It seems like almost everyone in the pest control industry knows and respects Dr. Austin Frishman. After 40 years in the business, he says he’s on a first-name basis with an estimated 3,000 people.
He is constantly in demand as a speaker and industry expert, and has appeared on national television programs discussing pests and professional pest management. His goal in these appearances — to get others to understand the importance of professional pest management.
Dr. Frishman’s role as an inspiration for many in the industry began when he was a young child of only three years, who became fascinated with insects. He is described as having an almost “boyish enthusiasm” for his work, which continues to affect those around him.
His early life growing up on a chicken farm fed his interest in livestock entomology. He was encouraged by his family and teachers to study entomology at Cornell University, and that was when he started working as a summer technician for Al Hochman, who owned Clover Exterminators in Monticello, N.Y.
His interest in insect biology became a passion when he saw the effects on public health that pests caused and knew he could help people through his work.
Hochman took Dr. Frishman under his wing, introducing him to the professional side of the industry at a pest control conference in 1960 at Rutgers University. This helped him realize his career options and Dr. Frishman soon earned a master’s degree at Cornell. Due to the persistent interest and encouragement of Dr. John Osmun at Purdue University, Dr. Frishman and his young family moved to West Lafayette, Ind., so he could pursue a doctorate.
It was there that Dr. Frishman met and became influenced by the strong tradition of research and teaching at Purdue, and there he came to know industry pioneers like J.J. Davis.
Even though he left Purdue in 1967 to head the structural pest control curriculum at the State University of New York in Farmingdale, Dr. Frishman became a dedicated participant for the Purdue Conference, a role he continued until his retirement in 2018.
Dr. Frishman’s love of teaching blossomed in this time and he became a major influence in the lives of many practicing pest management professionals, teachers and experts working today.
He stayed at Farmingdale until 1979, then left to devote more time to his business, which did sanitation inspections at commercial and institutional sites. That business eventually was sold seven years ago but he still consults, teaches, researches, writes and speaks.
He says he couldn’t do it without the help of his best friend, wife Barbara, who helps him run the business. His daughter Marcy is married to Ian and they have two sons; his son Allen is married to Katia.
Dr. Frishman’s ongoing interest in research and product development has been fruitful over the years. One of his major developments includes work on cockroach bait in the early 1980s.
The bait project was the first that got cockroaches to eat a toxicant, he recalls. Another contribution he is proud of was his work with Southern Mill Creek Products of Florida in 1971, he says, where he helped make glue boards easier for PMPs to use.
Up until his retirement, Dr. Frishman continued to test new products and perform research, such as the project that linked cockroaches with the spread of disease.
Read more about Dr. Frishman on the PMP Hall of Fame website.