Leading Your Company in Difficult Times: An Introduction

By Dr. Faith Oi and Kemp Anderson; editing by Theresa Childs

April 8, 2020


Like most people these days, we are consuming lots of news trying to make sense of everything going on in the world regarding Covid-19, healthcare, business, economics and even politics. It’s overwhelming and dizzying. There is so much to take in. What does it mean to our families, our friends, our businesses, and our lives in general?

One March 22, we decided to partner in co-authoring an article that would help others in the pest control industry understand the current landscape; so that they may better serve their customers and employees in the healthiest way possible. We wanted to share our combined 50+ years of experience — specifically with our industry in mind. We hit snags immediately. In just two short weeks, our attempt to author one article has morphed into a series of articles from a science, entomological, and business perspective. This evolution happened simply because we realized that COVID-19 is a longer-term healthcare crisis, and a global economic issue that will not be resolved in the coming weeks or possibly even months.

Faith Oi shares her insight on the quickly emerging science as it applies to our industry. Kemp Anderson then shares his analysis the economic impact this event is having on our industry and what we can expect looking forward along with business specific actions when applicable. (Spoiler alert: Goldman Sachs expects the economy to shrink at least 24% from April to June alone.) We are fortunate to have the support of Theresa Childs in editing this massive amount of data, and helping synthesize a cohesive message and strategy.

Some of the questions on our mind as we worked through the information were: why is pest control is deemed an essential service? What does that mean for individual operators? What changes will we need to make within our business to protect the health and safety of our employees and our customers? How long do we think the economic effects will last? How will supply chains be affected? And more.

We hope you find this series informative and actionable as we navigate these unprecedented times.

Faith and Kemp

Dr. Faith Oi is the Director of Pest Management University, an academy that provides state-of-the-art education and hands-on training for the industry. As a faculty member in the Entomology and Nematology Department at the University of Florida, she works at a “grassroots-level” and does applied research to solve industry problems. Her latest efforts also involve working with county faculty to direct market IPM to residents through existing programs. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida and her M.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.

Kemp Anderson is the owner of Kemp Anderson Consulting; his firm represents sellers, helping them grow their business and negotiating the maximum purchase price once they decide to sell. He started in a truck at Sears Termite & Pest Control over twenty years ago, later starting his own pest control business that sold to Terminix. The next fifteen years were spent in overseeing operations, M&A and corporate development for Middleton Lawn & Pest Control, Orkin and Scotts Lawn Care. Kemp holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rollins College as well as an MBA from The Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

Theresa Childs before working for Kemp Anderson Consulting, Theresa was a seasoned Brand Manager for Rollins, Inc. The parent company of Orkin Pest Control, LLC. Prior to her decade of work within the pest control industry she worked in several marketing agencies. Her clients included The American Diabetes Association, Home Depot, Paralyzed Veterans of American, BellSouth, the State of Georgia, American’s Second Harvest, SunTrust, Coca-Cola, Solvay, Merck, Arby’s, Cracker Barrel, Cingular Wireless, Philips Electronics and Cox Communications. Theresa holds both a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Communications and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Clemson University.

The information contained in this article is for the general guidance of matters of interest only. The authors are not responsible for any errors or omissions or the results obtained from the use of this information. The information contained in this article is provided on an “as is“ basis with no guarantees of completeness, usefulness or timeliness. Accordingly, the information in this article is provided with the understanding that the authors are not herein engaged in rendering financial, legal, tax, accounting or other professional advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with the reader’s professional advisers. In no event will the authors be liable to any person, company or entity for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this article or for any consequential, special or similar damages.

Read the first article in our series: Basic FAQs of Operating as an Essential Service in the Era of COVID-19

To download a PDF copy of this article in its entirety, click here.