NWCOA knows that our industry is made up of many talented and professional individuals and businesses that have helped forge, grow and improve the field of wildlife damage management. Each year NWCOA recognizes outstanding individuals and companies that have been nominated by our membership base for their contributions to the industry through the NWCOA Achievement Awards and the NWCOA Business of the Year Awards. This year, at the Wildlife Expo Awards Banquet Charles Holt, NWCOA President, was honored to present awards as follows:
Tim Julien Lifetime Legacy Award – Michael Tucker of BEAST Wildlife Solutions was presented with the Tim Julien Lifetime Legacy. Having Tim’s daughter, Theresa Julien and his two granddaughters, Lillyana and Lejla assist Charles present the award was especially meaningful to Michael. This award recognizes an individual for their influence, ideals and activities throughout their career that have made a lasting, positive affect on the wildlife control industry. As a Founding Charter Member of NWCOA, Michael has truly exhibited the traits defined by this award. He just recently stepped off the NWCOA Governing Board after serving as the Treasurer for the organization for the last five years and in other leadership capacities prior to that. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Trappers Association and the Fish & Wildlife Legislative Alliance. He currently serves on the Boards of the Minnesota Wildlife Control Operators Association and the Commercial Trappers Association of Minnesota. Whether he realizes it or not, Michael has been and continues to be a natural mentor by sharing his trapping and wildlife management skills with countless WCOs over the years.
Educator of the Year – Carla Wagner of Wild Goose Chase was presented with the Educator of the Year Award. Carla has presented at past Wildlife Expos, been involved with creating and presenting the AOTC, Goose Academy and other NWCOA certified courses. Carla is always willing to lend a hand with training and unselfishly shares information, tactics and more with WCOs. The furry, four legged WCOs that normally follow her to every event are an added bonus to have Carla present at NWCOA Trainings!
Volunteer of the Year – Both Keith Markun of BEAST Wildlife Solutions and Chris Sims of Eco Wildlife Solutions, LLC were presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award. These two gentlemen have unselfishly prepared top-notch training sessions for the last two Wildlife Expos that received such rave reviews that we had to bring them back by popular demand! Their sessions on Working at Heights have undoubtedly kept operators from suffering injuries or worse. Both are active on the NWCOA Facebook pages and are always sharing knowledge and experience. Both have been involved in developing curriculum for new industry training, and Keith currently serves as the Western Director on the NWCOA Governing Board.
Business of the Year Awards – this award recognizes two wildlife control businesses annually for their outstanding accomplishments in the industry and their community. A Macro-Business of the Year award is given to a company with six (6) or more employees and more than 51% of business revenue is wildlife control, and a Micro-Business of the Year award is given to companies with five (5) or fewer employees at a single location and more than 51% of business revenue is wildlife control. When selecting a recipient for each award, the company’s staying power and documented consistent growth in sales volume, their unique approach to products and or services, and their impact on their area job market and their community at-large are considered.
This year the Micro-Business of the Year award was presented to The Critter Trapper of Inglewood, California. Owner, Jose Beccera accepted the award that recognized his nearly 10-year old company for their continued growth in servicing large California-based commercial entities and for their community involvement working with UCLA to provide animal samples for zoonotic disease research. Critter Trapper also participates in the Los Angles Green Fair to provide education on environmentally sound methods to solve human-wildlife conflict.
The Macro-Business of the Year Award was presented to Varment Guard Wildlife Services of Columbus, Ohio, a 35-year-old company that focuses on removal and repair excellence. On February 1st, 2018, Varment Guard merged with Plunkett’s. The wildlife department was rebranded as Varment Guard Wildlife Services and the pest department joined Plunkett’s. In the past two years this dynamic company had a 150% increase in employees and realized a 47% production increase from 1.3 million in 2017 to 1.9 million in 2018. Their community involvement includes a partnership with the Columbus Zoo and no charge services when a potentially dangerous wildlife conflict occurs and when immediate response is needed for consumers.
Congratulations to both of these model businesses and to each of our NWCOA Achievement Award recipients.