Every trade journal has a responsibility to readers to be dynamic, changing to encourage fresh content, looks, feel and value. Pest Management Professional (PMP) is a great publication going back to 1933.
While on staff at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), I would periodically use my lunch break to read old original copies of Exterminators Log, the forerunner of today’s PMP. The NPMA’s library held a vast collection going all the way back to the first issue. It was striking how the industry has changed, yet some problems we face today were faced back in 1933 as well. Staffing challenges, product efficacy, safety and even gas prices all were mentioned in some of the oldest issues.
I was invited by PMP staff to pick up a column called “Conversation Piece,” which interviewed pests. The goal was not to be just fictional, but share some little-known facts about common pests that readers can use to educate customers and market services, as well as maybe get a laugh or two. Opposite months were more serious with “Baumann’s Vantage Point,” where current topics were addressed — from Safety Data Sheet revisions to COVID to regulatory issues outside of the normal path of the industry. While I had written columns for PMP periodically in the past, these new columns were novel and fun.
When asked to write these columns by PMP staff, I jumped at the chance, as I enjoy writing and love to share experiences with the industry. All of us sharing with one another creates a stronger industry. There was never a shortage of topics for either column.
While we expected this experience to go one year, we now are finishing year three of both columns. It is now time to retire these columns and pave a way for other creative industry leaders to contribute to PMP.
I still plan to write some special features for the magazine, but I also believe that after three years, it is time for other viewpoints. This allows me to focus on industry-related activities, including some recent appointments to leadership in organizations in Washington, D.C., as well as one of my proudest appointments, which is to the Advisory Council of the Atlantic Legal Foundation. In these roles, not only will the company I work for be represented, but they will open doors to ensure the interests of our industry are addressed.
EMBRACING NEW RESPONSIBILITIES
I want to express my appreciation to Melissa McCoy, who helped edit my columns and make the drafts better prior to sending to PMP. The kindness and professionalism of the PMP staff during these past three years must be acknowledged with appreciation. Finally, thanks to the readers who took the time to contact me with such enthusiasm regarding the columns. It also was gratifying how many people at PestWorld in October approached me to say that they enjoy the columns. While these columns will end, PMP’s content as it gears up for its 90th anniversary will be very exciting indeed.
This is not a goodbye to the industry at all, but rather an eye on new responsibilities that are very intriguing. Keeping one’s mind sharp with creative activities is a good thing, because it leads to new and creative ideas on the job.
Pest management is a great industry. We wonder how the original contributors of the nearly century-old Exterminators Log would see us today. Likely, they would appreciate such a modern and professional industry, one that sometimes still has to address challenges that they also faced.
With that, until we meet again, “so long and thanks for all the fish.” Look it up.