My family and I moved to University place in 1969. Back then, there were relatively few houses and not much commerce. There was one grocery store (Food King), one drug store (Don’s Drugs), and some other scattered shops. There were a few gas stations, one bank, a seven eleven, and Bob’s Burger Inn (which later was rebuilt and became Captain Nemo’s). The other burger joint (The Viking) became the Country Squire (restaurant and lounge). The thing we did have was a lot of woods and nature around us.
As a young boy, I had a lot of friends around the neighborhood. I also had 3 brothers. We would go on day hikes through the woods in search of the perfect place to build a fort. I lived on a dead end, and the next “road” over was a long sandy dirt “road” that was surrounded by woods. There was a swamp at the end of the dirt road. My friends, brothers, and all of the kids from the surrounding neighborhoods were attracted to this area and it supported endless hours, days, and years of entertainment. We rode our dirt bikes down the dirt road (we called it the “straightaway”) and all around the tracks we made. We spent many a day playing baseball on the “straightaway”. It was pretty easy to get enough guys and organize a competitive game. We would occasionally talk an adult into being our umpire. I remember my friend E.J.’s dad used to do it quite a bit. One summer day, while we were playing baseball, Ace Busby, flew his plane over us several times and waved. He seemed to be around a lot that summer. Of course, we did have an airport (Oswald’s Airport). The area it occupied is now businesses and apartments on 27th street.
The “swamp” was a particularly intriguing place where boys could have a lot of fun and also get into a little trouble. We would catch frogs, tadpoles, snakes, and all kinds of bugs. I think this was my introduction to nature and reptiles and bugs.
I started second grade at Narrows View Elementary School when we moved to University Place. In the fifth grade I landed in the classroom of Mr. Michael. Mr. Michael had the reputation of being a strict disciplinarian and had acquired the nickname of “Mr. Mean” (he was quite proud of it). He was also known for teaching WELL BEYOND the fifth grade educational curve. I learned very quickly that this was not going to be an easy year for me in school.
Our homework assignments were expected to be finished completely and correctly. The penmanship was to be neat and spelling correct. Mr. Michael would stand up in the middle of the classroom and grade each student’s assignment individually. If done very well, he would take out his stamp and stamp “Grade Goal” on the sheet. If it was done reasonably well, he would stamp it “Approval”. If it was not done well, he would stamp it “Below Ability” and have some humiliating words for you. If you completely messed it up, he would take his red marker and literally slash and circle all of your “mistakes”. If he really got worked up, he would rip your paper up in front of the class.
About a quarter of the way through the year, I begged my parents for a transfer to another class. They, of course, thought that this type of discipline was exactly what I needed. Slowly, I started to learn that if I put my mind to it I was very capable of writing neat and coming up with answers to my homework assignments. I began to take on assignments and special projects. I started staying after class with a friend of mine to learn about photography and we learned the process of developing photos. We dissected frogs and learned a great deal about them. Mr. Michael showed us a project that he had done a few years prior. It was an animation project that he had help draw and film.
My friend, Larry, and I became very interested and asked Mr. Michael if we could try our hand at drawing some animation about frogs. To our delight, he was all for it! We spent the rest of the year drawing our animated film after school. We must have drawn more than a thousand pictures, all the while learning about frogs. I owe a lot of thanks to Mr. Michael. I ended up getting straight A’s out of the final trimester on my report card. Mind you, we were probably working at a 7th or 8th grade level! I learned a lot about discipline and how to apply myself and take interest in learning.
Mount Rainier for the Youth Conservation Corps
When I was sixteen, I had the privilege to work at Mount Rainier for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). That summer was probably some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. We had a base camp at Longmire on the weekends and on Monday morning, our crew of 6 (plus our crew leader) headed out to the wilderness with 5 days provisions and pup tents on our backs. We learned about conservation of nature while we dug trenches and set drain bars along the trails to keep the soil from eroding the banks and trails. We built bridges, hauled rocks, cut down dead snags, etc. – all in the name of conservation of the mountain and National park. Those days of hiking 6, 7, 8 miles with all of our provisions were just as hard as the work itself. I learned what hard work was all about and the care it took for the animals and the surroundings to be protected and respected. This contributed to my next phase of interest in nature/science/Flora and Fauna.
After graduating high school, I worked at a local gas station for a few years. I moved out of the house and into the Lakes Apartments across the street from Tacoma Community College with my best friend Ty. We had a lot of fun but weren’t really going anywhere with our lives. One day he decided that he was going to join the military. In a few months, he was off to the Air Force (he retired a few years ago after 20 years of service). I had to figure out what in the world I was going to do.
I was artistic and wanted to do something fun. Into cars at the time, I had a vision that I could create beautiful, custom paint jobs for cars and could own a business doing it (owning my own business was always a dream of mine). I decided to go to school and learn auto body repair. I soon discovered working a full-time job on the graveyard shift every night, going to school full time every day, and working on cars was a very difficult schedule to keep.
I persevered through a year and a half of this rigorous schedule until I received my certificate of completion. I began looking for work only to find the industry didn’t have much opportunity and the pay wasn’t great. I was so exhausted and disappointed, I got kind of soured on the whole idea of painting cars and gave up my dream.
My Start in Pest Control
I answered an ad in the paper for a small pest control company looking for a technician. “No experience required.” Hmmm. I liked physical work, I had an interest in bugs and nature and science, I enjoyed the work I had done in landscaping (which had some similarity) and thought this might be my niche. I sent my resume, filled out an application, had an interview, and got the job!
A few months into the job, the guy I was training with suffered a minor back injury playing baseball and I was catapulted into his position. Though still “training” me, he was unable to crawl under houses, which was a big part of the job. At that time, a real estate boom was going on and I was pumping out 4 to 6 inspections each day. Pest inspection work was in high demand and I was performing these inspections at a high level, with very little supervision in a very short period of time.
I also learned about the various pest treatments, performing them on a regular basis. I soon took over the truck my “trainer” had been driving. I felt bad, but this was my chance to create a successful career. It wasn’t long before I was on my own, getting to the office first and being the last one to leave every day. I often worked 10 to 12 hour days but only claimed 8. About 6 years into my position, I met a wonderful and beautiful girl (I later married her). We met at the Roy Rodeo through a mutual friend. In addition to her beauty, Beth was very smart and a great person.
I became the lead technician and remained at my position for 11 years. While I liked my job and wanted to keep doing it, options for moving forward were limited. I kept going back to my dream about owning a business.
The Birth of Lind Pest Control & Inspection Services, Inc.
My wife worked for a grocery distributor in management and we often talked about the challenges and rewards of owning a business. After 11 years of hard work, I decided to leave my position. Together we would build the best pest control business this town had ever seen. With our dedication to learning, hard work, good upbringing, experience, and much more, we have built a wonderful and successful business that we are proud of.
In the early years of our business, we operated out of the basement of our home in North Tacoma. Beth was working a full-time job and I had resigned my position. It was a huge leap of faith. Once our business plan was complete and our system was in place (which took considerable time and planning), we were ready to field and respond to calls. I would answer the phones while Beth continued her management position at her day job. At night, when Beth returned home from work, she would often spend hours typing up daily pest inspections reports (on a typewriter!!) We would also spend hours completing administrative duties, etc. After one year, we became so busy that Beth had to resign her position and devote all of her time to our business. About a year later, we moved into our first commercial office space, purchased another truck and hired our first employee who studied and trained to become a pest control technician.
Beth and I have run LIND PEST CONTROL, INC. for over 21 years now. The satisfaction of running a successful, caring, and supportive company has been a dream come true. That is not to say we haven’t faced our share of challenges, but through perseverance, hard work, and commitment we continue to own and operate our business at a very successful and respectable level and we take great pride in it. We have developed close relationships with many of our employees (past and present) as well as many of our customers (many of whom have become friends). We are proud to be regular contributors to local community events and fundraisers as well as several charitable organizations which include the American Cancer Society, The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, and The United Way (to name a few). Seeing our employees being able to better their lives through their hard work is a very proud and rewarding feeling for us. We have seen them raise their kids, purchase new vehicles, purchase houses, and earn a better life created through the opportunity we have provided and their hard work.
Our continued mission
Our continued mission is to provide our customers with a great experience while taking care of their pest problems at hand. We are proud to continue to help our local economy grow through the provision of top-notch employment opportunities while being caring and supportive members of our community.