20 November 2017

Seven years of Simon

Interview feature | PPC89 November 2017

Seven years of Simon

After a hugely successful tenure as Chief Executive of the British Pest Control Association, Simon Forrester will be leaving his role with the Association in January of next year.

We thought we’d turn the tables on our departing editor and put him in the interview seat for a change.

What has been your biggest challenge over the last seven years as Chief Executive of BPCA?

I think the biggest difference is the way the industry now sees qualifications and CPD. When I started the general consensus was that being qualified and staying up-to-date was optional. Now, if you aren’t qualified, and cannot demonstrate your professional development, you’re likely to lose work or not get a job in the first place. In the future I believe such people will be excluded from the industry by a combination of client demand and regulation of access to products.

Is there anything that you didn’t quite manage to achieve that feels unfinished?

I’d have liked to have seen through the governance restructure to its completion. We have lots of very committed and passionate people in membership, but currently there aren’t the outlets for them within BPCA. By changing the structure, we can harness that to the benefit of all the Association’s members. I would like to think the Board and staff will carry this action forward without me.

You’ve been the editor and one of the key contributors to PPC for a long time now. Why did you put so much time into producing PPC magazine?

The simple answer is that this is the Association’s ‘shop window’ to members and the wider industry. I wanted to make PPC the must-read publication, and the evidence shows we are definitely getting there.

What are you going to do with seven years’ worth of pest management knowledge now you’re leaving the industry?

Every association job I’ve had, I picked things up that came in handy further down the line. For example one of the first tasks I had when recruited to BPCA was I had to fit out the new Mallard Way offices. I used my experience and contacts from the previous job to get things done on time and under budget – and the offices have lasted pretty well.* I’ve gained enough knowledge at BPCA to understand I’m not a pest controller – that comes with experience on the job, so if faced with a pest problem I will use the BPCA website to find someone good!

(*Simon was Chief Executive at the Association of Interior Specialists, the construction trade body for the fit-out sector.)

Will you be leaving any advice for your successor? If so, can we have a sneak peek?

I think my key advice is trust the team around you, and don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked or slowed down by people who are attempting to put the brakes on our progress. There’s a great momentum to what BPCA is doing, and we (or rather they) must maintain it.

Now that you’re going to be working for the National Association of Jewellers, how will this affect your office secret Santa? Should we be expecting something shiny?

[laughs] The two most popular questions I’ve had since the news was announced have been “do you get a discount?” and “do you get free samples?”, and the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively. Unless Tiffany have started doing rings for a tenner, I wouldn’t get anyone’s hopes up.

We wish Simon all the best with his job. He will be spending his last few months with BPCA locked in a cupboard writing features for PPC and reviewing the staff team’s Christmas lists.

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Source: PPC89