Continuing our review of the 2015 winners of the Pest Manager of the Year awards, we highlight Victoria’s Pest Manager of the Year, Exopest, and the Pest Manager of the Year from South Australia, Southern Suburbs Pest Control.
Simon Dixon (pictured above) runs Exopest, a Melbourne-based pest management company with around 30 employees.
Mr Dixon found himself and his company at the centre of a mini-media frenzy at the end of the 2015 season, when Melbourne seemingly suffered a wasp invasion. Located not far from several of the cities television studio’s, Mr Dixon was used to providing information to the media on pests, but this was on a different level.
“I had a call early in the morning from a radio station and provided an interview. By quarter past nine that morning we had three TV stations at our front door and the ABC radio website got 45,000 hits in under an hour!”
Not new to the Pest Manager of the Year competition, having been awarded National Pest Manager of the Year in 2010 and Victorian Pest Manager of the Year in 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2013, Mr Dixon can attest to the value of positive media attention.
“It was huge, you can’t beat it, you can’t pay for it, you can’t plan it – it just happened. The phones went ballistic, people emailed, went on Facebook, we had a fantastic profile. Of course, we linked the media stories on our Facebook page and the content just went viral, it was brilliant.”
The excitement of awards and media aside, how does a mature business of some 30 years maintain its motivation to keep performing at the top?
“That’s a really good question. One thing that’s motivated me is the trust in people, the confidence that there are good staff out there, although sometimes difficult to find. We had one case recently, where I took a young man off the streets – literally, and he’s turned out to be an excellent service tech. That keeps me inspired, he hadn’t had an interview in six years and we just took him on and here he is, thriving. The other perspective is from a customer, some of them say thank you and some are very appreciative – that just keeps me going.”
Southern Suburbs Pest Control – South Australia Pest Manager of the Year
Southern Suburbs Pest Control from Seaford in Adelaide is one of the smaller pest management businesses to win an award in 2015.
Having worked mostly in the meat industry for many years in Britain, when Gordon Morrison emigrated to Australia, he barely knew what a termite was.
“We went to purchase a house and when we went to sign for it, the guy told me that we had termites, so I walked away from the house. From that point on I became really curious about what termites were up to. So I went to work for a pest control company in Adelaide and then went on to open my own company in 2010.
“It was in the midst of a really serious recession and we came through it on top and have been doing well ever since.”
In fact, Mr Morrison has been delighted his business has been doing so well – he was able to take on a trainee, which is a big step for any new business.
“I met Tim a few years ago, he came across as a very polite young man and when the time was right to look for staff, Tim was the first on my list.”
So what does the future hold for Southern Suburbs Pest Control?
“Well the next plan is to open some office space – our search is ongoing within the local area. Hopefully get someone else on board within the next year. It’s important to me that we keep our local brand, in the local area.”
And what has winning the award meant for Mr Morrison and his family?
“Well it has been a great boost for me, because it’s not easy coming to a new country and starting all over again. Winning this award has been the best thing that has happened to us since moving to South Australia. We didn’t know what
to expect, so what we’ve achieved and created with the business is outstanding.
“We work 12 hours a day and on Sundays, and it has been nice, for a small business, to be recognised as having achieved something so valued as the Pest Manager of the Year award.”