This week’s interview is short and to the point and has a more commercial feel to it, as Talking Pest Management welcomes Steve Leavitt, Group President at Rollins Inc. based in Atlanta, USA.

As the parent company, Rollins is better known within pest control in the US under its Orkin banner but also has a strong presence in Australia, Singapore, Canada and the UK with franchises elsewhere across the world. Rollins recently made the headlines when it announced the acquisition of Melbourne-based Adams Pest Control in Australia who Steve describes as “a great member to the team.”

Quizzed on the Rollins strategy regarding mergers and acquisitions, Steve explains that “it is not so much where we want to be, but who we want to be with.” Quality is the main metric the organisation seeks, a company regarded as kindred spirits whose culture is allied with their own.

The value of local knowledge, or as Steve describes it “boots on the street”, is stressed. Which companies are good and which are not. A bad player in the industry hurts everyone.

Regarding Covid-19 Steve explains that the commercial side of their business, which makes up the main part outside of the US, was hardest hit. Travel ceased and technology, particularly for communication, had become increasing relied upon. From a personal point of view Steve admits that without personal contact when in discussion with his staff he has had to learn to become a better listener.

Finally, something most of those working within the industry realise, pest control certainly might neither be the sexiest nor the most dynamic industry, but it is a stable and reliable one. “When the economy is hurting we get significantly more applicants to join.”