I love being social… but I think I am pretty much beat with Genma Holmes. And if you can’t beat em, join em. From fashion model to pest control super star, Genma Holmes is CEO of Holmes Pest Control in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a very fun interview and very gracious. Enjoy!
Thomas: Well you are such an interesting person that I don’t know where to begin an interview! I heard you speak at the Green Conference in Dallas last year, so you are obviously promoting green services, let’s start there. What percentage of your customers are on an all natural pest control service?
Genma: All. I got into the business before green became a marketing idea. Green living is my way of life…not a marketing campaign.
Thomas: All of your pest control is done with 100% All Natural Pest Control Products? That’s fantastic! I am actually relieved. I was a little disappointed in the guys at that conference that were promoting green pest control as an undefined “wrap me in a green blanket and call me a safe treatment plan.” In fact, your candid clear cut views are probably what make you sparkle. Bulwark offers this option for those that want it but few ask for the All Natural Solution.
So you are 100% all natural pest control, for how many years?
Genma: From the day I met David Murphy of EcoSmart. We had been experimenting with it but did not have a pesticide that did the job that EcoSmart. It did not pass the smell test or the lick test in EcoSmart place. When EcoSmart first started my youngest children were in kindergarten.
Thomas: Very nice plug for EcoSmart, and yes they do offer great products. So Why Nashville?
Genma: I love this place. LOVE IT. I moved here from Mississippi. I thought I stepped off the bus into Rhinestone heaven! Everywhere I went I bumped into a REAL Opry star. No to mention the number of folks like me that stepped off Greyhound (or Southwest) and were millionaires overnight. No state income taxes, homes looking like McMasion with McRibs prices. Great place to raise your children. Economic opportunities on every corner and the most philanthropic people hands down.
Thomas: Yep, I love Nashville too. I graduated from Franklin High School. It is so beautiful there and full of wonderful people, like yourself. But my wife rules the roost so I won’t be back in Tennessee anytime soon. I get that you travel a lot for speaking engagements. How many events do you speak at per year?
Genma: Hmm, colleges are the hot spots. As I type I have 15 engagements scheduled before November. I did a road trip once pushing women in the industry angle….46 stops in 42 days. I nearly died but it was a great year! I am rarely asked to do industry events but then again, I didn’t cut my teeth talking to bug people (meaning I am not a “pest control industry” person traveling to “industry” events). Majority of my audiences are consumer driven marketplaces. I do not sell to the pest control industry. My audience are non industry folks mainly who buy my services and want to hear me talk about any and everything including my fear of brown recluse spiders. When I share that in a Women’s publication or a professional women group it is ok, talk about that in a room full of pest control guys and I sound bat crap crazy.
Thomas: Not only do I admire you as a pest professional, a great speaker, and a business savvy lady, but you strike me as a mother that cares for her family.
Genma: I respect motherhood deeply. Thomas: How many kids do you have? Genma: 3! Franz (sports medicine) Cornelius (sports journalism) Alexis (sports marketing)…all would be 2nd generation PCOs!
Thomas: What’s your favorite question to be asked? Genma: How the hell did you get into pest control?
Thomas: You know that is a great question! So let me ask you… About your politics. =)
I know that your are politically active, do you take sides? Democratic, Republican? Liberal, Conservative?
Genma: I vote my conscious. That’s not a wiggle out, that is the truth. Always have and always will. My grandfather’s taught me to think for myself. I don’t put campaign signs on my trucks. My business can not vote. I personally do not endorse anyone, because of my role at several newspapers BUT I throw some of the best parties in town to support a cause or a candidate. In the last year, I formed a group called POI…pissed off independents! Never met a Margarita we did not like!
Thomas: How does your political activism help and maybe hurt your business?
Genma:It doesn’t hurt or help. From the time I came out the womb, I was given a campaign sign from my granddaddy. Knocking on doors to get people to exercise their right to vote was his life story. He spent his life being a civil rights activist. Not the kind on TV spouting nonsense about nonsense but a man of the people who loved all people. I learned from him to have that fire in your belly for something that you believe in that works for the greater good..not lining your pocket! Vote for whoever you like..just vote damn it! See there goes that fire in me.
Thomas: Do you link religion, politics, and pest control?
Genma:All the time! I love my God, I am a citizen that votes in EVERY election, and I kill bugs. I can not get around any of that! But there are times and places for everything. I try not to push my beliefs on others but I am firm in my faith. if you don’t like my politics that fine, we live in a country that allow us to have differing views. I kill bugs and I am not shame of the work I do.
Thomas: Well you are wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to following your tweets.
And I encourage other professionals to do the same. Check her out here: