Round of applause, please! Amy Chapman, national account manager for Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, was recognized as the 2018 National Pest Management Association Women of Excellence winner at PestWorld in Orlando, Florida.
The NPMA Women of Excellence Award recognizes women who advance the pest management industry every day, in every way. The international honor draws nominations from across the pest management industry, including pest management professionals (PMPs), manufacturers, research organizations, etc. These individuals demonstrate outstanding leadership and have made notable contributions to the development and growth of the profession, their business and other women in the industry.
Get to know Amy better as she answers some questions about her industry experience, involvement and where she sees the pest industry going. Well-deserved recognition for Amy!
Q: Amy, you’ve been in the pest management industry for over 23 years. Why is that? What has made you stick around?
A: I love this industry for a few reasons — the pest control industry is a very family-focused one, and with our roles in sales, I have found in 23 years that I have never had one day be the exact same as the day before. For a working mom of three kids, this industry embraces your love of your family and encourages you to participate in all facets of your children’s lives. When a co-worker or customer is having a personal issue, we rally around each other and lift one another up. You simply do not find that kind of dynamic in any other $8 billion-plus industry.
I also love a challenge. Termites can be an emotional issue for a homeowner or business owner, so you have to balance the emotions with the science of correcting the issue. My heart resides in pest control — I’m all in.
Q: So far, what is your favorite accomplishment or achievement?
A: Professionally, I am most proud of seeing our company change the face of termite control. I started as an intern working for Kevin Burns telling PMPs about this new concept called Sentricon. We were selling a ton of Dursban at the time, but Sentricon was revolutionary. I was new to the business, so I had zero blinders about termite control. I knew nothing. South Carolina, my beloved territory of 22 years, was in the heart of the liquid termiticide mecca. To look at what the termite market was doing back in 1995 compared to where it is today, I take great pride in knowing I’ve been part of the entire journey of shifting the paradigm in termite control. To see a 23-year-old product evolve and improve like it has defies anything you ever learn about the lifecycle of a product. It’s cool.
Q: As a senior sales representative and now a national account manager, how have you helped empower women?
A: When I began my career, 99 percent of women in the industry were in an administrative role. We had five females as sales representatives, and for years, I was the only female in my district.
[When I was] a kid, my father never gave me a pass on any chore he could come up with. So, when the men at work would bet money if I would get in a crawl space or not, I never shared that my dad stored potatoes in our crawl space and I was very familiar with how to navigate that space with almost no clearance. It was so fun to see their faces when I never said no, even if on the inside I was screaming!
Doing things like that led to stories being told with my customers and co-workers back in the office. The women would ask me about it, and I would say “I think I should have gotten a cut of the money, don’t you?!” It built a trust. They learned you can walk in wearing high heels and then go work in the field. I think it helped those who wanted to take on new roles feel confident that women do have a place in our industry as leaders. Look at Emily Thomas Kendrick or Kim Kelly-Tunis. Those are tough women who will never ask you to do something they won’t do. There is empowerment in performance, whether they see it firsthand or hear the stories.
Q: Why do you find it important to mentor and build up future women leaders?
A: I was taught two things from my parents: Of whom much is given, much is expected — and things don’t matter, people do. I have had such a blessed life and feel because of those blessings, I have a responsibility to encourage women to join an industry that needs more women. Women offer so many things that can help a company grow and succeed. Women have strong emotional intelligence. We are strong in identifying ways to motivate/encourage our teams, and we offer a level of empathy that drives retention with pest control clients.
Q: What advice do you have for other women in the pest management industry?
A: I encourage women to dream. I would challenge them in their current role and ask what makes you happy at work? Where do you think you are strongest? Where do you feel weak? Don’t make excuses. If you don’t have the skills yet, get them. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend industry events and learn. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t succeed. If you want it, you can have it. The industry needs you!
Q: To wrap it up, what do you think pest control will be like in 10 or 20 years?
A: The greatest thing about our industry is that we protect our communities and keep people healthy through controlling pests and rodents. As our population grows, the work we do will be even more important. During the recession of 2007, it was wonderful to see our consumers recognize the value of the industry. We didn’t see nearly the impact of other service segments.
I think we’ll also see more technology to help with the employee hiring challenges we face. Technology will allow us to learn more about the pests we control as well as unlock the mysteries of how they continue to thrive and escape control. My hope is that it’ll help us have more young employees decide to make the pest control industry a career and not the job you have while you look for a job. With the gig economy growing and providing strong income with super flexible hours, finding and keeping good people will only become harder.
On the consumer side, I predict consumers will continue to push us to change the way we invoice, with a stronger focus on monthly payment plans. I think consumers also will make us revisit our contracts and the renewable income they provide. We’ve got to be savvy and figure out how other service industries have retained their customers and be willing to embrace those changes. Demographic studies predict more and more people will live within cities, and we’ll have to rethink how we manage those properties. I really look forward to working with our business partners in the industry to continue to protect our communities. I love this industry!