Latest Byrd Pest Control News
Nov 12, 2021
Arrow Exterminators’ Joe Thomas Recognized with NPMA’s 2021 Pinnacle Award The Pinnacle Award honors an individual who has contributed not only to the success of the association but to the industry over a lifetime or career. Thomas accepted the award virtually during NPMA PestWorld '21. ATLANTA – Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators announce that Joe Thomas, Jr., chairman of the board, was awarded the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) 2021 Pinnacle Award at the industry’s annual convention, PestWorld, in Las Vegas, on Nov. 4. The Pinnacle Award is NPMA’s most coveted and prestigious accolade. The award honors an individual who has contributed not only to the success of the association but to the industry over a lifetime or career. NPMA recognized various award winners just prior to the Thursday General Session at PestWorld 2021. NPMA President Scott Steckel presented the award to Thomas who accepted the award virtually. In video message that was played at PestWorld, Thomas said, “I wish I could have been there with you this year. I can’t tell you how honored I am to receive the NPMA Pinnacle award. I’d like to thank NPMA CEO, Dominique Stumpf and her team at NPMA and my wonderful teammates at Arrow. You guys are the greatest, and to all my friends and colleagues in the pest control industry, we are blessed to work in the greatest industry in the world, and I’m honored to be a part of it.” Thomas’ daughter, Emily Thomas Kendrick, Arrow Exterminators’ CEO was proud to accept the award in person on behalf of her father. “My Dad is my hero, mentor, dear friend, and my daddy. He loves this Industry and the people that make it up so very much. He’s always told me you won’t find finer folks than the ladies and gentlemen in the pest control industry. He believes our Industry is still where the American dream can be found every day. No one is a larger supporter of this industry than my dad.” Thomas has served in leadership positions at the local and national level and continues to serve on the board of Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) and was one of the founding members of PPMA. He also continues to provide financial and personnel support to the Pest Management Foundation. Thomas joined Arrow Exterminators in 1972 after graduating from the University of Tennessee and worked diligently with his parents, James S. (Starkey) Thomas and his wife Jean, Arrow’s founders to create a first-class organization. In 1978, at the age of 67, Starkey Thomas passed away, and Joe Thomas, Jr. assumed the leadership of Arrow as CEO. Under Thomas’ leadership, Arrow continues to expand both organically and through acquisitions with revenues exceeding $300,000,000. BOONTON, N.J. – Victory Pest Solutions will once again work with local food pantries to fill the plates within the local community on Thanksgiving. “Last year, we helped to raise enough funds to give gift cards to 90 local families; what a blessing that was,” said Victory president Len Oppenberg. “Thanksgiving is a special time of reflection, and we should all look around and appreciate the little things that we might ordinarily take for granted, like something as simple as a good hot meal on Thanksgiving. We are so proud to help fill plates and fill bellies on Thanksgiving, and we encourage other pest control companies to help your friends and neighbors as well.” Victory Pest Solutions services commercial clients in New York and New Jersey. As our nation pays tribute to those who served in our Armed Forces on Veteran’s Day, PCT caught up with Lou Schager, president of Mosquito Joe , and a decorated Navy fighter pilot, who made five deployments to the Persian Gulf aboard aircraft carriers, including combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. Schager is still involved in safeguarding others, although in a different way. As president of Mosquito Joe, he leads a company that provides services that keep people safe from outdoor public health pests, primarily mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Mosquito Joe, based in Virginia Beach, is a fast-growing business. The company, which began in 2013, has grown to include 165 owners, servicing 350 territories in 38 states, and generated $98.5 million in 2020. In 2018, Mosquito Joe joined Neighborly, the world’s largest provider and franchisor of home service brands, to include brands like The Grounds Guys, Mr Handyman and Molly Maid. In the following Q&A interview, which took place during PestWorld 2021, Schager discussed his military experiences, how and why he came to Mosquito Joe in 2017, and some current and future initiatives for Mosquito Joe. PCT: When and why did you decide to join the military? Lou Schager: Well, the practical reason was that growing up one of 14 children, financially it was a challenge for my parents to get all of us through college. I was fortunate to excel in academics and soccer, so I applied and gained an appointment into the U.S. Naval Academy. But mainly I always wanted to fly. Upon completion at the Naval Academy, I was selected to become a pilot and then spent half of my 27-year career flying F-14s with the second half of my career flying FA-18s. PCT: Tell us about your overseas deployments as well as what you did back home? LS: Overseas, I conducted five deployments flying aboard aircraft carriers and conducted combat missions primarily over Afghanistan and Iraq. During my career, I was selected for and graduated from TOPGUN (The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program) and later commanded an FA-18 squadron. For my last job in the Navy, I was the Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Oceana, which is the largest naval air station on the East Coast. PCT: What type of missions were you involved in while in Afghanistan and Iraq? LS: Our mission was to provide air-to-air and air-to-ground combat support for coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Close Air Support being the primary mission. The aircraft carrier deploys with 5,000 Sailors, eight squadrons and around 70 aircraft so it was always empowering with all 5,000 Sailors aboard dedicated to the common goal of “Victory in combat.” PCT: What does it take to be a good fighter pilot? LS: With so many variables while flying, you have to be able to think quickly and compartmentalize well. And I think that leads to the sentiment of being “cool under pressure.” When in the air, you can't afford to get too emotionally excited even when you are getting shot at or if you have an aircraft malfunction. You have to remain composed and take care of your own aircraft, but as you get more senior, you may be leading a wingman or four aircraft or even a strike of 30 aircraft, which requires focus, attention to detail and leadership, especially when things don’t go as planned. PCT: Looking back at your experience in the Navy, what gives you the greatest sense of pride? LS: Without a doubt, it's getting to know the great Americans from across the country, from all walks of life, serving side by side with them, with a common mission. These are lifelong friends.Whether it was a superior officer or the youngest sailor or marine in my command, I felt a kinship with my fellow military friends and, of course, the dedication to the overarching mission. Recognizing the importance of the mission is never lost on any of our servicemembers. When you’re flying in combat and supporting troops on the ground and you hear the fighting and shots of gunfire in the background of the radio, you’re prepared to do what is necessary to protect them. To that end, after every mission, upon landing, I took pride in thanking every sailor I passed on my way back to the ready room because without them, jets don’t fly and we cannot meet our mission. PCT: What led you to Mosquito Joe and how do your military skills transfer over to running this business? LS: I love the military because I appreciate the sense of purpose and mission. When you’re overseas and in combat, it's easy to rally your team and say, “Team, we’re going to work 20 hours straight on the flight deck today because our troops on the ground are counting on us.” When seeking an opportunity after my military career, I asked myself, “Where can I find that sense of purpose in the private business sector?” Mosquito Joe’s mission of bringing happiness and health to families and their pets really resonated with me. Also, I was drawn to Mosquito Joe as I knew it could be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of my military-inspired leadership skills, strategic thinking and a disciplined approach to following processes. Even before I joined Mosquito Joe, my family was a customer for years. I admired the work they were doing and their customer service was second to none. Of course, it's not the exact same as what I experienced when flying missions, but I certainly feel good about bringing happiness and health to families around the country. PCT: Since you took over as president in 2017, what has been your focus and what have been some of your initiatives? LS: At first, early on, my charter was to help out with processes and training. Through my TOPGUN training, I have been able to codify a more sequential and robust training continuum to support all of our franchise owners. I also had a goal of developing our professional expertise, our core competency, when it came to recruiting talented entomologists for our staff. That was a big goal. I brought on our Technical Director and his Technical Specialist, David Price (also a U.S. Air Force veteran) and Shannon Harlow-Ellis, and they've done a fantastic job for us. We want to continue our growth around the country because it’s obvious - outdoor pests are never going away. We’ve made a dedicated effort in the Midwest and New England for ticks and mosquitoes. Also, with mosquitoes becoming a really big problem in California, we're pleased to be a solution for our customers’ needs out West. Also, we want to continue the strong growth that remains focused on our professional, superior customer service. Being a part of the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) is really important to me and our owners, as well as the consumers, because it shows we are thoughtful about our approach to Integrated Pest Management while considering the effects on the environment. PCT: How do you see Mosquito Joe evolving in the future? LS: Being a part of the PESP program is making sure we are executing our services with a professional, dedicated Integrated Pest Management process. So, it's not just about a ridding a yard from mosquitoes. We’ll always maintain our core competency for mosquito, tick and flea control, but we’ll also be tackling other outdoor pests to ensure our customers remain happy and healthy. Certus broadens footprint in California with the acquisitions of Donovan’s Pest Control, Byrd Pest Control and Coachella Valley Pest Control. Founded by owner Jim Donovan, Donovan’s Pest Control services San Francisco, The Peninsula and North San Jose areas. Jim Donovan said “I was looking for a company that treats people with kindness and respect that also shares my commitment to an integrated pest management approach. I’m confident that Certus will grow my business without sacrificing what has been so important over the last 30 years.” Byrd Pest Control is a family-owned company that services the Modesto and Patterson areas, founded by owner John Byrd. He commented “I built my business by investing in my technicians and providing technical, professional and personal growth training. It was important to me that my team would be part of an organization that would continue that investment and offer even more opportunity for growth.” Coachella Valley Pest Control, serving the Palm Desert area, was founded by Vince Adcock and Craig Conway in 2014. Mike Givlin, CEO and co-founder of Certus, stated, “These acquisitions bring us to 10 California based companies in the Certus Family. We’re excited by the potential in the California market and plan continued growth with well operated companies like Donovan’s, Byrd and Coachella Valley.” Kemp Anderson of Kemp Anderson Consulting represented and acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Donovan’s Pest Control in this transaction. Paul Giannamore and Franco Villanueva-Meyer of The Potomac Company represented and acted as exclusive financial advisors to Byrd Pest Control in this transaction.