Prince of pest management

By Riverine Herald

THEY’VE been helping residents with their creepy-crawlies for seven years and this year they’ve been crowned the best at it.

Riverside Pest Management has been announced as the 2018 Australian Pest Manager of the Year.

Business owners Steve and Jess Butcher received the accolade at the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association conference at the The Star casino on the Gold Coast in September.

But the Deniliquin business — which operates in Echuca-Moama four days a week — is no stranger to the limelight, as they were a finalist last year.

They were declared a winner of the micro business category — for all businesses with fewer than three technicians.

The award is judged by a panel of experts in key areas of business professionalism being leadership, staff development, marketing, customer service and technical expertise.

Steve said he could see there was a hole in the local market and had the ability to enter it, and as a result of the award they were sharing their expertise.

“Winning the title has allowed us to network with others in the industry, we were invited to the inaugural leadership dinner where Jess was asked to speak in an interview panel with the winners of the other three categories,” Steve said.

“She discussed what set us apart from the competitors in our categories and how we’ve managed our business growth of 132 per cent.”

One — or two — of their secret weapons to winning the category are Ben and Alaska, their two termite-sniffing dogs.

Yes, dogs, to find termites.

Ben, a working Cocker Spaniel and Alaska, a working Cocker Spaniel cross Koolie.

Ben was fully trained when he joined the business in August 2016 and Alaska arrived as an eight week old pup in December 2016.

Steve and Jess trained her with support from Shane Clarke, someone who Steve said was an industry leader in termite detection dog breeding.

“The dogs are autonomous and pick up even the smallest amount of termite odour — whether it’s current activity or has occurred years prior,” Steve said.

“The rest of our team includes myself and Casey, who are both licensed technicians in both New South Wales and Victoria.”