Yesterday was one of those special days to remember. Al Foster, the owner and manager of All-American Pest Control in Nashville, TN, was surprised to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tennessee Pest Control Association. The current President of TPCA, Andy Yant, nominated Dad, secretly presented his nomination to the Board of Directors for approval, and contacted me to write a bio and present the award. The secret mission was a success… all our family was there and Dad was shocked!! Below is what I read to honor my father, Al Foster, Jr.
July 26, 2012
Written and presented by Erin Richardson
It is with great honor that I, along with the Tennessee Pest Control Association Board of Directors, present a Lifetime Achievement Award to my father, Al Foster Jr.
Dad, you are a role model for our industry and many people look to you for advice and guidance. The way in which you unselfishly give of your time, energy and experience has improved the industry… you have earned this award and we are honored to recognize you and your efforts! Andy and Julie Yant nominated you for this award and secretly presented your nomination to the Board of Directors for vote and approval in the early spring. Thank you, Andy & Julie.
My grandfather, Al Foster Sr, started All-American Pest Control in 1961. As many of you know, my Dad is very practical and makes sound decisions. He knew from a very young age that he wanted to go into business with my grandfather. He’ll tell you… it was small business that intrigued him the most and that pest control specifically seemed to be a great industry to build a business. After graduation from Tennessee Tech in 1975, he started at All-American. Dad says all the time that he loves going to work just as much today as he did over 37 years ago.
Dad, it’s your consistent and sincere passion for your daily work, business and our industry that has improved our companies, our region and state associations, and our industry as a whole. In trying to determine what to share with the group about your contributions… two words became evident in talking with your peers. You live out sharing and service daily.
Your service to our industry has been consistent over the past 37 years. Thank you for your attendance all nearly every meeting, leadership over the years at the regional, state and national level, and your involvement. No matter what was going on in our business at the time, you have found time and energy to contribute to our industry as a whole. When I was in kindergarten, I had a time telling everyone I knew that my Dad was “the President of the bugs” while he served as the President of the Middle Tennessee Pest Control Association. In 1987, he served as the President of Tennessee Pest Control Association (TPCA) and in 2008 he served on the Executive Board for TPCA. Currently, Dad serves on the Board of Directors of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). In addition to these years of leadership and service on various committees, I think we can all agree that one of your most treasured contributions to our state association is how you developed the Lifetime Achievement Award and have chaired the committee since 2006. Your passion for recognizing your fellow peers for their lifetime contributions to the pest control industry is remarkable.
Your service to this industry is obvious and we are all grateful for your contributions… however, it’s how you share your successes and failures with other business owners that I believe has been your greatest contribution. While we all know you love good competition… you never let competition get in the way of helping a fellow pest control operator. Mark Nadolski of Russell’s Pest Control said it best… “When I first met Al in 1999, I found out several things about Al that still remain true today. The main thing is that he is not the least bit shy about sharing his successes and failures and he is very willing to share the path to those successes and failures. When I entered the pest control industry, I had heard that there was a “secrecy” predominant in our industry, but from Al and his friends I have never gotten anything but information and encouragement.”
Dad has held business retreats to encourage learning and sharing within the industry for many years. I can tell you first hand after working alongside him for 9 years that our door has always been open for other business owners to come by and share what’s working in their business and to ask questions. To my knowledge he has never turned anyone away that asked for help. This openness and honestly, I believe has raised the bar for our entire industry, builds better businesses for us all and in the end all of our customers get better services.
The truth of the matter is though… our business, All-American Pest Control, and our employees have benefited the most from this openness and sharing with all of you. Dad will be the first to tell you that he learns more from sharing and getting to know your businesses than he gives. Thanks Dad for all you do for me… and thank you for all that you have contributed to our industry!