Much more in Baltimore

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This year’s PestWorld event was held from 24 to 27 October 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland – or, as it was christened, B’More. As ever, it was very well supported by its home audience of US pest professionals, as well as by a large contingent from around the world.
The event is organised by the American trade association National Pest Management Association (NPMA) who declared in their official figures that 3,700 industry professionals navigated over 125,000 square feet of exhibition space showcasing the products and services of around 200 companies. This, they say, made it the largest PestWorld in NPMA’s history.

In addition, there were more than a hundred educational sessions, receptions, special interest group meetings and the like to attend. Educational sessions covered an array of technical, business and management topics. What is unique at PestWorld is that the educational sessions and the exhibition do not run concurrently. So, having enough time to scamper around all the exhibition stands proves pretty tricky. Likewise, many of the exhibitors, plenty of whom have travelled up to half way around the globe at not inconsiderable expense, feel they are missing out as their booths are only open for half the time spent at the venue. Even so, all agreed it is a worthwhile event and there was a generally positive and upbeat mood.

A warm welcome
The opening ceremony, sponsored by Bayer, began with an updated showing of the NPMA Pride in Professionalism video. Made some 15 years ago, its core message still rings true – the important role pest management professionals play in protecting health and property.

Dominique Stumpf, CEO at NPMA and now well established in this role as this was her second PestWorld at the helm, welcomed everyone and reflected on the successes achieved over the last 12 months. Following on from last year’s introduction of the NPMA’s new ambitious vision statement: ‘Every household and every business will use professional pest management services,’ she detailed the progress made.

This was followed by entertainment from the Drumadics Beat-N-Brass – see in our video clip.

Role of technology recognised
Each of the three plenary general sessions provides an opportunity for its commercial sponsor (Bayer, Dow and Syngenta) to present its key message. Each of these had a clear theme – and one that was also very visible within the exhibition – the increasing role new technology is playing in professional pest management. We have reported on this before – see our report on this from last year’s event – but what is new is that the ‘big boys’ are now entering this sector -and with something of a bang.

Loss of actives
As Syngenta’s Mike Parkin, Global Head Lawn & Garden Controls said: “What’s captured my interest this week is the innovation in our industry. Professional pest management is embracing new technologies. Automation, detection and monitoring now enable a truly integrated approach to pest control.”

He went on to explain how the industry also faces a number of challenges, saying: “The key active ingredients the industry relies on – the active ingredients you use every day – are under threat from regulators. Over the past three decades, we have lost 30% of active ingredients globally.

Domonique Stumph  NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf opened the event

BandThe Drumadics Beat-N-Brass band got the proceedings off to a rhythmical start

SyngentaMike Parkin, Global Head Lawn & Garden Controls from Syngenta, highlighted the problems faced due to a loss of active ingredients

“In Europe, where much of this loss has occurred, regulators have not re-approved 67% of active ingredients. That’s two-thirds of active ingredients that can no longer be used. The challenge is that the impact of what is happening in Europe is likely to spread globally,” he warned.

These views echo those expressed by his predecessor, Jeff Cox, at last year’s event as reported in Pest magazine.

The heads of both Bayer (Ildem Bozkurt) and Dow AgroSciences (Mark Neterer) extolled the virtues of their new digital offerings in their opening addresses – to find out more read our exhibition report on digital developments. Maybe it’s being wicked, but these initiatives, although great, do give these companies something new to talk about as there is a distinct dearth of any new active ingredients and even product enhancements are somewhat thin on the ground.

Recognising excellence
These general sessions also provide an opportunity for the industry to recognise its achievers, as was the case on Thursday morning. Whilst many of these are somewhat US-specific the highlight is the presentation of the NPMA Pinnacle Award presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to both the NPMA and the industry in general.

This year the award went to husband and wife team, Bob and Judy Dold, owners of Chicago-based Rose Pest Solutions. Originally founded in Ohio in 1860, this makes the company one of the oldest in the US, yet it is the more recent activities of this dynamic and charming duo that were recognised.

Both of them have served as NPMA presidents, Bob in 1984 and Judy in 2001, since when they have continued to be highly active industry ambassadors.

This work has included numerous trips to the UK and elsewhere globally, so they are familiar faces across the world.

Dow ManMark Neterer from Dow went 3D demonstrating the company’s latest training aid

DoldProud recipients of the Pinnacle of Excellence award – Judy & Bob Dold are presented with their award from NPMA president, Bryan Cooksey

Rounding-off the Wednesday and Thursday general sessions were two topical and thought provoking presentations. Sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, Doc Hendley narrated how he had switched from barman to award winning humanitarian with his Wine to Water campaign. Then on Thursday, sponsored by Syngenta, Kirk Lippold, commanding officer of the USS Cole, graphically detailed how to act in a crisis. He explained how his training came to the fore on 12 October 2000 when his ship was attacked and bombed by Al-Qaeda terrorists during a refuelling stop in the Yemeni port of Aden.

Doc HendleyDoc Hendley aims to turn Wine to Water

LippoldBe prepared for any crisis, says Kirk Lippold

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