At the 2019 Pi Chi Omega membership meeting in San Diego, a question was raised about how we could expand our reach and support more students. The answer was simple, we’d need to raise more funds. Without a second thought, immediately after that meeting a Pi Chi Omega member who wanted to remain anonymous at that time, made a $20,000 donation in Norm Ehmann’s name.
That first donation allowed Pi Chi Omega to increase the number of annual scholarships we award from 4 to 5 for the next 10 years. In 2020, Rajani Sapkota, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Entomology at Purdue University, was the first student to benefit from this newly created scholarship.
Two years later, that same generous donor has recently made an additional $30,000 contribution that will allow Pi Chi Omega to solidify the Norm Ehmann Scholarship as a perpetual scholarship. The donor has allowed us to share his identity, if we promise to keep the focus of his gift on Norm, who he said, “had a real passion for Pi Chi Omega and it is not before time that he should be recognized with a scholarship in his name.” We are so very grateful to share that John Adams, formerly the owner Adams Pest Control Pty Ltd in South Melbourne, Australia, is the man behind these two significant donations.
Now retired, John originally joined Pi Chi Omega in 1997 at the invitation of Norm Ehmann. Although living in the “land down under”, John always made it a point to seek out Pi Chi Omega over his 24 years of membership whenever attending NPMA Conferences. In an interview at one of those conferences, John agreed with Kim Kelley-Tunis’ remarks, that ” Pi Chi Omega can be a gateway for careers and networking with great people.” He was especially moved by the impact the fraternity made on the Industry by funding students, whose research and knowledge of entomology expands the ability of our Industry to manage pest insects.
Still, today John’s focus is on the students and he is always eager to learn who has received the Norm Ehmann scholarship and what that student is studying and researching. This year, we were please to let him know that the student who received the scholarship in Norm’s name was Christopher Hayes who started working as a pest control technician in 2017 and is now a Ph.D. student under the mentorship of Dr. Coby Schal at North Carolina State University. Christopher was inspired to pursue a degree in entomology after realizing that his ability to solve his customer’s pest issues hinged on his own understanding of insect behavior and ecology.
It is just this kind of spark and enthusiasm that Christopher portrays that Norm inspired in PMPs during his 50-year career in the pest control industry. Ehmann achieved business success at VW&R, but he also had an industry-wide impact through his efforts to raise the industry’s level of professionalism through education and training. Ehmann developed a system of educational seminars to train the pest control industry, creating more than 8,000 insect slides and specimens in the process. Shortly before he died, Norm’s book “Adventures Through the World of Entomology” was published. He described it as a chronicle of “his 50 years observing urban pests”.
Dr. John Osmun, former head of the Department of Entomology at Purdue University, and another Industry giant who also has a perpetual Pi Chi Omega scholarship in his name, recognized that, “Norm had a great appreciation for professional quality and he advocated that strongly in the pest control industry. He’s a man who had a lot of drive and strong goals for the industry and he was able to convince others to work for these goals. He was a great contributor to the industry.” John Adams’ contribution, now totaling $50,000, allows us to remember Norm’s impact, drive and commitment to our Industry. It couldn’t be more fitting that moving forward, one deserving student each year will receive the Norm Ehmann Scholarship from Pi Chi Omega.
If you would like to follow John’s example and make a donation to the Pi Chi Omega Scholarship fund, we welcome all contributions, no matter the size. Your contribution will enable our fraternity to continue to support students pursuing a degree in entomology, or some closely related field that impacts the structural urban pest management industry. You can make contributions online or reach out to Pi Chi Omega staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpts taken from PCT Online article by Brad Harbison, February 5, 2009.