Asked what he believes has had the most impact on his success throughout the years, Harvey Massey is quick to respond: the people.
“We have great people here, plus a strong culture, and we’re select about who we put on the payroll,” Massey says.
As chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Massey Services, a $75 million Maitland, Fla.-based company with 800 employees and a fleet of 700 service vehicles, Massey has worked with a many people throughout his career — and, he’s treated every one of them with dignity and respect.
It just goes to show you: It’s not necessary to step on people along the path to success. Massey has made a tremendous career out of caring for people, and that’s why we’re honored to welcome him as a member of the Pest Management Professional Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
Born in a small town in Louisiana, Massey never dreamed of achieving the success he now has, much less a career in pest management.
“I was part of a good Catholic family, and after I got out of the service, I set my heart and soul on getting into the real-estate business,” Massey says.
Real estate, though, didn’t pan out and Massey instead took a job with Orkin, which, as Massey notes, had a great training program. He started on a route doing termite work before being moved into sales, despite never having sold anything in his life. Fortunately for Orkin, it didn’t take him long to get the hang of sales. He started in Austin, Texas, as a salesperson and rapidly earned a promotion to sales manager in Orkin’s San Antonio branch.
“I knew I had the ability to work, and if someone was going to beat me, it wouldn’t be because I didn’t work,” Massey says.
When you’re successful, you’re noticed. After “blowing the top off San Antonio,” Orkin transferred Massey to Houston for a year, and then to Indianapolis to become district sales manager for Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. He quickly became the No. 1 sales manager at Orkin.
Success Breeds Success
From branch manager to district manager; Illinois to Georgia, Massey did nearly every job in the Orkin hierarchy. While serving as the Georgia district manager in Atlanta, Orking offered to promote Massey to its vice president of marketing. He turned it down, even though it would have made him the youngest vice president in Orkin History at 31. As it turns out, Massey could still claim that distinction — two weeks after his 32nd birthday, he became the regional vice president of the Midwest region and moved back to the Chicago area.
After 17 years of tremendous success at a “temporary” job, Massey felt his own entrepreneurial longings stir.
“There are times when people outgrow their companies, and there are other times when companies outgrow some of their people,” Massey says. “It’s important to understand these two things and also understand that no one has ever stopped employee turnover.
Massey moved over to another giant in the pest management industry: Terminix. Hired as senior vice president of operations, Massey was responsible for overseeing and managing all company-owned Terminix businesses.
His biggest takeaway from Terminix, just as it was with Orkin, was the people and friendships he developed. He stayed six-and-a-half years at Terminix and then decided it was time to take advantage of an opportunity to run his own business.
Off On His Own
Massey purchased his current company from the Walker family in February 1985. At that time, the company had four branches and annual revenues just below $4 million. Although he went almost $1 million into debt when he bought the business, Massey quickly recovered.
“I never looked back,” Massey says. “I don’t take the time to look back. I always look forward. I bought the company 24 years ago, and 18 of those years have been double-digit growth.”
Today, the company has 58 offices in Florida, Atlanta and Baton Rouge, La.
And, again, it comes back to the people in his life. That’s just the way Massey does business and lives his life. He puts people first.
“It’s a people business,” Massey explains. “It always has been and always will be. I really love that aspect of it.”