Doug Howick reviews the 2016 FAOPMA conference, complete with dolphin show and flower garlands! 

Wow, there is no doubt at all, the 27th FAOPMA Conference was a complete success! With more than 500 delegates, is it any wonder that AEPMA had to close off registrations because it was sold out? Much of that success was due to all the diligent preparation work carried out by the team at the AEPMA national office, ably backed by the FAOPMA administration. It truly was a packed, informative and entertaining program.

Following registration, the welcome reception (sponsored by Syngenta) was held at Dolphin Beach, with the opportunity to see Sea World’s amazing dolphin show, ‘Affinity’ – an unforgettable experience with one of the world’s most intriguing animals.

The conference got underway the following day and included an outstanding trade show. The exhibition halls were filled with over 40 exhibitors’ stands, providing the latest in products and technologies in pest control and associated pest management fields. In fact, there was simply no room for more exhibits and unfortunately some applications, from those who left it until the last minute to book a stand, had to be declined.

Nick Szymanski from Globe Pest Solutions patrolling the busy exhibition halls

The decision to have the presentation sessions divided into two separate streams, proved to be effective. Held in distinctly different locations, both streams were strongly supported and as their management by chairmen Craig Hickey and Doug Howick was timely, movement from one stream to the other was efficient.

Highlights included focussed presentations on termites and termite control, with such high profile experts as Dr Charunee Vongkaluang from the Royal Forest Department in Bangkok (Thailand), given during a working breakfast (sponsored by Sherwood Chemicals); Dr Theo Evans from the University of Western Australia in Perth and our ubiquitous isopteran expert, Dr Don Ewart from Melbourne. The information provided by Steve Broadbent on rodent management at the other working breakfast (sponsored by Ensystex) was also well received.

With the emerging threat of the Zika virus, Dr Stephen Doggett presented on the latest in ‘Mosquitoes and mosquito-borne threats’. His colleague, PhD candidate David Lilly, explained the ‘thick and thin’ of insecticide resistance to bed bugs.

Delegates enjoyed an outstanding presentation by Shane Clarke on his techniques for training dogs to find any pest at all, including termites and bed bugs, and Peter McCarthy excelled with his discourse on ‘Bird management – the big end of town’.

The gala dinner (sponsored by BASF) promised to be a spectacular night and an event not to be missed. It was a true promise! Always a popular event, AEPMA had gone the extra mile for a truly memorable evening, holding the dinner at McLaren’s Landing on South Stradbroke Island. However, on perhaps the one occasion when it should not have rained, it did – and it certainly did!

Doug Howick (centre) enjoying the conference dinner

Luxury catamarans transported guests over the stunning, ‘fairly’ calm Broadwater to the island, while delegates enjoyed drinks and watched the sunset. Under flaming torchlight, the night included the much-anticipated announcement of the Australian Pest Manager of the Year awards (sponsored by BASF).

The conference closed with drinks (sponsored by Globe Pest Solutions) and the conference leadership dinner (sponsored by Pelgar).

In summary, as a life member of AEPMA and as the Honorary Advisor for FAOPMA, I was really proud of the professionalism, effectiveness and friendliness of the organisation, and I congratulate them for a splendid conference.

Doug Howick, Honorary Advisor for FAOPMA

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