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AEPMA’s new President, Vasili Tsoutouras, welcomes the opportunity to help lead the industry in his new role. 

This is my first president’s report and a great honour to follow on from my mentor and great friend David Gay. David’s contribution to the industry is second to none. As former President he steered the industry through tough times into its strongest position ever with a healthy membership base, a suite of Code of Practices (with more to be released in the next twelve months), successful conferences, the development of the new website, a new business management system and the implementation of our association’s internet-based branding activities. Thanks to David we have a higher level of relevance with our international colleagues, especially throughout Asia, and he rejuvenated the Pest Manager of the Year award.

I believe that the industry has nothing but praise for his efforts and thank him for his tenure as a board member, President and friend to us all.

Over the last few weeks the judging for Pest Manager of the Year has been taking place and the quality of nomination, submissions and interviews only increases. Each and every contestant should be nothing but proud of their business. I personally find the judging process inspiring, speaking to driven, successful pest managers, and look forward to the Rapid Solutions Risk Management Conference on the Gold Coast for the announcement of the winners. Interestingly, we also find the process of judging the award identifies the challenges the industry is facing.

By far and away the biggest challenge we face is the training and development of our people. We all seem to grapple with this area, whether it be how to train within our business, the level of training a technician we hire has had, or how a training course can take only seven days to receive a license. We truly need to address this issue as an industry and work hard to find a path that ensures the most important thing in our businesses – that our people get the best start at becoming the best pest managers possible. Training and development will be a big focus for the board over the next few years and we look forward to your input and involvement.

We recently sent out a questionnaire to the membership to get feedback as to where you see the industry is at. Not surprisingly, training was the biggest concern in almost all of the responses. Overall, the feedback was extremely positive but all negative feedback was noted and discussed at the last board meeting. Rest assured that we will endeavour to improve in these areas in the months and years to come. We also asked what you rated as the most important functions the association performed. Representing the industry on the Australian Standards was the most important, followed by the development and management of CoPs.

Currently the revision of the Australian Standards 3660.2 is in its early stages. We will be working hard on the committee to make sure the best possible outcomes for our industry. The most exciting news to share is the speed at which the next two CoPs we will be releasing are progressing. We anticipate that within 12 months we will have a CoP for Termite Control in New Buildings released. There is a first draft that a talented dedicated working party is busily writing and meeting to ensure that the document is released for public comment as soon as possible. Also, a Code of Practice for Termite Control in Existing Buildings is in its early stages.

An independent well-respected author is currently sketching out a draft to take to a soon to be formed working party. It is our intention to fast track the development and completion of this document for release some time in mid to late 2016.

These are exciting times in our industry. We continue to grow not just in size but also in importance to our consumers. We make our cities and towns better places to live and work through protecting homes and businesses from termites to rodents and more. I am proud of what we do and who we are, and can only see greater things for us all. David’s number one lesson for me over the years was that nothing worthwhile is easy; it takes hard work and dedication. We on the board, branches and working parties will do both to ensure the associations continued success and furthering the professionalism of our industry.

Till next time I wish you all the best and trust all is going well within your business.

Vasilli Tsoutouras, President, AEPMA