More than 370 people attended the Wildlife Expo held at the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes in South Carolina over the first week of February. The Wildlife Expo kicked off with a Welcome Reception in the largest Exhibit Hall to date, with more than 40 vendors ready to share their products, services and wealth of information with attendees. Special thanks to Gold Sponsor Wildlife Control Supplies whose generous support keeps this meeting growing and fresh. We are also grateful to our Silver Sponsors; Tomahawk LiveTrap, Web.com and Wildlife Management by Univar.
The next two days of training featured Key Note speaker, Paul Winkelmann of Advanced Wildlife Control who shared the Top 10 Tips for Running a Successful Wildlife Control Business. Training continued with half a dozen business sessions offered on many topics that help WCOs grow their businesses and services and about a dozen technical courses that provided information that will help attendees perform at the highest level performance when conducting services. Attendees were able to attend a session on “How to Become a NWCOA Certified Wildlife Control Professional”. This revamped, application based certification drew a lot of interest among attendees. If you’d like to learn more visit NWCOA.com and look under the Training tab.
A special After Hours session, Working at Heights, Part 2 was presented late in the afternoon on day one of the Expo. A big shout out to Keith Markun, BEAST Wildlife Solutions and Chris Sims, Eco Wildlife Solutions, LLC for conducting this session. On the afternoon before the Expo started the Advanced Sales and Installation Techniques for RIDGE-GUARD certification was offered free of charge to all NWCOA and NPMA members. This course was so popular that a second session had to be added! A spontaneous, informal round-table and demonstration on air rifles was also conducted by Chris Sims and Dan Glock with American Animal Control.
As always, NWCOA presented several NWCOA Certification courses prior to and immediately following the Wildlife Expo, including the NWCOA Bat Standards Certified (Part I), NWCOA Certified Wildlife Control Operator, NWCOA Advanced Wildlife Control Operator and the new, NWCOA Structural Bird Management course. Many thanks to certification course sponsors Avitrol, Bird Barrier, Batcone, Ridge Guard and The British Rat Trap Co. We were also happy to have Avitrol and Bird Barrier combine their two certification trainings into one training event held prior to the Expo.
As always, the Wildlife Expo ended with the Awards Banquet. This year DJ B, aka Butch Hogarth, laid down some 70’s funk and jams to entertain us throughout the cocktail and dinner hours. Attendees came dressed in their throw-back 70’s flare and a few took to the disco dance floor! The NWCOA Board sold raffle tickets that gave attendees the chance to win great prizes donated by our wonderfully generous vendors. More than $1,500 was raised to support NWCOA Training and Education. Somewhere among all of this we managed to present the NWCOA Achievement Awards and the Business of the Year Awards.
It is safe to say that Wildlife Expo was a resounding success. Members loved the warm temps that soared into the 80s and the ocean front resort made for a nice break from the winter doldrums! Everyone was excited to learn that we will be hitting the city that never sleeps – Vegas, Baby in 2020! Put the dates of February 4-6, 2020 on your calendars now!