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CHANGE IS CONSTANT. OR IS IT?

The Rapid Solutions team celebrates a number of work anniversaries, testament to the company’s positive work culture.  

The Australian pest control industry has seen many changes since Rapid Solutions first opened its doors in 1992. Nearly 25 years later, there have also been some constants. The products and techniques may have changed, but achieving customer satisfaction remains as challenging as ever.

Several members of the Rapid Solutions team will be reaching significant milestones in the coming months. Peter Brigden (training), Laura Keys (claims) and Sarah Sullivan (accounts) will be celebrating their ten year anniversaries with Rapid Solutions, while Gary Byrne (technical), Liz Smith (insurance), Pauline Erdmannsky (insurance) and Kim Sottovia (insurance) will be reaching the 15 year landmark. It seemed a fitting time to ask some of the most experienced members of the team to reflect back upon the changes they’ve witnessed.

Mr Byrne (technical manager) joined Flick in 1970, later working with Amalgamated Pest Control and Rentokil, before joining Rapid Solutions in 2002. “There’s a much greater variety of insecticides available now than in the 70s,” commented Mr Byrne. “Back then you couldn’t control resistance by using products with different modes of action.” He added that, “Advances in equipment and legislative changes have also improved safety levels.” And what has remained the same? “The correct technique for termite dusting is the same today as it was in the 50s and pest managers still complain about working in roof voids on hot days!”

Keith Farrow (chief technical officer) started out in 1980 with Flick, later working with Dow, before joining Rapid Solutions in 2005. Mr Farrow advised that, “The risks being faced by pest managers has increased dramatically, especially the legal risk.” He also pointed out, that “Technology has brought huge changes, with online reporting raising standards and social media allowing clients to openly express very frank views.” Mr Farrow acknowledged that, “Some of the shrewdest operators use this to improve their practices.” In contrast, “one thing that hasn’t changed is that homeowners can still measure the results of your work. Either the pests are gone, or they’re not.”

Ms Smith (client services manager) was there when the doors opened at Rapids in 1992 and she’s still there today more than 24 years later. The main changes that stand out for Ms Smith have been the introduction of greater licensing regulations in Queensland and the emergence of physical termite barriers. In terms of constants, Ms Smith said,  “When I first started, a big gripe for many was that regulations were not uniform across states and for many it still is today.”

Ms Erdmannsky (new business and major clients manager) has been working with pest managers for over 20 years. The main changes she’s seen are “a greater demand for higher levels of cover, and policies can now be activated much quicker thanks to new technology.” What has hasn’t changed? “Clients are still telling me they haven’t taken a holiday for years and for many coming to our conference is the only break they get.”

With over 120 years of experience between them, they’ve witnessed some unusual events over the years. An incident that stands out in Mr Byrne’s mind is an enquiry he received about a cow that had eaten a bucket of rat bait. Mr Byrne recalled, “Eight days later, the cow was somehow still happily grazing in the paddock, but did however die on the ninth day.”

Ms Erdmannsky remembered a pest manager once arrived at the office with a huge termite nest in the back of his ute. She said, “It had been cut out from under some stairs and still had cables sticking out the side.”

Mr Farrow’s stand out memory is when, as a young technician, he was refused access to a roof void as the owner thought he looked too inexperienced. “A senior technician duly arrived and within two minutes he’d fallen through the ceiling and was sprawled across the couch.”

Main photo shows the Rapid Solutions team:

From left to right (back row) Robert Prosser, John Harvey, Chris Murphy, Keith Farrow, Kathryn Lyall, Margaret Marlborough, Kim Sottovia, David Collins, (middle row) Gary Byrne, Margaret Smith, Annette Kildey, Kristy Kavanagh, Karen Mackenzie, John Waterman, (front row) Pauline Erdmannsky, Christine Willmott, Jenny Clarke, Liz Smith, James Franklin and Gav Rae.

(Not present) Graham Hellier, Marilyn Hellier, Murray Healey, Peter Brigden, Laura Keys, Garry Patten, Steve King, Kelly Scott, Michelle Binkin, Sarah Sullivan, Katrina Wyld, Nicole Charles, Kellie Hall, Rachel Allen and Cheryl Forbes.