Editor’s Note: The PMP staff is saddened to report that Red passed away April 27, 2003. He was 85. Learn more here.
People say that Rufus “Red” Tindol, Jr. is always smiling, and it’s true. He has the kind of face that prompts your own cheeks and lips to curl into a grin as soon as you look at the man. That smile shouldn’t be a surprise, though, because he has plenty to be happy about.
Tindol, who is now chairman of the board at Allgood Services of Georgia, Inc. in Atlanta, the company that is owned and operated by his sons, grandsons and a nephew, is also a 2000 Pest Control Hall of Fame inductee. The pest management peers who nominated him describe him as a motivator and a guide.
“Red Tindol has been an inspiration and a leader in the industry since 1944, as a teacher in pest control,” writes James Farley, Arthur Pest Control, Woodstock, Ga. “He is very active in our industry and deserving of this honor.”
Tindol’s role as a teacher to others in pest management is a result of his giving nature. While studying to be an engineer at Georgia Tech University, Atlanta, Ga., and Auburn University, Montgomery, Ala., the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) encouraged him to train in the public health sector. So, he completed post-graduate studies in sanitary engineering at Vanderbilt University. Then, in 1940, he went to work at the GDPH as a public health engineer.
While there, he was approached by the United States Army for some expert help. A battle was ensuing against mosquitoes, because malaria was hurting the troops. In 1943, as the commanding officer of the Malaria Control Unit with the U.S. Army Sanitary Corps, he went along with some entomologists and other engineers to fight mosquitoes in the South Pacific.
After a Jeep accident that injured his neck, Tindol came back to the mainland and was assigned to the Fourth Service Command. He worked with civilian Entomologist Austin Morrill, Jr., to conduct pest management schools at Army and Navy bases in the Southeast. Tindol wrote numerous newspaper articles about the need for safe pesticide use, particularly, DDT.
His military experience spurred him to make a switch from engineering to pest management. When he finished his Army service in 1945, Tindol started the Georgia Exterminating Co., Inc., in Atlanta along with his brother-in-law Jim Allgood.
Later, 1997 Pest Control Hall of Fame Inductee Bob Russell, who is now Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminating, Inc.’s vice president of technical services, joined Georgia Exterminating, as well.
After two years with Georgia Exterminating, as did a lot of other small pest management business owners at the time, they sold the company to Orkin Pest Control, which was owned by another Pest Control Hall of Fame Inductee (1999) Otto Orkin.
Tindol continued to work with the company as Georgia district manager. As a result, he knew “old man Orkin” personally and says he was “a very tenacious businessman.” Orkin was so resolute, in fact, that if he lost an account, Tindol says he preferred to just give the business away rather than to accept defeat.
After 20 years with Orkin, Tindol once again went out on his own and founded Tindol Services, Inc., a pest management, building maintenance and sanitation company along with his two sons Bubba and Mike. Eventually, his grandsons Chuck, Mike and Perry also joined the company.
“These two boys worked their tails off, I can guarantee that, and I’m seeing the same thing with my grandsons,” Tindol states with a smile. “One of the joys of my life was seeing my sons and grandsons working so hard for Tindol Services.”
Tindol credits not only family members, but also loyal, hard-working employees with the success of the organization. In 1987, after another 20 years into his pest management career, Tindol Services sold the pest management portion of its business to Waste Management.
Initially, the Tindols stayed with the company. However, it was soon sold to Terminix, and at this point, all of the Tindols resigned—but they weren’t out of the industry for long. With the help of Tindol’s nephew, Jimmy Allgood, his grandsons Mike, Chuck and Perry started Allgood Services of Atlanta in 1991. Then in 1993, Tindol’s sons Mike and Bubba came to work at Allgood, which meant that the family was back in business.
Today, what started from scratch has turned into a $5 million enterprise. The company has changed its name to Allgood Services of Georgia and is operated by Tindol’s sons and grandsons, as well as his nephew. Red serves as the chairman of the board. There are Allgood branches in Macon, Brunswick, Marietta and Atlanta, Ga., and they plan to continue expansion.
Along with making his own business successful, Tindol helped to ensure the growth of the industry. He put forth great effort in legislative support and association work. Tindol tells Pest Control that he was drawn to actively serving the industry in order to work with others for positive change in the business of pest management.
“I believe in surrounding myself, and joining with, other people in the industry to form a better climate and a better profession,” he asserts.
With this attitude in mind, it should be noted that Tindol served as chairman of the Georgia Pest Control Commission from 1974 to 1976; was president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in 1976; served as a member of the board for the Salvation Army; and was a member of the Kiwanis Club, where he served both as president and division I lieutenant governor.
He also served as chairman of the Georgia Small Business Association, of which he was chosen as Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration in 1985.
Even with all these achievements, Tindol believes his greatest professional accomplishment was creating cohesion among three industry factions for the betterment of the whole industry.
In 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This was the first federal control of the pest management industry, and, at the time, the EPA wasn’t asking for help in determining legislation.
Initially, FIFRA required that everyone in the industry—including owners, technicians and managers—be licensed. This could be a sticky and costly mandate for the industry, especially with the high rate of technician turnover.
Tindol saw the need for a unified voice when communicating with the government on issues that could strongly impact our industry. He was instrumental in getting the NPMA to work together with Orkin’s Russell, and Terminix’s Charlie Hromada (a 1998 Hall of Fame inductee), both government relations representatives for their respective companies. Tindol brought the NPMA into play, and he smiles contentedly as he relates the turn of events.
“It was the first time that the national association, Orkin and Terminix worked together,” Tindol points out. “I was very proud of the fact that we worked together to stop the EPA from taking liberties with FIFRA.”
Tindol organized the team, and together they were able to slow down some of the EPA’s activities at that time. Hromada believes that, as a result, the industry got fair input into FIFRA, which helped to make the regulations acceptable. Russell even admits that while the industry resented the FIFRA legislation at first, it did raise the bar of professionalism.
A Good Example
Tindol is said to be an inspiration by more than one of those who nominated him for the Pest Control Hall of Fame. He believes that treating people fairly and making employees feel like “parts of the family” are reasons for his success.
However, Tindol considers industry legend Ted Oser his mentor and smiles again as he thinks of him. He credits Oser with instilling a drive in other pest management professionals (PMPs) to continue increasing the professionalism of the industry.
Regarding that contagious smile…there’s a story behind what keeps a happy look on his face.
Using his comfortable, seemingly slow-motion and distinctively Southern dialect, Tindol tells Pest Control about some sage advice he received from his father.
As a young man, he once became very upset when a particular young lady ignored his romantic intentions. He complained to his “daddy” about this dilemma who said, “You’ll never be a good-lookin’ man, so always keep smiling. That’s all you need.” Whether this tale is fact or fiction, its little words of wisdom certainly work for Tindol.