Pest control has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My dad, Jim Shockey, worked for Western Exterminator since before I was born. When I was old enough to write, I would anxiously await the 1st day of the month so I could fill out his 3-part service slips filling in his customers' names and addresses for the month. I would organize and date his route cards for the month. I loved it! He paid me a couple of dollars which was nice, but I didn't care about the money. I loved helping him. I knew the names of all his customers and my dad would share stories about many of them. My mom ran a home daycare business and was always supportive of my dad. Our family loved to hear stories of my dad's pest encounters and the challenges he faced.
My dad grew tired of the limitations of working for a company. He had a heart for service and wanted to expand his customer base. He left Western Exterminators in 1979 and opened a branch of American City Pest Control. My mom and dad worked from our home in Torrance. My mom would answer the phones, handle billing, and quote prices while my dad was out servicing customers. Their business grew quickly; he had 5 routes within 1 year which meant 5 trucks and 5 employees. In 1983 my parents bought out the founder of American City Pest Control so they could expand their service region. They also purchased an office in Lawndale in order to accommodate their employees and service trucks. My parents worked hard every day. I would go to the office after school and help with customer service, phones, and billing. I loved the energy of the office. My parents would talk with the employees as they came in after a day of working in the field. My parents were so respectful and gracious with their employees; what an example of how to treat people!
In 2001, with over 40 employees, we moved to our current location in Gardena. It is a nice, big, comfortable office with room to grow. We are able to have all our training meetings here in our dedicated training room. We use our huge warehouse for our Annual Christmas Party. We clean and polish the floors, hang fancy lights and decorate for days! It is a great event to celebrate and just hang out with our employees.
I officially joined the company after graduating college. After working as office manager for many years, I was promoted to President in 2001. I enjoy working here because I know the business, the industry, and the value of great employees. I have seen the ups and downs of the business and economy, but I know that by dedicating myself to hard work, customer service, and employee relations, we can outlast and out serve.
I could go on and on about all the great people that work for us. Many have been here over 10 years and some over 20 years. Everyone is different, and everyone brings to our company their experience, dedication and personalities. I would not be here if it was not for all the great employees that dedicate themselves everyday to American City Pest & Termite, Inc.
My parents are still involved in the company, although they leave most of the daily decisions up to me. They are very dedicated to the Pest Control Operators of California and attend events of the National Pest Management Association. They have many friends in the industry. I like that the word “Competitors” is not in our vocabulary. My parents and their industry friends believe there are plenty of bugs for all of us, and there is no need to compete. When my parents are not at work, they enjoy traveling in their RV and spending time in Oregon. They love spending time, spoiling, and traveling with their grandchildren.
My parents have built a company that is more than just a business. American City Pest & Termite, Inc., is a company of people who care very much about our customers, each other, and our families. Pest control will always be a part of my life, but more than that, the people who make our company will be what I remember most.
– Cindy Ziemke, President