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LEAWOOD, Kan. – Tom McCloud, third generation owner of McCloud Services, South Elgin, Ill., Died January 8th at the age of 93 in a nursing home in Kansas City, Kan., Region. He is remembered by his colleagues and family as a compassionate industry leader closely associated with the National Pest Management Association and Copesan Services, an alliance of regional commercial pest control companies with offices across North America.
Tom got involved in the industry at a young age. McCloud Services was founded in 1904 by his grandfather William Bailey McCloud as WB McCloud & Company and was later taken over by Tom’s father Walter McCloud. Although the company originated in the Chicago area in the 1940s, it had offices in central Illinois, central Indiana, eastern Iowa, and St. Louis.
Tom faced adversity early in his career. Walter died in a car accident in 1947 at the age of 49 when Tom was only 19 years old. At 21, Tom was forced to run the company and immediately faced a difficult decision.
“Dad entered the business in his early twenties and immediately removed his father’s successor, a popular industry professional who was buying McCloud cash to run his own pest control business,” said youngest son, Chris McCloud. “Since my father was a relative newcomer to the company and industry, this move was not well received by his colleagues. He later found that the experience, uncomfortable as it was, helped develop his own identity and an immediate sense of ownership and accountability. “
Tom promoted many of his father’s initiatives as a leader. Walter served on the board of directors of several industry associations and in 1940 president of the National Pest Control Association, now the National Pest Management Association. Tom followed in his footsteps and spent considerable time with NPCA from the 1950s to 1970s.
In 1954, Tom McCloud Services continued to expand, adding Illinois offices in Decatur and Pekin. His eldest son Phil McCloud said it was a bridge between operators after World War II and subsequent generations. “He was one of the youngest in the business,” said Phil. “All other dynamite guys were his grandfather’s age.”
Tom’s focus has always been on building business accounts, Phil said. He rarely turned down the job and was known for his honest reputation, which was well received when the EPA began heavily regulating the industry in 1969. “My father aggressively innovated and embraced new ideas and services that would add value to customers and help him grow the business,” said Chris.
For example, in 1980 he hired Pat Hottel as technical director, which made her one of the first women in the pest control industry to hold the position.
Tom always lived by his moral compass, Alfie Treleven, CEO of Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma, Washington, told a Copesan colleague. “His employees, partners, family and friends knew his passion for doing the right thing, even if it took longer or the process was a bit chaotic. Doing what you did right was the goal he lived. “
McCloud Services was an original partner and remained a shareholder until 2018 when Copesan was sold to Terminix. Tom got involved in Copesan in 1958 and as a shareholder in 1971. “Then it all started,” said Phil. “Because honestly, you could do the best you want in your line of business, but if you don’t have friends, mentors and an association to gather information with, it’s you won’t be that good. “
Tom grew his business by learning from other Copesan companies and by constantly bringing in new customers from the alliance until McCloud Services went “from a small business to a powerhouse,” said Phil. Tom also served as a mentor to other Copesan members , including Treleven and Clarke Keenan, past president of Waltham Services, a Copesan services company based in Waltham, Massachusetts. “He was a listener and sought consensus,” said Keenan. “He liked to challenge the establishment, and Copesan Junior Execs were a great way to move the envelope.”
The McCloud family’s business legacy continued with Phil, who said his earliest memory was baiting the company when he was eight. “I knew as a little kid that we had this wonderful company that made us different,” said Phil. “We owned something and I felt important by the time I was eight. My dad always told me we were the Rolls Royce of pest control. “
He joined the company in 1972 as a sales representative and finally assumed the office of President in 1985. Describing his relationship with his father as “like brothers”, Phil emphasized that his father never pressured him to join the family business and gave him the freedom to shape his own identity as a leader. “After 1985 he was no longer on the sidelines; He was up in the skybox, “said Phil.” He said he was watching us, but he wasn’t involved. He let me run the company. I thought I would take it from him as a responsibility, but I think he allowed me to. “
In addition to Phil and Chris (who succeeded Phil as president of the company in 2007), Tom’s daughter Carol worked for the company for 10 years. Chris said his father was very proud to have his children involved in the business. “I was the youngest child and I never reported directly to him. So he was easy to deal with, but I was prepared to learn from his best people,” he said. “This was positive in our relationship as it allowed us to have productive and healthy conversations about business in general. He’s been a great mentor, and I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive father. “Chris led McCloud Services until 2019 when the company was sold to ServiceMaster.
Copesan colleagues remember Tom McCloud
Bert DodsonThe President and CEO of Dodson Pest Control, Lynchburg, Virginia, met Tom McCloud through his involvement with Copesan and described him as “lively, supportive, understanding, and compassionate” and one of the nicest people he knew in the business. “Tom McCloud came from the generation of pest control professionals who made this industry what it is today,” said Dodson.
“His attention to professionalism, honesty and personal commitment was the standard of his time.” He remembered McCloud as someone who listened to and encouraged everyone around him. “His life was determined by giving rather than greed, empathy rather than negative comments from others,” said Dodson.
Alfie TrelevenTom, CEO of Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma, Washington, found Tom was an excellent conversationalist with diverse interests. “He was able to talk about the latest developments in pest control, contemporary and old jazz or blues recordings. Name a book he probably knew; Talk about fishing, say goodbye to the rest of your day. Go fishing and say goodbye to the rest of the week, ”said Treleven. McCloud was a voracious reader, Treleven recalled, which helped his ability to speak on many subjects. “This taught me to always look for members of the executive team who are deeply immersed in topics,” said Treleven. “You will uncover ideas that I would miss or challenge my thinking. Tom has done this for me throughout my career, especially when I was 20 and 30 years old. ”
Clarke KeenanThe former president of Waltham Services, a Copesan services company headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, also remembered McCloud for his friendliness and willingness to share. “Tom was a great mentor. At McCloud, he allowed Phil to thrive as a creative junior manager and was soon promoted to lead McCloud. ”