Friday, September 21, 2012

New scholarship for urban entomology students

Clayton Wright poses with fellow Purdue University
entomology graduates at the B&G Chemical and Equipment
Co. 50th Anniversary Winter Workshop in Arlington, TX in
January 2000.  Clockwise from lower left, Clayton Wright,
(me) Mike Merchant, Mike Miesch, Professor John Osmun,
and David Fincannon.
One of the founding fathers of the modern pest control industry in Texas was Clayton "Bud" Wright. Wright was the founder of the B&G Chemical and Equipment Co., pest control supply distributor based in Dallas (now part of Target Specialty Products in Texas and Oklahoma).  His contributions to pest control and the business of pesticide formulation and distribution are legendary in Texas. One of the first class of Purdue University graduates in urban entomology in 1950, Wright was one of the earliest distributors of the famed B&G sprayer, an invention of his Purdue classmates and close friends, Bill Brehm and George Gilmore.

Bringing his science background to Texas, Wright began formulating his own pesticides.  Local companies began purchasing his special B&G rodenticide, mixed in his home bathtub before he and his wife Anita could afford to purchase their first electric cement mixer.

Wright was fully committed to helping his fellow pest control operators become better educated about the science and technology of pest control. Wright's company began doing product and equipment testing, and eventually training workshops to show pest control operators how to use the new tools of pest control more effectively. Long before the state of Texas required PMPs to get annual continuing education units, B&G Chemicals and Equipment offered quality educational opportunities for its customers. In addition to mentoring pest control practitioners, Wright also taught university-based entomologists a thing or two.  My first boss, Dr. Phil Hamman, relished his memories of Wright taking him around the state to meet influential PMPs during his early years as an extension entomologist.  I always found Clayton Wright to be generous with his time and a warm supporter of me as a rookie urban entomologist.

Just before his death in 2000, Clayton was inducted into the PMP Hall of Fame, where you can read more about his early years and how he and his family grew their business.

One of my fellow Purdue graduates, David Fincannon, owner of A-All Pest Control in Dallas, says that his company (est. 1963) has benefited greatly over the years from the forward thinking of Bud Wright and the training programs his company offered.  Consequently, he has committed himself to establishing a scholarship fund in the name of Clayton Wright, through the pest control fraternity, Pi Chi Omega.  Pi Chi Omega has offered scholarships to young urban entomology students since 1976 and Fincannon says that the goal for a permanently funded scholarship is $20,000.  According to Fincannon, about 10% of all Pi Chi Omega scholarships offered since 1976 have been awarded to Texas A&M students.

If you agree with the premise that education is the tide that lifts all of us in the pest control field, then consider supporting David in his fund-raising campaign. Checks should be made payable to the Pi Chi Omega (include ESF, Endowed Scholarship Fund, on the memo line) and your letter should indicate that you are donating in the name of Clayton "Bud" Wright. Pi Chi Omega is a 501c(7) non-profit organization.  Checks should be mailed to Mr. Vern E. Toblan, Pi Chi Omega, Endowed Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 8149, Wilmington, DE  19803.  Thanks to David for getting this worthy effort off the ground.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

TDA lowers licensing fees

When was the last time you heard of a government agency lowering license fees? Yet that's exactly what the Texas Department of Agriculture is doing this month.  According to David Kostroun, Chief Administrator for the Agriculture and Consumer Protection section of TDA, not only are some fees being reduced, refund checks are in the mail. Checks will cover the difference between the old and new fees you may have paid between September 2011 and September 2012.

According to Kostroun, recent cost cutting initiatives by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) have made it possible for Commissioner Staples to implement a 20% Structural Pest Control fee reduction.  And this from an agency that took a 45% cut in funding during the past legislative session! Keep in mind, these reductions are for structural pest control licenses, and not the traditional TDA (outdoor) licenses.

The new fees are as follows:

  • $224 for an original business license (formerly $280)
  • $224 for renewal of a business license (formerly $280)
  • $108 for an original certified applicators license (formerly $135)
  • $100 for renewal of a certified applicators license (formerly $125)
  • $81 for an original technician license (formerly $100)
  • $76 for an renewal of a technician license (formerly $95)
  • $48 for anyone wishing to get approval for a continuing education course (formerly $60)

Fees that have not changed include:

  • $30 for duplicate business license, certified applicator license or technician license when the original has been lost or destroyed
  • $30 for reissuing a business license, certified applicators license or technician license due to a name change in the license
  • $75 for administering exams in each category
  • Renewal fee for applications received 90 days or less after expiration date equal to 1-1/2 times the normally required renewal fee
  • Renewal fee for applications received greater than 90 days but less than one year days after expiration date equal to 2 times the normally required renewal fee (No change.)
So, if after this good news you're feeling a little lucky, think about taking that refund check and buy a lottery ticket. Despite the apparent generosity of the refunds, I'm sure the State of Texas would be mighty happy to get your money back.