We caught up with Mark VanderWerp, manager of education and training at Troy, Mich.-based Rose Pest Solutions, to learn more about the wall calendar the company is creating from customer-and employee-submitted insect photos.
1. How long has Rose Pest Solutions been offering a calendar, and how did the idea come about?
Our first Rose calendar rolled off the press just last year, but the idea grew out of our past association with the Copesan network: For several years, Copesan published a “Critter Calendar” based on photos submitted by employees from its various member companies. As a company, Rose often had at least three to four photos in these calendars, because we have on staff a number of accomplished photographers. When Copesan was acquired in 2018 by Terminix and the non-Terminix partners parted ways, there was still a lot of interest at our company to keep the calendar project going. But instead of only using photos from employees, we’re also encouraging our clients to email us photos.
2. What does Rose do with these calendars?
We distribute them free to employees and clients. Many employees hang them at their desks in our offices. And it’s really cool to see one hanging on the wall at an account!
3. Is it accurate to say this is not only a marketing tool for Rose, but also an educational piece for its customers?
Absolutely. Each month’s photo includes a caption that describes the subject in the photo. By doing this, we are using photography and the beauty of insects to help educate our clients (and employees) about what makes these various species do what they do. Allowing clients to submit photos creates an even better dialogue. And it makes some of our clients even more enthusiastic and loyal to Rose’s services.
4. What is the judging process like?
First, I go through all the submissions to ensure they are at a high-enough resolution for printing, that the subjects are in focus, etc. All the shots that survive that round go in front of a panel of Rose employees for judging. Photos are grouped taxonomically for judging, so for instance, the panel looked at all the bee and wasp shots together so they could easily choose the standouts. We tried to select at least one photo from each of our taxonomic groupings so our calendar would have a lot of diversity.
5. Do you have any advice for other pest control companies that would like to do something similar with their customers?
This is a project that keeps on giving. Not only are we thrilled to be able to recognize some of the fantastic photographs our employees and customers are taking, we’re also able to build our in-house library of images that we can use for identification and training. Not everything in pest management is a win-win, but this definitely is.