Women in Pest Control
and Entomology:

Gaining Momentum in a Male-Dominated Industry

The scene is all too common in people's imaginations
today. A young girl shrieks at the sight of a spider, an ant
or any other "creepy-crawly." In comes a father, brother,
boyfriend or husband to the rescue.

In reality, girls - and women - can and do love bugs. Some
of them even work with them, in the pest control industry
or the entomology field.

They are... CEOs of top pest control companies.
They are... owners who do it all for small pest control businesses.
They are... technicians providing in-the-trenches solutions.
They are... customer service managers.
They are... award-winning doctors in entomology.
They are... professors.
They are... university extension assistants.
They are... agricultural pest management specialists.
They are... women making daily contributions in their fields and in their communities.

Survey Results

View the survey results of 30 women working in the pest control industry.

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What The Experts Are Saying

Women are welcomed as integral leaders in the pest control and pest management industries.

"This survey demonstrates what those of us in this dynamic industry know - that our industry welcomes women, and talented women can certainly build successful careers in this profession. While our industry was once perceived as a "nontraditional" career for women, those with technical, marketing, management and many other skills are demonstrating leadership in our industry and changing that marketplace perception. We and our clients are better off for that."

Russ Ives Twitter Website Website
President, National Pest Management Association
President, Rose Pest Solutions

For women in the pest management industry, a unique window of opportunity has opened up: The industry has become more welcoming to women at all levels, including upper management. With these gains realized, it is critical to keep up the momentum... Women in mid-level and senior-level management positions are uniquely poised to make an impact on the future organization culture and leadership of the firms they work in. Now is the ideal time to call other women in to the industry, and lift others up into senior management.

Jo Miller Twitter Website Website
Founding Editor of BeLeaderly.com
CEO, Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc.

Get To Know The Participants

Find out a little about the survey participants,
including career summaries, advice, and more.

Jodi Dorsch, Editor, PCT Magazine Facebook Website
Valley View, Ohio
Career Summary:

I interviewed with GIE Media/PCT magazine after my graduation from journalism school. I wasn't trying to get into pest control or entomology -- I was trying to get a job at a trade magazine. I was just lucky enough that the position I was interviewing for was at PCT. I am editor of the print edition of PCT, which means I make article assignments, do some writing, travel to industry events, work on the cover art/illustrations, edit articles and select artwork, and edit the magazine before it goes to the printer. I also compile the PCT Top 100 list, which is a list of the industry's 100 largest firms.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

There are lots of women in media, and probably half of the editors at my company are female. So even though the pest control industry has a lot of men, my "other" field (media) is more balanced. So I don't feel that unique.

Any tips for work/life balance?

My experience has been that if you put forth a strong work ethic, and when push comes to shove you put in the time required, that you will be repaid during slower times with plenty of flexibility.

Allison Taisey, Certification Program Manager, QualityPro, National Pest Management Association Twitter Website Website
Career Summary:

I first came to the industry looking for solutions to bed bug infestations in poultry farms. Meeting the passionate, friendly people in this industry caused me to switch careers. I quickly became focused on enabling people to do their part in pest management so that no one has to live with pests. For six years I ran the Stop Pests in Housing Program at Cornell, working with affordable housing stakeholders, the pest management industry, and extension entomologists. One of the needs I saw was for a reliable certification program that people who don't know our industry can look to and know they are hiring a great company. I am now working with the QualityPro certification, a program that does just that.

Any tips for work/life balance?

Stay humble. Knowing that the world will not fall apart without your constant presence makes it much easier to step away and invest in your health and happiness.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

I have found that, within the industry, women are respected and admired for all the right reasons because of the high bar that has been set by some of our great female leaders. If you step up to the plate, you will be expected to perform. Go for it!

Kristie Reddick, Creative Director, The Bug Chicks Twitter Website
Career Summary:

I chose entomology because I knew I would never be bored studying insects and other arthropods. I received my M.S. in Entomology in 2007 after studying arachnids in East Africa and founded an educational company called The Bug Chicks. We teach about these amazing animals and inspire girls to get into the sciences and boys to see girls as capable, strong, funny, smart brave individuals.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

Teaching kids to Be Brave and open their minds to something new! We need excellent science outreach as much as science research. I'm proud to be working full-time, of my own design to promote the sciences.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

Don't be afraid to be a WOMAN in the industry, whatever that means for you. We have to stop apologizing for who we are and who we're not. Also, use your voice. If you are having a problem with discrimination, instead of blogging about it or telling your friends, stop and identify it in the moment if we can. We need to teach if others are to learn.

Kim Kelley-Tunis, Technical Service Director, Rollins Website
Atlanta, GA
Career Summary:

I started in the industry as a Student Research Assistant in The Center for Urban Pest Management at Purdue University. After graduating with a degree in Wildlife Science, I joined a Midwestern pest control firm that provided me with the opportunity to experience every aspect of the business, including service, sales, technical, and training. I joined Orkin in 2009, working in the Atlantic Division as a Technical Services Manager. Then, in May of 2012, I was promoted to Director of Technical Services for Rollins.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

Women tend to be able to look at a problem in a very holistic manner. They are problem solvers that can see the "bigger picture", beyond what is needed to just eliminate the pest. Pest control is a customer driven industry that is dependent on communication and relationships. Women tend to be better communicators and relationship builders.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Early in my career, I had to show my co-workers that I was up for the challenge of working with them. That meant that I had to work just as hard, just as long, and be just as smart, or smarter, than they were. I also had to be able to withstand the "creepiness" of the job. That was easy, since most of my co-workers hated snakes and I don't! However, once I earned the trust and respect of my co-workers, I became an integral part of the team.

Dr. Dini M. Miller, Professor, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech Twitter Website
Blacksburg, VA
Career Summary:

I was not born with the desire to work on cockroaches and bed bug in public housing. If you had told me when I was 25, this is what I would be doing, I would not have believed it. My greatest milestone was moving from Los Angeles to join Dr. Phil Koehler's laboratory at the University of Florida. Dr. Koehler is the single most influential male figure in my life ever. It was through him that discovered my public speaking ability. He taught me how to conduct research, he taught all about extension work and how to take initiative in project development. I was hired right out of graduate school as an assistant professor in urban pest management. The Virginia pest management industry embraced me immediately, for which I am extremely very grateful. I am now a full professor and work with the pest control industry all both nationally and internationally. If I was to have predicted the best case scenario for my life 20 years ago, I would have greatly underestimated how great it was really going to be.

Favorite pest-related experience?

I am part of a travelling vector biology training group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Environmental Health Association. We were conducting a training program for health professionals in Anchorage, Alaska. Our group had dinner one night at a beautiful and very popular restaurant overlooking the sound. The next day I worked with a local PCO and guess where he took me to conduct an inspection? He took me to the same restaurant. While I was crawling under the appliances, I was marveling at the rodent poop, dead rodents, the inches of accumulated grease, the German cockroaches, the spilled and fermenting fruit juice, the fruit flies and smell of urine everywhere. I took lots of photos and presented them at our Vector group's next training program in Tucson, AZ. Even Bobby Corrigan was disgusted.

What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

People don't just look at me and assume I have spent 25 years in the pest management industry. So I have had to get out in the field as much as possible so that I speak the same language as the technician. I have to have done that work, seen what they have seen and felt what they have felt. That is hard to do and keep up the professor side of my job as well.

Dr. Pat Zungoli, Entomology Professor and Interim Chair, Clemson University Twitter Website
Clemson, SC
Career Summary:

I have been at Clemson University for over 30 years and I have enjoyed a fulfilling career of teaching, research, and Extension. I came to entomology through the backdoor by way of a job as an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. After graduating, I worked in the department while I completed an MS degree, and then went on to VA Tech for a PhD.

Favorite pest-related experience?

I went to investigate a termite problem at the Greenville Zoo, and ended up in a reptile cage with five Burmese pythons. Even though it was 98 degrees outside, I had goose bumps. It was memorable!

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

When you think about what you want to do, think of yourself as becoming the best at it, not just the best woman who does that job, but the best.

Robin Mountjoy, President and General Manager, Connor’s Pest Control Twitter Website
Career Summary:

I was fortunate. My grandparents started our family business in 1944, giving me the opportunity I have today. Starting very young, I was in the field learning different applications. Today, I serve the company as the General Manager.

Favorite pest-related experience?

Some of my most favorite times in this industry have been when I get to spend time with my friends at different industry programs. These are folks that live what I live and can really relate to the ups and downs. They have become some of my best friends. Many are competitors and I don't know of another industry where competitors are your best friends.

Any tips for maintaining a work/life balance?

Keep your family first. You will never regret not spending another hour at work but you may regret missing that soccer game.

Dr. Cisse W. Spragins, Founder/CEO, Rockwell Labs Ltd Twitter Website
Career Summary:

I joined the industry by happenstance. I am a chemist and while finishing my PhD at the University of Wisconsin, I met the owner of Bell Laboratories riding horses and started working there part-time in the lab. I ended up really liking it and stayed for 9 1/2 years as a researcher, then technical director, then director of international business development. I left in 1998 to start Rockwell and we now have some 40 products we've developed that we sell to the pest management industry.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

I think women bring value to all levels of the industry, from manufacturing, to distribution to working in the service side as managers, technicians and sales people. Women tend to think differently than men in many cases and variety in thinking is good. I think women who are amenable to the work make excellent service technicians. I've been impressed with the thoroughness and caring of many that I've met over the years.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

Be open-minded about what you might enjoy doing and be bold in pursuing your goals.

Emily Thomas Kendrick, President/CEO, Arrow Exterminators Twitter Website
Atlanta, GA
Career Summary:

I'm a member of our family's third generation and I grew up in the business. I grew up going to pest control meetings all over the place every summer and really got to meet all the families involved in the pest control business at a very early age and I really loved the folks in the industry. Also, growing up, I really wanted to be like my dad and do what he did. He and my mom both always told me they thought I could be anything I wanted to be and they made it clear they would support whatever career I ultimately decided to go into. There was no pressure to go into the family business. But at the same time, my dad always encouraged me to learn more about the Pest Control business. Specifically, he encouraged me to continue learn about people. He would tell me, “Pay attention to what people are saying…and what they are not saying. Look for what makes them tick.” His big thing was that the Pest Control Industry was just like any other business in the sense that it had always been and would always be a people business. He thought I was good with people and that it would be a natural fit. I told him on numerous occasions, “Thanks, but no thanks. Bugs…Sorry, I’m not interested.”

So as I went off to college at Vanderbilt University, it never crossed my mind that I would go into the PC Industry. But I was wrong. It was in my blood. About a year before I graduated from college, my dad and I were talking about whether I should go to law school or not. He challenged me to try the family business. I was hooked from Day 1! Protecting the health and property of our families and businesses intrigued me. My dad insisted that I learn the business from the ground up. So I spent time out in the field really learning the business. I was fortunate to have mentors who really took me under their wing. In 2003 I was named Chief Operating Officer. In 2008 I was named President. I was named CEO in 2010. Today I am the President & CEO and in August will have been at Arrow for 17 years.

Any tips for maintaining work/life balance?

We're only promised today and you never know when your number is up. Your P and L's (profit and loss statements) are not going to be by your side one day when your number is up.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

The Pest Control Industry is all about people and relationships. Dive right in! It's a great Industry and you'll have a blast!!!

Dr. Dawn Gouge, Associate Specialist/Professor - Urban Entomology, University of Arizona Website
Maricopa, AZ
Career Summary:

Why? I love science and biological organisms. I am motivated to improve the quality of human life. Achievements? Participating in the leadership of national IPM initiatives. What I do? Facilitate informed choice, promote risk reduction, teach/mentor the next generation of scientists and research pest ecology.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

The workload is overwhelming, extension demands can never be met, while academic departments evaluate faculty on publications and grants. It's a challenging position to succeed in, but not impossible.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

Woman may be more inclined towards empathy and understanding. They may also be less imposing/threatening around delicate/stressed people.

Ashlea Keene, Brand Manager, Catseye Pest Control Twitter Website
Career Summary:

I joined the pest management industry a little over three years ago and have been fascinated by it ever since. I began as the executive assistant to the Vice President of Marketing and now manage the Catseye brand. I handle public relations, community involvement, social media, and print and online content creation. Some of my more memorable career milestones include writing all the content for our new website which has a "Pest Library" with over 145 pests, spearheading the public relations and staff recruitment strategy for the launch of a new office location, becoming a certified pest management technician in New York State, and being asked to sit on the Marketing Advisory Council for the Professional Pest Management Alliance.

Favorite pest-related experience?

It's hard for me to choose just one favorite experience. I love teaching people about pests, whether it's friends, people I meet at community events or those who reach out on social media. I remember my sister's boyfriend saying something about a bug on his shirt and I leaned over to take a look at it and said, "Oh, that's a boxelder beetle — this time of year they're gathering to overwinter." The dumbstruck look on his face still makes me chuckle to this day.

What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

When people think about pest control they often think about "pesticides" and "killing things." My biggest challenge is changing this perception and showing that pest management professionals can fix pest problems while being environmentally conscious.

Lydia Brown, Assistant in Extension, University of Arizona Facebook
Maricopa, AZ
Career Summary:

My horticulture degree required a course in Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and I fell in love when I learned about the brilliant strategies and creative solutions in agricultural IPM. I graduated in 2011, and perhaps my greatest achievement was finding a job in my field before graduation-- while many people struggled to find employment in the Great Recession. I work in Cooperative Extension (Agronomic IPM) with a wonderful group of scientists, farmers, and pest control advisors.

Favorite pest-related experience

I've had many good experiences. One that comes to mind is when I met a woman in the produce section of Whole Foods who wondered why there were no Organic lemons available. The grocer didn't know, but I explained the citrus quarantine due to citrus psyllids and citrus greening, which means no Organic lemons if they are not in season in Arizona. I am happy that I can answer people's questions about agriculture, pest management, and food production.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

My biggest challenges have centered on my physical appearance. I receive comments on how "hot" I am and questions about whether I'm strong enough to handle the labor. I've felt threatened on a few occasions while working offsite at commercial farms. One person wondered aloud if women are "too delicate" to work in Arizona agriculture and said that he thought a woman would quit after one field season. I'm still here 4 years later. Thankfully, I have not experienced this from university professionals and sexist comments are becoming more rare over time.

Patty Pierleonardi, Owner, PMSI Facebook Website
Career Summary:

My father in law started the business 28 years ago. I entered the business 12 years ago and used my business and marketing background to build the business. Since I have entered into the business, we have expanded our business into MD and PA and developed a community involvement program with our employees. We have also received contracts with the Washington Redskins, the Potomac Nationals and sponsored the USA Team in the Kayak/Canoe World Championships in 2014. Today I oversee all Operations in the business, as well as marketing strategies and community activities.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

I love educating the public on pest issues. We had kindergarteners at our office on a field trip and taught life cycles of insects to them. It was so much fun.

Any tips for maintaining work/life balance?

Love your work and plan each day to a tee!

Micki Tolentino, Corporate Training Admin, Insight Pest Solutions Facebook Website
Career Summary:

I joined this industry because of two reasons; one I have interest in making connections with people through customer service and two I wanted to make use of skills I felt I could bring to the table and be a good asset to the industry and company. Since I have been in the industry I have advanced from CSR to Technician and currently working on a Corporate level creating trainings for the company. Also since I have been here I have received recognition for Employee of the month for May 2014, one month into Technician Training. I have traveled a few times for the company to assist in other branches. I have tried to carry my talents over to the many tasks that have been given me so that I can help improve areas in the company that will help us be successful in all aspects of our operations.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

Women come off more nurturing and trustworthy at the door when one on one and face to face with the customer. I have put at ease many stay at home moms who request an interior service because of my gender. I have surprised many customers for being brave in this chosen field. I just go about my business and not let my gender affect me.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

One advice I have is to not let your gender affect you in anyway. Any one can do this job as long as they have good customer service skills and are willing to listen to the problem at had and then come up with a solution to the problem. I would hope that more women that do choose to come to this industry not allow their gender to affect them in such away that they think they can't be fit enough for the job. We can do ANYTHING that the men do because WE have the STRENGTH to do them, no MATTER what.

Dr. Shaku Nair, Assistant in Extension-Community IPM, University of Arizona Website
Maricopa, AZ
Career Summary:

I am an entomologist by passion and profession. There is a lot of misunderstanding about insects (and other "pests") and I want to change that as much as possible through my career. A milestone in my career is the "Handbook on Pests in Community Environments in the Desert Southwest U.S." (http://cals.arizona.edu/apmc/Handbook.html). I am the lead author of this book, which reflects my philosophy on pest management. It provides basic information to help readers decide whether organisms they may come across in our environments are pests or not, and therefore whether they need to be controlled or not. Currently I serve as an extension scientist at the University of Arizona, where I work with a team of experts on all aspects of integrated pest management in community environments.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

When I am able to convince someone to change their outlook towards insect pests and their management, and understand and appreciate the important role insects play in our environment.

Any tips for maintaining work/life balance?

When you appreciate and enjoy what you are working on, it never seems stressful and that helps to improve the quality of your life.

Dr. Danesha Seth Carley, Co-director, Southern IPM Center Twitter Website
Career summary:

I have a higher degree in Entomology and Plant Pathology. Pest management in food crops has always interested me. I recently took the Co-Director position at the Southern IPM Center. A major accomplishment! I manage the Center, and manage a large research program in sustainable landscape management.

Favorite pest-related experience?

I was discussing stink bug control in the home garden with Master Gardeners in Oxford, NC when a stink bug flew onto my screen. I started pointing to the screen "look, THAT'S a stink bug!" The whole room started yelling "yuck! squish it!". Someone caught it and released it outside. We had a good laugh over the timing!

What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

It is still very dominated by older men. They are not always very accepting of women, esp. younger ones.

Sara McKinney, Marketing Manager, Action Pest Control Twitter Website
Evansville, IN
Career Summary:

I landed in the pest management industry by pure accident in a sales support position in 2007. In 2008, I began handling some of the marketing and advertising activities for the company as the marketing coordinator. I was honored with the Professional Women in pest management Scholarship Award in 2011. Since that time, I have been the marketing manager for Action Pest Control and am responsible for lead generation, brand management, company communication, and all other marketing activities.

Favorite pest-related experience?

One of the best parts of my job is the time I get to spend out in our community. Action had partnered with a local children's museum for a "creepy crawly" event. I had the brilliant idea that we should bring chocolate covered crickets to the event. I spent weeks raising these crickets in my office. In order to "prepare" the crickets you're supposed to freeze them before you bake them. Trust me when I say that two hours isn't nearly enough time in the freezer. There were crickets hopping all over the oven in our office! Luckily those crickets were a hit with the kids at the museum and the event was a great success. Unfortunately, my coworkers will never let me hear the end of it.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

I feel that women will play a major role in the advancements of environmentally sensitive pest management solutions. This is not to say that this issue is not important to men, but I feel women have a keen awareness of how what we do today affects the lives of our future generations.

Shelby Hawkins, President/Owner, 5 Star Termite & Pest Control Facebook Website
Career Summary:

I hated being a social worker, the pay was crap and I saw a lot of waste. My husband became a termite inspector and I was curious about what he told me when he got home. I started to read about bugs and termites in general. One of the things I hated about social work is I would help a family solve a problem and then they would be back in 6 months with the same problem. The first time I went out and sprayed for roaches my first thoughts were "you are not going to be back in 6 months." I knew then this was the job for me. I worked part time for a company my husband was working for and I saw, once again, a lot of waste. I knew I could do it better. I had 2 college degrees and many of those classes allowed me to take the licensing test a year earlier, which at the same time I found out we were going to have our third child. A little more than a year later, my husband left… I couldn't support 3 children on a social worker’s income so I continued with the business. It was hard. I was the first woman in Arizona to hold a termite and pest control license. That was 35-plus years ago.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

I can continue to study, find new ways to treat insects safely and not hurt the earth.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

Women bring a different set of eyes. Most of us think of the client first rather than just the bottom line. We treat our men with respect and encourage them to grow as individuals.

Lisa Jo Lupo, Owner, LJ Writing Services, Pestcontrol.about.com Website
Career Summary:

As with so many in the industry, I pretty much fell into it. My then-husband and I were stationed at Grand Forks AFB ... not a lot of career opportunities there. But it happened to be at the time that Ecolab was starting its Pest Elimination Division, by merging five companies of which Lystads in Grand Forks was the largest. The company was seeking a freelance writer for its new employee newsletter, so I traveled to St. Paul for an interview, and before the day was up, I was in charge of the newsletter. From there, it was a gradual progression to take on more and more technical writing and marketing responsibilities, finally becoming the Marketing Communications Manager for the division. My 13 years with this company gave me an industry expertise and a professionalism that has benefited me in every career move since. From Ecolab, I had a short stint in the exhibition industry, then decided to try my hand as an independent writer, specializing in pest management and the food industry. Today, I am the 10+ year owner of LJ Writing Services still specializing in pest management and the food industry (particularly food safety, quality & defense). I am the Editor and primary writer of Quality Assurance & Food Safety (QA) magazine, The Acheson Group Science Writer, About Pest Control Expert, and PCT book Editor; and I provide various other writing, editing, web and consultation services.

Any tips for work/life balance?

I was a single mother for many years, and worked out of my home for even more. During that time I learned to distinctly separate the two. I gave my all at work, but when work was done, it was done. I set it aside - literally and in my mind - and did not sacrifice my family evenings and weekends, except when absolutely necessary. I know that my children appreciate that to this day.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

Despite its challenges, it's a great industry. Don't let anyone hold you back or push you beyond where you wish to be. Get out there, make your mark doing what you love, and climb your own ladder that you build step by step.

Janice Cornish, Customer Care Manager, Insight Pest Solutions Twitter Website
Career Summary:

I started in pest control when I wanted to change careers and get out of the car rental industry. I have been in pest control for 14 years and have worked for three different pest control companies. I have held the positions of office manager, regional manager, Chief Operating Officer, branch manager and customer care center manager. I currently hold the position of Customer Care Center manager.

Any tips for maintaining work/life balance?

Make sure you have a very understanding spouse. Lol. My husband is used to my long hours and my reading of emails and phone calls when I am home. I do make sure I try to "disconnect" a couple of times a week to give him my undivided attention. He is my biggest supporter and my biggest fan! I couldn't do it without his support.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

This is a fascinating industry. I never tire of hearing the pest control "horror" stories and the great attempts at getting them resolved. The industry is constantly evolving so it rarely becomes ho hum or mundane. Some of the best people in the world work in this industry so who can complain? I wish more women would consider pest control as a career. The customers love us!

Dr. Shujuan (Lucy) Li, Assistant in Extension, Public Health IPM, University of Arizona Website
Maricopa, AZ
Career Summary:

I am actively involved in community Integrated Pest Management (IPM). I develop and provide IPM workshops and IPM education courses, deliver IPM trainings to a variety of clientele, and IPM implementation programs and long-term impact assessments in public schools and public housing.

Favorite pest-related experience?

My favorite pest related experience would be tasting different insects, including grilled cicadas; chocolate-covered crickets; fried grasshoppers, crickets, praying mantis, mealworms, silkworms, caterpillars, etc. To date, my favorite insect food is grilled cicada and chocolate-covered crickets.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

My favorite part about working in Entomology would be sharing my knowledge and expertise with the general public. I really enjoy my experience educating the general public about integrated pest management (IPM) - the most sensible, economical and sustainable method of managing pests in any situation with the least possible risk to people, property and the environment.

Sarah Gray, Pest technician, Insight Pest Solutions Twitter Website
Favorite pest-related experience?

I had a customer say that he was grateful for me coming at such short notice and that I did such a good job. I like that because I have such a good day when people recognize that I'm there to help and I'm trying my best.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

I never thought I was much of a people person but as I've gone around to different places it has been enjoyable to meet and talk with all sorts of people.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

I would say do your research, there is a lot of different kinds of pests and knowing how to treat certain kinds certain ways will be very beneficial, also be prepared to work hard.

Jennifer Gaddis, Corporate Commercial Account Representative, Action Pest Control Facebook Website
Evansville, IN
Career Summary:

After graduating college, I applied for the position in pest control looking to gain business to business sales experience. I never imagined I would end up enjoying pest management or creating a successful career out of it. Over the past 4 years I have received numerous sales awards, been promoted to Corporate Sales and appointed trainer for new commercial sales associates. Currently I develop and maintain successful pest management programs for: Food grade facilities, Healthcare, Hospitality, Industrial, Manufacturing plants, Multi-family housing, Office buildings, Restaurants, Schools, Daycares, City Municipalities.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

Working in pest control is very rewarding because everyday brings a new challenge. No two days are alike other than presenting the opportunity to help others. I may start my morning off educating a group of staff members for a homecare agency on pest prevention, then head to a food manufacturing plant for a site wide assessment. Then I'm off to an apartment complex to perform bed bug inspections with our K-9 detection team. After lunch, (if I find time) I may need to stop by a current hotel client to inspect a room for reported bed bugs before heading to my appointment for a local restaurant that is experiencing roach issues in the kitchen. After that I have an appointment on me for a school that is requesting a quote on pest, rodent and mosquito control. Just when I thought I was about to head home, I receive a call from the hospital and they need me to swing by for an inspection in the ER where a pest issue was reported. I enjoy the diversity of experiences this industry has to offer.

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

Most clients expect to see a male arrive for their pest control appointment. So I like to think they are pleasantly surprised to see a VW Beetle, painted like a ladybug, pull up to their business with a female stepping out. After seeing an extensive inspection and receiving an informative assessment of their pest issues I think they are more apt to let their guard down, and begin to build trust. I often hear people say, "I could never do your job." which leads me to believe they like the bravery of a woman working in the pest industry. People ultimately choose to do business with people they like and trust.

Charity Lowder, Senior Manager, Orkin Customer Contact Center Twitter Website
Charlotte, NC
Career Summary:

I joined Orkin in 1996, not because I desired to be a pest professional (most young females do not), but because Orkin was a company that offered flexibility and the salary and benefits to support a one-income family comfortably. My career started as a Field Pest Control Inspector, which consisted of selling pest control face-to-face, and performing termite re-inspections every day. The nineteen years as a woman in the pest control industry has allowed me to attend the "Rollins President's Club" nine times as one of the top sales managers. This amazing industry allowed me to be recognized in the "Women For Hire" magazine in 2009, and in October, 2012 the "Professional Women In Pest Management" presented me with a scholarship to further my career as a pest professional. Currently, I have the distinct honor of holding the title of OCCC Senior Manager for Orkin and cannot wait to see what the company and this industry has in store for my family in the future.

Favorite pest-related experience?

I had been called out to an apartment complex to treat for german roaches. The apartment had drop ceilings, shag carpet, and a mom and her children. When I walked into this apartment my first reaction was to turn around and walk back out. Right away, you could see the roaches crawling on the walls. The children were coloring on the floor and the roaches were trying to help. This was the worst infestation (we all say this by the way). But to make a very long, unpolished story short, when I got to the kitchen to treat, and lifted the ceiling tile to place bait, roaches and egg capsules fell in my hair, down my shirt. If my mouth had been opened I would have swallowed one or two. Believe it or not, I held it together, got back in that little white truck and went directly to the office. I banged on the office window until my favorite admin came out, and helped me to pick roaches and capsules out of my hair. Now those at Orkin knows that Charity likes her hair and her HAIRSPRAY!

Any tips for work/life balance?

To maintain a work/life balance, it is very important to set daily, weekly, monthly goals. You also need to make sure each day you prioritize a to-do-list and when work is done, it is done! The cell phone must be turned off at dinner and bedtime...end of discussion! I have a great relationship with my team and co-workers; however, I do not socialize outside of the workplace. My home life is sacred and saved for my family and friends, except for planned picnics and team building activities.

Leslie Lane Wyman, President, Epcon Lane Twitter Website
Akron, OH
Career Summary:

It is my family business started by my grandfather in 1945. Athena Powerlink Award; Quality Pro, WBENC, NPMA PWIPM Committee member, President of the company.

What is your favorite pest-related experience?

I was on a Sales call, dressed up, we got an emergency Hornets nest call. I was in the area, I pulled up, got out of the car, went to the trunk, pulled my Bee suit on over my skirt, got out my B&G & went over & sprayed one of the biggest hornets nest I had ever seen. Went back to my car, took off bee suit, put can away and walked over to the family in their car. The 16 year old son was in the car with his mom...he said "Mom, is that the bug guy?" Hilarious! That's how family businesses roll!

How do women in particular bring unique value to the industry?

We are multi-taskers. We can get many things done efficiently and effectively. I think we have a perspective about homeowners that differ from males. Females are typically the decision maker and that is who we are marketing to in the home. That's why I would like to see more women interested in being technicians.

Sandy Honess, Owner, Ladybug Pest Management, Inc Twitter Website
Delmar, DE
Career Summary:

My husband worked for Orkin and was not happy. We decided to start Ladybug Pest Mgmt. in 2010. I maintained my job as a Legal Assistant (25 year career). However, in May of 2010 I was laid off and joined my husband in Ladybug. The best decision I ever made. We specialize in bed bugs and have 2 canine scent beagles for bed bugs. I am co-owner and can handle both canines. I also perform bed bug services in the field. We have been blessed in this business. It is just the 2 of us and our canines and work with another PMP when larger jobs crop up.

Favorite pest related experience?

Bed bug work can be very challenging, yet so rewarding when you can help someone with the eradication of this so very elusive pest. And our canines always amaze us with their findings. We know they can do it, it is just that is never gets old to see them in action on each new search.

Favorite part about working in Pest Control and/or Entomology?

I like talking to the clients/customers and solving their problem! We also give a small yet nice first-time customer appreciation gift. I like creating the gift bag and customers seem to really enjoy. Something small like this sets us apart.

Kirstin Willardson, Pest Technician, Insight Pest Solutions Youtube Website
Career Summary:

I heard many good things about Insight Pest Solutions from a friend. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something new and different. I'm a certified pest technician for the state of Minnesota. I take care of pests and creepy crawly things.

Advice for other women either in the industry, or considering joining the industry?

Don't be afraid to do this kind of work. At first I was nervous and felt so inadequate but soon realized that I knew just as much as the guys did that I work with.

What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

Customers are always surprised to see a woman coming up to their house to service it. I think they wonder if I'm as knowledgeable as the men technicians and physically competent.

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