2014 has been a remarkable year for Laura Simpson. As president of her family’s firm, Dugas Pest Control in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she has consistently demonstrated her dedication to innovation, growth, and achievement. However, this was most certainly recognized when she received one of the four Crown Leadership Awards at the annual PestWorld gathering in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, she was given even further professional praise when also awarded that year’s Women of Excellence Award.
Clearly, receiving international recognition for her work in the pest control industry, and receiving two coveted awards in a single year demonstrate that she is an active member of the community. However, it is not just her long-standing participation and presence that garnered such recognition.
A Unique Story
As a second generation owner of the family business, it might not seem surprising that Laura Simpson has proven herself to be dedicated to pest control. However, her story is a very unique one, and it reveals just why her family business has managed to thrive and grow over the decades.
She remembers being a young girl in school and capturing all kinds of insects to show to her father. He, as a major force in the pest control industry, always had the answers for her and was noted for his entomological expertise. This, however, did not lead her automatically into the family line. Instead, she headed to LSU to master in Accounting and upon graduation began working in the family business purely at an administrative level.
However, she realized that she felt deeply attracted to the technical and business skills needed to move the firm forward, and so she began working alongside her father to master all she needed to know. Their approach to this was unusual, with her father taking a hands off approach and allowing her to find her own answers to certain aspects of the industry.
She didn’t just master the individual needs of the business, though; she consistently participated in industry matters. She has worked with numerous committees including the Professional Women in Pest Management Council, the NPMA Board of Directors, and the Louisiana Pest Management Association among many other industry/community groups.
Because the pest control field is one that is perpetually evolving and changing, it was this approach brought Laura Simpson to where she is today – a recognized leader and major contributor to the entire field of pest control.
Not only has she served as a major force behind the growth of the family firm – currently the largest family owned pest control company in the state (with 8 branches) and roughly 10% growth annually – but has also in those key organizations already mentioned.
Thus, her years of experience in her own firm as well as within the broader industry have created a leader capable of big picture thinking as well as an ability to see all of the essential details.
Leading By Example
Known as a leader with the ability to have a personal vision, Simpson has shown her commitment to both her company’s clients as well as to her 160+ employees. Tirelessly giving of herself towards the betterment of the industry as well as her firm, the industry recognition she received this year is evidence of the work ethics that can be expected from any work with Dugas Pest Control and with Simpson herself.
A recent industry article about Simpson’s achievements noted that the “NPMA Women of Excellence Award recognizes women who advance the pest management industry every day, in every way… individuals demonstrate outstanding leadership and have made notable contributions to the development and growth of the profession, their business, and other women in the industry. ” (PCTOnline, 2014)
Simpson has expressed love of the work, the associations she supports and participates in, and the industry itself. This is clear in her level of commitment for which she has been given such important recognition.