Mark Beavers, Managing Director of Technical Services for Rollins, Inc. is a global public health and pest management professional. Also a retired U.S. Navy Captain, Mark served for 30 years as an Entomologist and is one of America’s finest. As the Memorial Day Holiday weekend approaches, Pest Control Insulation sat down with Mark to learn more about his distinguished career and how it prepared him for his current role with Rollins, Inc..
PCI: What was your catalyst for enlisting in the U.S. Navy?
Beavers: At the time I received my commission as an officer, I was a biological technician working in a state agricultural research facility in Florida. I was looking for a change. My goal at that time was simply to try something different. After my 3-year “hitch” was up, my options were to get out and perhaps go back to school for my doctoral degree. I did not intend at that time to make a career in the Navy.
PCI: What advice would you offer someone considering serving our country today?
Beavers: There are many noble callings. I strongly believe stepping forward to voluntarily serve and defend our U.S. Constitution, one’s fellow citizens, and our precious way of life is one of the most noble. Whether it’s for three years or thirty, the military is a great way to gain unique experiences and confidence in one’s self and abilities as well as acquiring strong leadership and management skills that will be of benefit no matter what career one may choose to pursue.
PCI: Please share your favorite military appointment and why it stand out?
Beavers: This one is difficult to answer. While some tours of duty were much harder and stressful than others, I can honestly say I enjoyed them all. If I had to pick just one though, it would be my tour in San Diego, CA. Here I was, a young naval officer, and I was immediately and warmly welcomed onto a world-class team consisting of extremely smart, dedicated, but also fun-loving group of “salty” – that’s Navy slang for well-experienced – medical and health professionals. Our team was driven by one goal: Work side-by-side with sailors, marines, and special operations personnel to help ensure that each individual came home safe and sound from their assignments around the globe. I also met and married Carol, my beautiful bride of 28 years, in San Diego which helps that particular appointment stand out among the rest.
PCI: How did your military experience prepare you for your role as Managing Director of Technical Services with Rollins?
Beavers: The military taught me so much including: 1) integrity 2) how to communicate to others and more importantly listen 3) there is always more than one path to a goal 4) to seek input from others, be it seniors, peers, or juniors 5) when something needs to be said, say it but be courteous and respectful and 6) knowing the difference between leadership and management as you lead people and manage things. Finally, and what it always comes back to is take care of your people. Ensure that they have the right equipment, training, and mindset to accomplish the mission at hand and, even more importantly, demonstrate by your actions and deeds that you care about them.
PCI: As Americans, we trust our military to protect and defend our freedoms. As consumers, we trust our pest control companies to protect our homes and our health. What can be done to build upon that trust?
Beavers: Our industry’s success is built on the relationships we establish with our customers. The type of relationships that benefit all parties the most are those that are based on mutual trust and respect. Such trust and respect is built on a foundation of open, frequent, and honest two-way communication. Pest management professionals understand the importance of treating their colleagues and customers as an equal partner carrying through on promises made.
I think everyone would agree that taking time to listen to our customers is a skill which we are always working to improve. Listening helps us to know and understand customer needs and leads to solutions that best solve the pest problem at hand. Always giving customers our 100% undivided attention and delivering on what is promised are the two keys to this industry’s success.
PCI: What do you feel is the greatest strength of the pest management industry today?
Beavers: I think the greatest strength of our industry is the same as it is for the military: our people. Like the military, those in the pest management industry have consciously chosen to serve and protect others. What I mean by this is that the men and women in this industry are focused on protecting human health as well as probably the most important material possession of our customers – their home and/or business. We are people serving people.
PCI: Please share anything you would like our readers to know or understand about the privilege of serving our country.
Beavers: When people I run into discover I was in the Navy, a number of them stop and say, “Thank you for your service.” Every time I hear those words leave a person’s lips, the same questions immediately fly through my mind:
“Are you thanking just me?” For in fact, my wife and family sacrificed more for their country than I did.
“Are you also thanking all of those that came before me, especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice?” Perhaps they are expressing gratitude to those that are serving now and maybe even those that will serve.
I then do what I always do after such reflection: I offer a friendly smile, look them in the eye and simply reply: “Thank you. It was an honor to serve.”
PCI: Thank you Mark for you and your family’s service to our country as well as your contributions and commitment to the pest control industry.
Mark Beavers holds a PhD from the University of Kentucky and has a long and distinguished military career in which he provided entomological and preventive medicine support to the Navy and Marine Corps’ shore stations and naval vessels, served as Malaria Control Officer in the Philippines, served as a research scientist in Cairo, Egypt studying emerging diseases such as leishmaniasis and Rift Valley fever, and led the preventive medicine unit specializing in medical entomology that assessed and minimized arthropod-borne disease risk to U.S. military personnel. Mark also served as a senior leader at the Navy’s aerospace medicine research laboratory and program manager for the U.S. Military Infectious Diseases Research Program where he led a team to develop novel vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, pesticides, and other tools to reduce the impact of debilitating infectious diseases on U.S. forces deployed around the world. Prior to joining Rollins, Mark was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (OASD (EI&E)) and served as the principal staff officer and advisor to the OASD (EI&E).