily Thomas Kendrick was on hand to accept the award on her father’s behalf. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

Also taking place the morning of Nov. 4 was the NPMA’s annual Industry Awards ceremony. The recipient of this year’s Pinnacle Award, the NPMA’s highest honor, was Joe Thomas, chairman of Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators (and a PMP Hall of Famer, Class of 2009). The company’s CEO Emily Thomas Kendrick was on hand to accept the award on her father’s behalf, as he sent a videotaped message of thanks.

Other award winners included:

  • Eve Pappas, VP of corporate sales, Hoffman’s Exterminating, Mantua, N.J., received the Women in Excellence Award — as well as a standing ovation while accepting it onstage.
  • Nick Mitchell, co-owner of Mitchell Pest Solutions, Las Vegas, Nev., received the Young Entrepreneur Award.
  • Eco Serve Pest Services, Orchard Park, N.Y., received the NPMA Gives Award; Owners Scott and Audrey Hall were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the company.
  • The NPMA’s Disinfection Task Force received the 2020-2021 Committee of the Year Award for working steadfastly to serve members during the pandemic.
  • Marie Horner, ACE, VP of Government Affairs and Industry Stewardship, Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, Ga., received the Chair of the Year Award for her tireless work as head of PestVets.

Marie Horner took the stage during the awards ceremony. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

After the awards were handed out, the speaker for the general session, sponsored by Syngenta, took the stage. Eric Boles, president and founder of leadership development firm The Game Changers Inc., shared advice on how to develop higher levels of commitment and performance on and off the job. Boles played in the National Football League (NFL) with the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers, where he was introduced to many of the concepts of high performance and teamwork he shared. His advice encouraged attendees to be confident and focus, instead of fearing failure. “You are the walking example of what’s possible,” he said.

All PestWorld 2021 attendees were invited to attend the In the Mix reception on Nov. 4, at Topgolf
Las Vegas, conveniently located next to the MGM Grand. The event was presented by the NPMA’s Diversity Community, Leadership Networking Community, PestVets and PWIPM, and gave attendees a chance to relax, mingle and brush up on their golf swing. Corteva Agriscience, FMC, ServicePro and Target Specialty Products sponsored In the Mix, which was packed.

Several receptions were held during PestWorld 2021, as there was plenty to celebrate. Members of the NPMA’s State Policy Affairs Representative (SPAR) program were recognized for their work on pest control regulatory issues. The Pest Management Foundation Gala was a formal event held to help advance the pest management industry through education, research and outreach. More than $100,000 was raised that evening.


The In the Mix reception, held at Topgolf Las Vegas, attracted a large crowd. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

It wouldn’t be PestWorld without the educational sessions on pest control and business topics held each afternoon Nov. 3-5. Technicians from most states could earn continuing education units (CEUs) by attending certain sessions.

NPMA committee meetings, which were open to attendees interested in serving the pest control industry, took place Nov. 2-4. See p. 49 for coverage on some of the organizations that met during PestWorld 2021.

The final day of PestWorld 2021 gave attendees a chance to give back. Nov. 5 kicked off with the PWIPM 5K Fun Run/Walk, which benefited empowerHer, a nonprofit that supports girls and young women who have experienced the loss of their mothers. Sponsors of the early-morning event included Arrow Exterminators, Bell Laboratories, Douglas Products, Gardex, PestWest, ServicePro, Rockwell Labs, BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience and Syngenta.


He shoots, he scores, and he helps a charitable cause. PHOTO: PMP STAFF

Other PestWorld Day of Service activities included PestWorld Gives Back. This year, it benefited the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which aims to save lives and protect families from malaria. A lively arcade basketball competition put a fun spin on giving back.

In addition, PestVets, sponsored by FMC, showed its support for local organization Forgotten Not Gone, which focuses on suicide prevention for Veterans. See p. 8 for more information.

PestWorld 2021 wrapped up with a poolside PestFest party sponsored by MGK.

“We hosted the largest in-person event our industry had seen in three years,” Stumpf told PMP. “The strong leadership provided by the NPMA’s board of directors and great work of the NPMA staff really made an impact in ways yet to be seen, as we continue to navigate the pandemic that still affects the way we do business.”

Next year, PestWorld 2022 will be held in Boston, Mass., Oct. 11-14. To learn more, visit

About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at or 216-706-3793.

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  1. Ankush M Raut says:

    Great platform… All the entomologist from academic and industry came together for find the sustainable solutions against pest