NPMA looks backwards and forwards at PestWorld 2011

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Over 3,000 delegates from around the world gathered at the well supported annual PestWorld exhibition and conference held between 19-22 October at New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Following a medley of patriotic songs played by NPMA President, Ray Johnson, NPMA Executive Vice President, Rob Lederer, welcomed delagates. In his opening address he reminded delegates that the last time PestWorld took place in New Orleans was October 2001, one month following the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Looking backwards
All over America organisations were cancelling events, yet the NPMA management board decided they were not going to succumb to terrorism and the event continued. Held in the very same convention centre as ten years ago, the venue has since served as an evacuaction venue for those whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Ten years ago General Norman Schwarzkopf was the key speaker and gave a patriotic presentation on unity. Continuing the theme, at this year’s opening general session Lt. General Russell Honorá©, the Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, gave a stiring address citing George Washington as one of his heroes. The theme, running thoughout his presentation, was ”fight for freedom” – a theme which could hardly have been more appropriate as he announced to delegates that Gaddafi had been caught in Libya that very morning.

But it was the presentation given by Chief Richard ‘Pitch’ Picciotto, the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse, and the last fireman to escape the devastation, that got the audience to their feet in recognition of his achievements.

”Pitch” was on a stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors of the North tower when it collapsed on 11 September.

He related his harrowing experience initially ascending the North tower in an attempt to rescue survivors, the subsequent collapse of the South tower, followed shortly afterwards by the North tower, the thought that he was dead, only to discover he was buried amongst the rubble. When he finally climbed upwards, he reached the top and saw the “unfathomable, mind-boggling destruction.”

Looking forwards
In these ten intervening years Rob Lederer told delegates how NPMA had gone from strength to strength.

“The growth of NPMA is a shared story of progress and accomplishments – a story of success and pro-active co-operation,” explained Rob.

Association membership now stands at over 7,000 companies with joint membership programmes in four countries (South Africa, Ireland, Brazil and Latin America).

But not wishing to stand still, throughout the convention one hour long focus groups were to be held with members to explore ‘the NPMA difference’. Participants were to be asked to provide input regarding issues and possible strategies for enhancing NPMA”s ability to meet the needs of members and the industry. Not to be overlooked, one session would focus on the needs of international delegates.

The convention next year will be held in Boston, Massachusetts. And somewhat in the mould of the handing over of the Olympic torch, Marillian Missitri, President of the New England Pest Management Association (NEPMA) (an area itself with extensive fishing activities) presented a cheque for $10,000 raised as a result of fund raising activities to the United Commercial Fisherman’s Association. This organisation represents commercial fishing along the hurricane affected Gulf Coast.


Rob Lederer
NPMA Executive Vice President
welcomed delegates

New Orleans was very familiar to
Lt. General Russell Honorá©

Fire chief Richard ‘Pitch’ Picciotto received a standing ovation

Cheque presentation
One fishing community to another

New Orleans wouldn”t be New Orleans without jazz…


Mardi Gras
…nor Mardi Gras

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