Other event highlights at PestEx

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Whilst the exhibition is the central focus for PestEx, there were plenty of other events going on in the seminars and other areas around the main exhibition hall.

BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester took the opportunity to launch its new customer-focused magazine,alexo and to outline the Association’s strategy for the next three years.

You would have needed to be walking round the exhibition blindfolded not to see thealexo issue zero cover image of two young boxers and the headline ‘Size doesn’t matter’ on the walls around the BPCA lounge area. In general people at PestEx seemed rather confused about why there was to be another BPCA magazine and there was a degree of muttering in the ranks about where on earth the title alexo had come from.

Had they had time to go along to the presentations by BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester they would have found the answer to that question and obtained a better understanding of what the new publication is about and why it’s so important that the pest control servicing industry gets behind it.

Ok, alexo is Greek forI protect – which is exactly what the people at the sharp end of pest control do. Maybe most pest controllers didn’t do classics at Oxford but does that matter? It’s a short name, easy to remember and spell and if it gets people asking ‘what’s that all about’ then it’s done its job. They are going to pick-up the magazine and find out more.

As Simon explained, this magazine isn’t meant to be read by pest controllers, it’s meant for their customers – the people with the responsibility for placing pest control contracts. The plan is to send it out to at least 5,000 contacts, twice a year staring with issue 1 in June 2011.

“It’s an important part of BPCA’s strategic plan to deliver benefits and improve professionalism – alexo will make clients much more aware of the importance of our industry and of the need to use professionals for pest control,” said Simon.

On the CPD trail
The Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points trail was a good idea in theory, but it didn’t really take off in practice. The concept that visitors could go round participating exhibitors stands, answer a series of questions and gain extra CPD points fell-down because it all got rather too complicated. The result was that only a handful of people followed the trail. Of course, it might just have been that not many people attending the event were collecting CPD points. With its much more international appeal, there were certainly plenty of visitors from outside the UK and therefore outside the scope of the BASIS PROMPT Professional Pest Controllers’ Register. BASIS however reported a much more pleasing take-up of the bar code scanner facility, which allowed PROMPT members to automatically claim CPD points by simply going to the BASIS stand and having their membership cards scanned in by the bar code reader. So clearly there were quite a number of people collecting the points.

Tax, work-life balance and falconry
The Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) group held a meeting at 16.30 on the opening day followed by a wine and cheese reception. Despite having two excellent speakers, Kate Naylor from Sagars, an independent firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors and Layla Bennett who runs her own falconry business Hawksdrift, the numbers attending were rather disappointing. On the plus side however there were plenty of questions and, encouragingly, even a few men felt able to come along. The PWIPM group is about women in pest management setting their own agenda and discussing the topics that interest them. If these happen to be of interest to the men in the industry as well, then that’s all well and good!


 Simon Forrester 

Launching alexo – BPCA chief executive,
Simon Forrester,
explains all

alexo cover 
Issue zero was available on the
BPCA stand for all to see

PWIPM Getting the work-life balance right Kate Naylor (left) and Layla Bennett – with Monty – spoke at the
PWIPM reception 

Kate became the first female partner at Sagars in 2003. Her remit was tax and maintaining a work life balance. Knitting these two quite different themes together she focused on structure. “From a tax perspective, the structure of your business sets out the tax regime that you are in,” she said. “So for example, a sole trader is taxed at high income tax rates on their ‘profit’ but profit is an accounting concept that doesn’t always mean the sole trader has cash. A company is taxed in a very different way, albeit still on profit, but the rates are generally a lot lower.”

Structure is again key to achieving that elusive work life balance. “If you have systems and structure then it should reduce the time you spend managing your business, giving you more time for the other things in life,” she said. In Kate’s case that includes two energetic young sons. As an example she quoted the Sagars phone training. “This means that not only do we all answer the phone in the same way, we are also trained to probe, in a nice way, to get behind what people need, so we are not wasting lots of time playing telephone tag.”

Layla Bennett’s falconry business has gone from strength to strength. With her falcon Monty, Layla came to the attention of PWIPM when she appeared on the BBC’s programme Dragon’s Den last year. Since then her pest control business has grown and there are now five full-time employees, 32 birds in total, with 14 working daily and covering the whole country. Hawksdrift also runs falconry displays and experience sessions as well as a special wedding day ring delivery service.

Whilst flying falcons and hawks can be a successful and very environment/PR friendly means of bird control, looking after the birds and training them requires a lot of time and commitment. “Take two weeks off training a bird like Monty and he won’t be so keen to work and will need a considerable amount of retraining. They revert to the wild and very quickly become nervous of you,” she added.

The event was sponsored by BASF Pest Control Solutions, Ecolab, DuPont, NPTA, Pest Control News and Pest. 



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