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Field biologists and their operational function by Keiron Mcmyler

Author: Lucy Nixon

My name is Keiron Mcmyler I am the Technical Field and Sales Manager for Terminix UK.

I have worked in the pest control industry for 28 years now as a service technician primarily working for large corporate organisations. During my time in the industry, I have moved through the ranks from operational service and sales, to key account management accompanied by high-level audit and technical inspections.

Throughout my career and up to the present day, I have looked after large businesses ranging from food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, organic farmers and growers and other large-scale businesses such as shopping centres and have always felt comfortable in doing so. My roles you could say, have always been multifunctional rather than one dimensional, in the way that I have operated for the companies I have worked for.

Over the last 25 years and certainly the last 10 years, the pest control industry and its general landscape has changed dramatically, we have seen changes in legislation with the implementation of the (BPR) Biocidal Product Regulations and also CRRU (Campaign For Responsible Rodenticide Use) being implemented. We then started to see the specific narrative of what information and instruction has been included now on biocidal product labels with regard to both rodenticides, insecticides, and their use.

I believe these changes have brought around a shift in mentality and been key in changing the way operational service staff on the ground approach their pest control duties. Our industry is effectively going greener and our ever-growing focus is on the environmental impact of how we go about our business on a day-to-day basis as pest control professionals

It is more important now than ever before for pest control suppliers to have professionally trained staff to cope with the demands of a very busy industry, in which operatives on every level from comms managers to service technicians, to key account managers to field biologists to area managers must know what they are doing technically and physically.

Let’s take field biologists as an example – What do they do and what is their function?

The role of a field biologist primarily is to carry out technical inspections to food manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and any other organisation that requires this level of operative and this level of reporting.  For example, carrying out a thorough inspection then supplying a detailed digital reporting document containing pictures and recommendations, and covering all aspects of the internal and external structure of the clients building(s). Biologists or technical inspectors could also get involved with other contracts such as national accounts, depending on the particular service level agreement within those businesses.

Such sites would be audited generally by BRC (British Retail Consortium) Tesco, Marks and Spencers, AIB (American Institute Of Bakers) and the Soil Association especially any business involved with food or pharmaceutical products.

A field biologist would typically excel in their job with these key points:

1: Have good communication skills this includes both the client and the onsite service technician

2: Understand all aspects of health and safety

3: Have an understanding of all current audit standards

4: Understand the clients business function in regard to their processes

5: Be able to produce trends for both rodent and insect monitoring

6: Be able to supply and deliver an action plan if a bad infestation occurs on site

7: Be comfortable to negotiate and organise any additional sales that would benefit the client to resolve pest issues

8: Give both proactive and reactive advice on all aspects of the pest control service delivery and the clients business

There is no doubt that the role of a technical person (be it a field biologist or technical inspector) is a very important one, as they are always involved with the high profile larger businesses. But should those roles be one dimensional or should they be more multifunctional?

Food for thought…?

This would then mean those operatives carry more responsibility for their respective organisations.

I believe that the future of pest control professionals in the UK and their individual job roles ideally needs revision across the board, and maybe it is time to start upskilling individuals and revising their job titles to be more multifunctional covering service, sales, technical and account management.

We at Terminix UK are a fast-growing business with a different mentality to most other organisations I have come across in regard to how we want to operate, working in conjunction with our professional identity.

The Terminix UK Motto is “We Serve, We Care, We Deliver” but we will also “Dare To Be Different” for both our clients and our employees, as we embrace the everchanging future of the pest control industry.


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