What’s in a name? A lot, if it is one of the vanity license plates bolted to a Sprague Pest Solutions service vehicle. The fleet of the 96-year-old Tacoma, Wash.-based company comprises more than 300 vehicles — more than 60 percent of which have a vanity plate.
The Sprague vanity plate tradition started with BUGMAN, as a birthday gift to then-President Bob Treleven from his children in 1972. That was the first year the state of Washington allowed vanity plates to be purchased by vehicle owners.
“After driving around for a few weeks and receiving positive feedback, Dad said, ‘We might be on to something’ and he ordered plates for the company’s three other vehicles,” recalls Sprague VP Larry Treleven, a Pest Management Professional (PMP) Hall of Famer (Class of 2016). “He was quite proud of it.”
As Sprague’s service footprint has grown to 19 service centers across 10 states in the western U.S., so has the demand for vanity plates and the need to be creative when producing names. There is a friendly competition among employees about their plates, and they often request the plates be transferred when they receive a new service vehicle.
“It has become a tradition that employees embrace. It is part of our heritage and the ‘secret sauce’ that makes Sprague unique,” says Treleven.