As the winner of the 2014 Crown Leadership Award, Laura Simpson exemplifies the ideals of thoughtful and strong leadership. And yet there is so much more to know about her than the simple fact that she is a leader recognized by her entire industry.
What industry does she work in? She’s in the pest control industry and her recognition at this international conference confirms that she is a model of success. Many, however, would be surprised to discover the path she followed to her current status, and it is a very interesting tale.
A Family Business
Companies that are “family owned and operated” tend to have very clear missions and visions. Passed on over the course of generations, however, such firms can be at risk for becoming stagnant when one generation insists on company operations remaining the same. While this method can allow for success over the long term, there are some industries in which growth and change must occur. The pest control industry is one of them.
With constant innovations, updates in laws and regulations, and emerging technologies appearing, it is imperative that any pest control firm remain in touch with new solutions both technical and relating directly to their business. Perhaps this is why Laura Simpson has been such a success.
The daughter of Doug MacPherson, who purchased the family firm Dugas Pest Control in 1973, she never assumed that she would just take over the family business. Instead, she headed to LSU for a degree in accounting. Upon graduating, she returned to the family firm and began helping with payroll and other accounting related tasks. However, she soon realized she had a natural inclination and interest in company leadership, and her father agreed.
Rather than taking her entirely under his wing and insisting that she do everything his way though, he used a “hands off” method that allowed Simpson to slowly master the different tasks she would need to emerge as a successful leader.
As she said in a recent interview: “We just did a few steps at a time, so I would learn how the process worked…He let me run with it. He was very good about letting me do what I thought was best.” (PCT Magazine, 2014)
Together, the father and daughter team were able to create an effective and smooth transition. Their Louisiana based firm was able to remain up to date technically and professionally, and yet Simpson was also able to soon take the reins and allow her father to step away from day to day leadership.
This sort of professional flexibility has allowed her to continually emerge as a leader in the entire industry. With her father’s encouragement, Simpson went beyond company leadership and began exploring opportunities at the state and national level.
She participated in conferences and associations and has served in a long list of leadership roles – including as the President of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) during a very uncertain period (earning her the nickname as the “Iron Lady” for her steadiness and successful guidance), the president of the Louisiana Pest Management Association, and many others.
Leading by Example
Though given room to grow into her own person, Simpson credits the method her father used of leading by example: “I learned from dad to see the big picture. He was good at both the big picture and the details.”
Seeing the big picture as well as the many details of the pest control industry is what keeps Simpson at the top of her game, and a major force in the entire industry. This was proven true when she was recognized at the 2014 gathering of pest control professionals known as PestWorld.
Here, enormous amounts of information are presented by companies operating in, or supporting, the entire pest control industry. During each annual meeting, however, participants pause to acknowledge “professionals who tirelessly give of themselves for the betterment of their organizations and communities,” said PCT Publisher Dan Morelan. (PestWeb, 2014)
This year, Laura Simpson was recognized as one of these impressive individuals. Though she knows Dugas Pest Control is still growing, she remains eager to continue to explore the many opportunities, trends, and details that have made the company firm a success and her a model of successful leadership.