Association

25 February 2021

Meet the member: Personal development is more than words

MEET THE MEMBER | PPC102 MARCH 2021

In this article, BPCA’s Communications Officer Kat Shaw speaks to Paul Allman from Problem Solved Pest Control, about personal development and the path to professionalism.

meet-the-member-paul-allman

Like many of us, Paul Allman’s career didn’t start in pest control; leaving school, he became a trainee chef at a seafood restaurant. “Although I’m still not sure why,” he jokes.

“Regardless, I worked my way up the ladder to become a catering manager, looking after eight staff,” says Paul. “What a challenge, no wonder I lost my hair.”

Beyond stuttering

Paul is no stranger to challenges, having had a stammer since he was a young child.

Paul explained: “A stammer is a neurological condition which makes it physically hard to speak. People with a stammer will often repeat syllables or sounds, and it interrupts the flow of your sentence.

“My stammer didn’t start until I was around five years old, when I moved to a new school.”

But with an air of impressive determination, Paul says that he believes his stammer has helped build his character and that it has never held him back. Instead, he strives forward, always trying to develop himself, personally and professionally.

“I did have some struggles with bullies when I was growing up, but I think it just gave me broad shoulders.

“To overcome the issues I was having with speech, I attended the McGuire programme, as used by pop star Gareth Gates who was actually one of my coaches.

“It was a three-day intensive course and the main focus was something called ‘costal breathing’. At the end of the course we all had to go out and speak to one hundred people using our new skills!

“My stammer steadily improved, although I do still get stuck on the odd word.”

New challenges

At work, Paul began to feel like he had reached a crossroads, where the catering was no longer stimulating him, and every day was alike. He needed a new path.

“When the pest control technician arrived at my unit for a routine inspection I would make a beeline for him, asking questions about the industry; what qualifications are needed, what an average day is like and so on.

“He was very gracious and took the time to answer all my questions, talking to me about the other jobs he would go on besides ours.”

Paul continued, “Working in the catering industry gave me a strong background in good housekeeping, hygiene, stock rotation and food safety. So in 2001 I applied for a job as a pest control technician with Cannon Pest Control and here we are now.”

Paul started his own business around nine years ago: Problem Solved Pest Control, which he says has been a fantastic experience.

“The people you meet within the industry have a great passion for pest control, and they’re always willing to take the time to give you advice,” he notes. “BPCA and Killgerm have both been a great inspiration to me with their knowledge and the training courses they run.”

Paul invests heavily in training, as he feels this presents a positive image to potential clients and “assures them of a professional approach to solving their pest problems”.

If the resources are out there for you to expand your knowledge, then use them. You can think that you know everything there is to know about a topic, but you can never learn too much.

Paul Allman, Problem Solved Pest Control

He adds, “I have a great passion for pest control; there is so much to learn, you never stop learning.

“If the resources are out there for you to expand your knowledge, then use them. You can think that you know everything there is to know about a topic, but you can never learn too much.”

Paul is currently studying for his Field Biologist certification with BPCA and says he’s looking forward to taking the exam.

“The Field Biologist Course is definitely the best course I’ve taken so far. The trainer, Paul Westgate, has so much knowledge and enthusiasm, I’ve just learned so much from him. He’s definitely an inspiration.

“I failed the exam the first time around but I’m not giving up – I’m looking to resit later this year.”

In the future, Paul would like to see a registration scheme of some kind, to prevent any unreputable and dangerous ‘cowboy pest control companies’ from operating in the UK.

“Professionalism is really important in this industry. We’re protecting public health and safety on a daily basis, and if you don’t have the tools, and the knowledge, to do that safely, then you have no business doing this job.

“I push myself and challenge myself to learn all the time, and it’s not a chore to do that for something you’re so passionate about.”

Paul is now looking forward to achieving his dream of becoming a Field Biologist and says his enthusiasm for the industry will never die.

“The day I got that call from Cannon Pest Control saying I’d been successful in applying for the job was the best day of my life and I’ve never looked back.”

Paul’s pest control companion

meet-the-member-paul-allman 2

Paul has a four-legged colleague that he often attends calls with: a Bedlington whippet by the name of Hanna.

“Hanna has been working with me now since she was a pup. She’s eight years old and she sits at the door waiting for me every morning, ready to start a day’s work.

“She’s very popular with our clients, just a lovely natured dog.

“I attended an urgent call out to a rather distressed lady last year, who believed there was a rat in her house.

“With her permission I took Hanna along and as soon as we arrived at the premises Hanna started working.

“We checked multiple rooms with no rat activity, but as soon as Hanna went upstairs to the main bedroom, she sat outside the wardrobe, barking. The client asked what Hanna was doing, and I said ‘she’s telling me the rat is inside there’.

“I removed all the clothing, piece by piece, and when I grabbed the last item of clothing, the rat ran from the wardrobe and straight to Hanna. We checked the bottom of the wardrobe, and it was full of chocolate bars that had gnaw marks on them!

“The ingress point was found on the external wall where a builder had not sealed a hole in the brickwork. Job complete thanks to some great teamwork. Hanna has helped me solve many pest control problems; she’s a great colleague to have with you.”

CHAT WITH KAT

Interested in sharing your passion with the pest management community? Set up an interview with Kat today, and you could appear here in the next issue.

hello@bpca.org.uk

Source: Online

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