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Alumni Success Stories:
Gene White 

There is a long history of highly successful alumni associated with the Urban Center and the Department of Entomology at Purdue University.  We aim to highlight these success stories in our e-newsletter as featured Alumni Success Stories.  This month, we are featuring Gene White, M.S., 1996.

What Purdue Means to Me

Gene White, BCE - Global Director of Vector Managemment, Rentokil International

In the winter of 1992, at the age of 33, I made the most important decision of my life. It wasn’t buying stock, changing jobs, or getting married and having children (I already had three daughters, the oldest was 4 years of age). The important decision was my commitment to an idea. That idea was to improve my understanding of the science of entomology by seeking an advanced degree, and in doing so, improve my career potential.

Being from the Midwest (born and raised in Ohio), the very first university entomology department I thought of was Purdue. Purdue was at the forefront of my thoughts because at almost every pest management conference or state association meeting I attended, there was usually someone teaching from Purdue University’s Entomology Urban Center. Not only were these Purdue entomologists experts in their respective fields of science, but anyone who sat and listened to the teachings of John Osmun, Tom Turpin, Gary Bennett, Arwin Provonsha, or John MacDonald could hear the passion they shared for their profession. These one-on-one experiences hooked me on my own idea, and I knew that Purdue was where I wanted to learn entomology and help accelerate my career.

In retrospect, l knew this path wouldn’t be easy for several reasons: 1) While I had completed my B.S. in biology, I had scored very inconsistent grades, 2) I was supporting a young family of 5 which presented financial challenges, and 3) I was also battling my own lack of confidence.  I knew it would be essential for me to continue building on my foundation of a good attitude, increase my knowledge level, and the development of skills to strengthen confidence in myself. The experience as a corporate educator and trainer in the pest management industry had helped to build teaching confidence, but knew I still had more to achieve. I was certain Purdue and the Department of Entomology was the answer.

Upon arriving in West Lafayette, a host of faculty and students came to my rescue in helping me move into town. My co-advisors Gary Bennett and Tim Gibb, as well as Wayne Buhler, Bobby Corrigan, and several students pitched in and strained a few muscles on a Saturday to get us moved in. This set the stage for the next three years. I felt like I was part of a team.

To start, the department admitted me on a temporary basis as a “non-degree seeking post baccalaureate” student. I used to joke about what a mouthful of title it was, and not where I wanted to be as an unofficial student.  I took that opportunity with my foot in the door to prove that I could make the grade. However, to qualify as an official graduate student, the graduate committee required me to take three graduate courses of their choosing and have a 4.0 grade average for admission. With the department’s challenge delivered, everything was on the line for me.

I successfully completed my trial semester course work fulfilling the requirements, and was admitted to the department as an official Purdue graduate student! My advisors (Tim Gibb and Gary Bennett), promptly placed me in the turfgrass program, which I resisted at first. As I explained to Gary Bennett, “I have 12 years of experience in structural pest management,” and he said to me; “that’s why I’m not putting you there!” He explained that I needed to understand other disciplines related to, and that surround structural pest management. I conceded to Gary’s advice and accepted my fate.

When I first met the turfgrass entomology team, I found they were phenomenal people. It didn’t take long before I found out that I really enjoyed the turfgrass discipline, and it was great working with the new team from a different perspective.
Entomology Softball Team. Gene - back row, second from right.
Doing well in class and helping other graduate students with projects were fun learning experiences. While I was there to take classes and work on projects, the turf entomology crew never missed a chance to have some fun. Christmas parties, complete with sliding down the fire escape silos, summer picnics, fireworks gatherings at Linda Mason’s house, field crop harvests (free graduate student food!), and three summer softball championships were some of the highlights.

In December of 1996, I graduated with my M.S. degree, and while I wanted to stay for a PhD in Adult Education, my children were in demand of additional resources. Therefore, I chose to go back to industry, and to the same company I came from, Rose Pest Solutions in Troy, MI. The added knowledge and skills I had gained at Purdue enriched my teaching ability and I passed hundreds, if not well over a thousand employees through training courses I developed.
2016 Purdue Pest Management Conference. L-R: Tim Gibb, Tom Turpin, Gene White.
In 2013, I was asked to join the Rentokil North American team as the Central Market’s Technical Director which included Canada and Mexico. This was a busy time since this market segment was the strongest in the company. In 2015, a promotion to Technical Director of North America with a technical team of 27 happened.

In 2018, the company was expanding its reach into the mosquito and vector management global markets. I was asked to guide that program as the Global Director of Vector Management, the position I still hold today.

Another highlight of my post-graduate time working with Purdue Entomology was serving on the Entomology Development Council as chair of our committee. During my tenure we worked as a team with department head Steve Yaninek, to oversee the Centennial Celebration and other projects that enhanced the entomology experience. Our committee was one of the first to hear Tom Turpin’s proposal (what sounded at first like a crazy idea) for the development of a statue entitled “The Entomologist.” After hearing Tom’s idea, the whole committee agreed that it should be done! The now famous statue sits proudly on campus, and still gives me chills when I think about its inauguration day.

In 2019, PCT Magazine presented me with the Crown Leadership Award for excellence of service to our industry. While personally, it was a really great and humbling moment for me. My greater reward though, came from the children at “bug” related events who smiled and said they “loved bugs and the bug show,” from students who wrote evaluations and said “thanks for teaching me this, it helped me on my job today,” and from the conference attendee that said they “got more than just certification credits from my presentation.”

So, when someone asks me what Purdue means to me… The easy answer is everything; Purdue built on my foundation, strengthened my relationships, and added credibility and confidence to do things and go places that were only dreams of my past. Purdue entomology provided to me the opportunity of a better future.
L-R: Jim Sargent, Tim Gibb, George Saxton, Sandy Stephens-Reeves & Gene White
Gene White has been a frequent speaker at the annual Purdue Pest Management Conference. Pictured here, he recieved his 25 years anniversary award certificate in 2013. Not only has he been regularly featured as one of the conference's most popular speakers, he also served as the graduate student assistant to the conference during his years in the Urban Center.
Thank you Gene for all you have contributed over the years!

Career Opportunities: American Pest is looking to add a QC Specialist to their team

If you're looking to take on a new challenge while making a difference in the health and well-being of your community, American Pest might be the place for you! Ensuring the quality of our technicians’ work is of paramount importance, and that's where you'd come in as a QC Specialist - supporting our technicians in Government, Commercial, and Residential accounts.

We offer a stable career opportunity that provides flexibility, a fast-paced working environment, freedom to work in the field, and the ability to help others. We offer competitive earnings, paid training, and the opportunity for a long-term career.
We are also offering a retention bonus of up to $3,000 (based on experience) paid throughout the first year of employment!
If that sounds like a good fit for you, let's talk!
American Pest is proud to offer our employees a host of outstanding benefits!
What You'll Get... We want to help our employees build not just a great career, but a great future. When you put your skills to work with American Pest, you'll have access to these great benefits!
Health and Well-being:
  • Cigna medical insurance plan options to fit your individual needs including EPO & PPO
  • Prescription drug program
  • Dental & Vision plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for medical and childcare expenses
  • Health Savings Plans (HSA) available with qualified plans for medical expenses
  • Free local gym membership
Financial Security:
  • Competitive compensation
  • 401(k) Savings Plans (Traditional & Roth)
  • Life insurance, 100% company paid (with options to buy up)
  • Long and short-term disability, Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity insurance options
Work/Life Balance:
  • Full time, year-round employment
  • 30-Day paid training and in-depth orientation
  • A highly experienced team of professionals to work with including several PhD Entomologists, Board Certified Entomologists, and Associate Certified Entomologists
  • A take home company vehicle for field positions
  • Paid time off including eight paid holidays, including your Birthday!
  • A peer-to-peer employee recognition program
  • Prizes, giveaways, and advancement opportunities
What You'll Do... As a Quality Control Specialist with American Pest, you'd be responsible for evaluating the performance of our Service Technicians in the field, auditing their day-to-day completed service tickets, and contributing to their training and professional development. Additionally, you'd provide safe and effective pest management solutions to evaluate new and existing customers' needs, maximize required performance for SQF audits for food processing and handling facilities, keep records of quality control audits for government and commercial third party audited accounts, and submit reports to management as required. The bottom line is you would help ensure the delivery to stellar customer service to our customers.
Who You Are... So, what does it take to be a successful QC Specialist at American Pest? For starters, you'll have a minimum of 3 years' experience as a pest control technician. You'll also have...
  • Current and valid state issued pest control registrations/licenses/certifications
  • A four-year life sciences or entomology degree or graduate degree from an accredited college or university (preferred)
  • The ability to complete required NPMA Pest Management Standards for Food Processing & Handling Facilities
  • The ability to safely move about customer locations, ascend/descend stairs and ladders to service out of the way areas, and position self to conduct service under/around furniture, equipment, and tight spaces
  • The ability to safely move items and equipment weighing up to 50 pounds
  • The ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Technical proficiency with computers, smart phones, PestPac, etc.
  • A valid driver's license with an acceptable driving record
  • The ability to read, write, speak, and comprehend English
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Solid attention to detail and experience with following Commercial Service Protocols
  • Legal eligibility to work in the U.S.
  • Availability to work a flexible schedule (between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. with occasional exceptions)
  • Availability to work some weekends and evenings for on-call support - schedule can be flexible to work remotely for administrative tasks and/or travel long distances to meet with clients within our service area
Who We Are... Founded in 1925, American Pest is a fun and energetic mid-size company located in the newly-developed community of Maple Lawn, in Fulton, Maryland (Howard County). We are a great company with a modern, attractive office with access to the latest technology. Within the last four years, we've nearly tripled in size and currently employ over 400 employees with several remote workers from Tampa, Florida to Chicago, IL! Being part of American Pest means doing your best, every single day, to effect positive change for our customer and our community.
American Pest is part of Anticimex, a global pest control organization with a mission of being the leader in modern pest management. Our company culture embraces communication and teamwork, dependability, innovation, growth, technology, and integrity as we strive to become the global leader in pest control.
Our Hiring Process... Knowing what to expect when job hunting is always a welcome relief. Our process for this position includes the following steps:
  1. Application submission
  2. Complete pre-employment assessments and a phone interview
  3. Schedule an interview and complete our applicant survey
  4. Interview in person at one of our three office locations in Fulton MD, Fairfax VA, Richmond VA, or Charlottesville VA (travel expenses covered for applicants outside our metro area)
  5. Emailed offer letter, which is contingent on steps 6 and 7, tentative start date set
  6. Criminal background check and drug screening
  7. Reference checks
  8. Official start date confirmed
  9. Welcome!
Upon successful completion of training, pest technicians will receive their own company vehicle with gas card for all work-related driving. Technicians will also be scheduled routes in accordance with their location of residence to reduce drive time and be as efficient as possible. American Pest is a virtually paperless company - our technicians do not need to constantly drive to and from the office.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC
American Pest is a Drug-Free Workplace

Purdue Pest Managment Conference
Upcoming Dates:

January 11 - 13, 2023

January 8 - 10, 2024

January 13 - 15, 2025

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Holly Fletcher-Timmons
Newsletter Editor

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