Bumpass pest manager receives industry’s highest certification
Jason Ferrell, vice president of Ferrell’s Termite and Pest Control, received the industry’s highest certification.
Jason Ferrell considers himself a bug expert–and he’s got the paperwork to prove it.
The vice president of Ferrell’s Termite & Pest Control, headquartered in Bumpass, recently received Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) credentials from the Entomological Society of America.
The certification makes the 30-year-old a member of an elite group of experts.
“It’s a very prestigious honor,” Ferrell said. “Very few people in the industry have it.”
While the Virginia Pest Management Association includes more than 225 member companies, Ferrell is one of 20 ACE certified pest management professionals in the state.
Chris Stelzig, the society’s director of certification, said that the program– which was started in 2004–is quickly becoming the industry standard for professionalism and training.
“What we do is focus on the intersection of entomology and pest management to ensure that technicians have the knowledge required to treat insects effectively,” he said, adding that while the National Pest Management Association certifies businesses, the society is the only national group that certifies the entomological knowledge of individuals. The society also offers a Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) program which is designed for degreed professionals.
The associate program isn’t an entry-level bug-killing course. Applicants must have the basic pesticide license, a certified pesticide applicator’s license and a minimum of seven years of pest management experience.
And while preparatory materials and courses are available, the training and testing are challenging, even for experienced professionals.
Despite working in the industry since the family business began in 1998, Ferrell failed his first certification attempt.
“I wasn’t the only one,” he said, adding that other test takers with more than 40 years of experience–some of them vice presidents and managers of well-established national companies–also failed the first time.
Ferrell spent a total of eight months preparing for the exams and received the certificate on May 17.
“It’s very rewarding to finally accomplish this,” he said.
While the certification is not required at local, state or national levels, many organizations such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, factories, and food-handling facilities are requiring independent certification, which Ferrell expects will help the family business secure future contracts.
“The industry is changing,” Ferrell said. “This will come into play down the road.”
Ferrell started working for the family business–founded by his father Daniel Ferrell Sr.–as a part-time helper and laborer while attending Piedmont Christian High School. He became a full-time registered technician in 2000 and continued working while attending Piedmont Valley Community College, where he earned a degree in Police Science in 2004.
In 2005, the business incorporated and Ferrell was named vice president.
He “wears many hats” and is well-versed in all aspects of the business, including accounts payable, payroll, tax preparation, sales, service and inspections–he also has a Wood-Destroying Insect Inspector Certification through the Virginia Pest Management Association.
Ferrell Sr. said his son has put a lot of hard work into the business since it was founded, adding that his son’s recent certification was a great achievement.
“We’re very proud of him,” his father said.