Horizon Pest Control was founded in 1970 by Bernard Holst Jr. This fall, the company took the unprecedented step of installing a president outside the Holst family — and the pest control industry. Having Certified Public Manager Carmine Marchionda at the helm leaves CEO Bernie Holst III free to focus on growth initiatives for the Midland Park, N.J.-based firm. We caught up with Marchionda to see how the company plans to continue on its path to success.
1. What attracted you to Horizon Pest Control, and the structural pest management industry overall?
I have devoted the past 30-plus years serving as an executive of healthcare, government and nonprofit human service organizations. I met Bernie through Vistage, an international executive and peer coaching group. I was immediately impressed with Horizon’s business model, strong family culture and his vision for the company’s future. The alignment of my professional, family and business values with those of Horizon and the Holst family made the decision to join their team an easy one.
2. Horizon has reported an 8 percent to 10 percent growth rate since 2017, and has a goal of more than doubling revenue by 2026. What are its plans for achieving that?
We are focused on continuing strong relationships with customers and where appropriate, expanding our market reach and our service offerings. Internally, we continue to look at ways in which we can develop and empower our staff so they can better support clients and teammates. We also focus on creating a scalable infrastructure — ensuring our “family feel” and company values stay intact, no matter what. We believe our company culture is a big key to our success, and is why we have been voted one of the “Top Workplaces in New Jersey” by our staff two years in a row, as tallied by NJ.com.
3. Horizon did not experience significant staff attrition during the pandemic. What contributed to this?
While some employees left for personal reasons during the peak of COVID-19, we did not downsize our team in any way. It has been a challenge at times; however, it always has been our intention to stay fully staffed and keep everyone gainfully employed. We attribute this to employees and candidates recognizing that we invest in our people. And the stats speak for themselves: Nearly 80 percent of our senior leadership started out as front-line employees. Our average employee tenure is seven years, and 17 employees have been with us for 20 years or more.
4. When you say “invest in our people” — would you please give us examples?
In addition to extensive initial and ongoing training, we track several key performance indicators (KPIs) in all three departments: sales, production and client care. At the end of the year, top performers are recognized and rewarded. A few of the KPIs we measure include route values, total sales dollars for the year, and most phone calls taken in the office. The rewards vary based on categories, and include $300 gift cards, big-screen TVs, GoPro cameras, Apple Watches, sound bars, tablets and more. These are awarded at an annual event, where the entire team is brought together. We eat, hang out, share some of the goals and objectives for the upcoming season, and let the team know how much they are appreciated. We also have held monthly contests, which typically are broken out by department.
5. In addition to valuing employees, why is it important to partner with the community?
I know firsthand the value and importance of community partnerships, collaborations and the support of local businesses in strengthening mission-based services. We will continue to be an active part of the communities we serve, and give back with our time and financial support when we can. The people who know us well trust us, and we want to continue to actively reach out to build that trust with the folks who are new to our brand. This is not an effort limited to upper management, either; our goal is to involve our entire team in helping our communities, identifying new team members with the same passions, and being on the lookout for potential business partners with the same mindset.