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Letter from the President
Dr. James E. Sargent
December 21, 2011

Writing this letter feels like writing a letter to friends and family for the holidays where I say something about the past year and express best wishes for the new year.

First, Pi Chi Omega is in good shape. Membership is steady, right at about 450. New members seem to replace the ones we lose to attrition. Financially the fraternity is sound with the scholarship fund growing nicely each year, thanks to the generosity of many members as well as organizations such as Copesan. Many thanks to one and all! In my first letter I will concentrate on two major topics:

1. Membership retention and inviting potential new members to join.
Our Executive Director and Treasurer, Vern Toblan, has in the past voiced some concern about finances and potential short falls in the operating budget, which had to be covered by taking money out of the Scholarship Fund, causing the growth of that fund to slow down. As you may know, until this year, all scholarships were paid out of the operating budget and not the Scholarship Fund, hence the nice growth of that fund over the past ten years from $40,000 to $157,00 dollars. Unfortunately for the past few years, a number of members neglected to pay their dues which resulted in forfeiture of their membership. After repeated efforts to contact these members failed, the fraternity had no choice but to revoke their membership, in accordance with Pi Chi Omega Bylaws. The current year is no exception. Names of delinquent members will be published, at first internally, to give everyone a chance to contact them and encourage them to stay current with their dues. As of this date, almost 20% of members have not yet paid their dues for the current fiscal year. We must make them aware again that Pi Chi Omega is an honorary, professional fraternity, whose primary purpose is to promote education within the pest management industry.
I mentioned that we are a service fraternity at the membership breakfast meeting during NPMA's PestWorld 2011 in New Orleans. One of the benefits of being a member in good standing is the great feeling you get when you witness the gratitude, excitement and appreciation expressed by our scholarship recipients. If you know any recent recipients of a Pi Chi Omega scholarship, ask them what it meant to them to receive this financial support from us, and if they would be willing to share their thoughts with the membership by writing a small article for a future newsletter. Additional goals of the fraternity include providing cooperation and support to all pest management associations; and to promote the industry's dedication to the public as guardians of public health, property, and the environment. An excellent brochure is available that outlines many of the benefits and goals of the fraternity. If you are not sure you paid your current dues, or have any other questions regarding Pi Chi Omega, I urge you to contact Vern Toblan.

2. Growth of the Fraternity.
The average age of our membership is increasing. Many have already retired from active involvement in the industry. At the same time, there are many well qualified individuals that are not aware of Pi Chi Omega and its purpose. Recently we have been getting more publicity, much of it coming from our trade magazines, which have been very generous with their support. PCT and PMP are alternating printing our newsletter for us, free of charge. Thank you, Dan Moreland and Marty Whitford.
It is up to all of us to become more active in recruiting new members. As an example, there are many interested individuals that have never been asked to join the fraternity. To become a member of Pi Chi Omega, one has to be nominated by two current members. Like me, many of you attend meetings and conferences all over the country. I am asking that you become more active and take some time at these ventures to promote Pi Chi Omega and its goals and purposes to your peers. Nomination forms are available from the Executive Director or can be downloaded from our web page,
A brochure "Pi Chi Omega, the National Professional Pest Management Fraternity" is also available to help you explain what we are all about. These nomination forms must be submitted to the Executive Director 6 weeks prior to either of our two meetings - Purdue in January or Pest-World in October - for processing by the membership committee. The Purdue Pest Management Conference is only a few weeks away. It's important to know that the dates have been changed to January 9th through January 11th (three days instead of five). Pi Chi Omega Functions are listed on page 4 of this newsletter.

As in past years, we hope to have a silent auction again at this meeting. These silent auctions have contributed nicely to our scholarship fund. Should you have anything that you feel would be of interest to attendees of the conference, please bring it to the Pi Chi Omega booth in the exhibit hall. Items such as Gerry Wegner's "Bug Clock", insect photographs, books of interest, or historical gadgets from the past of this industry will be appreciated.

I plan to make at least one request from the membership in each future "Message from the President". I had three requests in this first letter, but they aren't difficult to accomplish. In review:

  1. Pay your dues if you haven't done so already.
  2. Contact one delinquent member to encourage them to pay their dues.
  3. Spend some time thinking about a deserving person to nominate for membership and then sponsor them.

That's all for now.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a better - even fantastic - New Year!

Sincerely, Jim.

Previous Letters from the President of Pi Chi Omega: