As the daughter of EPM’s owners, Jason and Karen Carpenter, I’ve grown up in the pest management business. I spend summers interning in my parents’ office, performing all kinds of tasks like updating the CRM, processing credit card and ACH payments, and uploading client invoices.
Over the years, I’ve watched my mom go to great lengths to make sure EPM’s employees and clients are satisfied, happy, and well taken care of. Even though I’ve grown up in this business, I never truly understood what it is that EPM – and our amazing technicians – do on a day-to-day basis.
This year, my summer internship included spending a day with one of EPM’s senior certified pest management technicians, Mike England, experiencing firsthand what it’s like to do the important work we actually do. Mike is a great guy who loves his job, so he was ideal for overseeing my first day in the field.
My day started by meeting Mike at the office, looking over the scheduled route for the day, and getting our truck ready with all the right chemicals and equipment. I learned we were going to treat several units in two different apartment complexes: flea treatments in two units at one complex, and follow-up cockroach treatments in several units at the other.
First Up, Fleas
When we arrived at the first apartment of the day, the resident was still there and not quite ready for us to come in. Mike told her we would come back in a little bit, to give her some extra time. He explained to me that this happens sometimes – that for whatever reason a resident hadn’t prepared their home or arranged to be elsewhere at their scheduled time.
He explained to me that ultimately, it’s EPM’s – and therefore his, and now my – responsibility to solve the pest problem. So, we’re happy to work with the resident to make sure we do an effective job for them. That sometimes means helping them clean up or move some furniture or giving them a little extra time to leave the unit. We need to be flexible.
When we finally got to the flea treatment, we first used a special vacuum that creates vibrations that bring the fleas to the surface. Those vibrations allow us to vacuum any dead ones, while bringing live ones to the surface. This method uses fewer chemicals while still being super effective at killing them. I thought that was great!
On to the Roaches
Next, we went to a different property with a serious cockroach infestation. Mike explained that not all infestations, especially for cockroaches, can be taken care of with just one treatment. So, we were going to go back to some previously treated apartments to take care of any new roaches that had since hatched or were missed during the last treatment.
I also learned that in apartment buildings, cockroaches can easily infest neighboring units because they travel through the walls and ceilings that connect the apartments.So, we were also going to inspect many of the nearby apartments to make sure there was no evidence of cockroach activity.
Because Mike is a trainer with a special license, he was able to let me help with the treatment. We made a great team, one of us looking for cockroaches while the other applied the chemicals.
How Far We’ve Come
All in all, it was a long, dirty, interesting day. As we went from apartment to apartment, I got a glimpse into other people’s lives. We saw cribs, toys, and drawings on refrigerators, so I knew that many of the apartments we treated were home to kids. I loved knowing that the work we were doing was going to make those kids’ lives at home healthier and more comfortable. And it was eye opening to see how hard our technicians work.
When I got home and cleaned up, I started thinking about what EPM was like 10 years ago, when I was just a kid myself. Back then, the office was located in our basement, and I would get to know the handful of technicians we had working for us when they would report to work in the mornings. Many of them are still here, like Kyle Philips.
We’re much bigger now than we were then. EPM no longer operates out of our basement, and we have so many technicians now that I don’t know all of them. But that makes me so happy because I know that the more technicians like Mike and Kyle that EPM has out there, the more EPM is having a positive impact on people’s lives.