Derek Foster was named the 2021 PCT Commercial Technician of the Year due to his dedication to service, safety, and industry leadership. Derek has been a Northwest teammate for almost 10 years and has served with our Commercial Pest Control division since the beginning. The entire Northwest team is excited to celebrate his win, as he’s continued to push our team to new heights, to honor our customers, and to create extraordinary experiences everywhere he goes. Learn more about PCT’s Commercial winner this year in this Teammate Q&A!
NW: How did it feel to find out you were named the 2021 PCT Commercial Technician of the Year?
Derek: When I found out that I had been named PCT Commercial Technician of the Year, it completely blew me away. I was kind of speechless at first, like, ‘Are You Serious? You’re not kidding me?’ What an honor! When I started asking questions, I thought back with how honored and thankful I am to all the people that have helped me along my journey here at Northwest for the past 9 years. I’m extremely proud to work here at Northwest Exterminating and receive this recognition for hard work. I can’t even describe how thankful I am to receive this!
NW: What made you choose Northwest initially?
Derek: I chose Northwest Exterminating 9 years ago (September 2012) because I was looking for a change from my prior 14-year career. I managed a fence manufacturing/distribution location and wanted something different where I could get out of the office, travel around a bit, be hands on, and interact with people. After interviewing and meeting multiple people at Northwest, I knew this was it and has been exactly what I wished for. Since then, everyone I have met and had the opportunity to work with within the company have been awesome.
NW: What is your favorite Northwest Service Standard?
Derek: #7 Golden Opportunities “We view a complaint or a callback not as a hassle, but as a golden opportunity to create a Customer for Life. These opportunities are our time to shine and show the customer the Northwest Difference.”
This is my favorite Northwest Service Standard because in our industry, the customer doesn’t always get a visual result for what we’ve done during their monthly or quarterly service aside from web brushing. When we receive a callback or we are approached by potential customers, it is our chance to shine! From our response time getting to those customers to our genuine concern to help them in any way that we can to make things better, the call back or customer approach also gives us some personal face to face bond time to educate and explain what we will do to take corrective action for any issues rather than just say ‘You should be good now.’ This is recognized by our customers and builds trust and value for them to know that we are there for them.
NW: What’s some advice you’d give to someone wanting to join our industry?
Derek: If I were to give someone wanting to join our industry advise, I would say be open to educate yourself in all areas and to accept knowledge and experience from others. Own your role, manage your time well, be accountable and take responsibility for all that you do, and learn from mistakes or practices that didn’t work for you in the past. Try new things and be open to growth. Find passion for what you do, have fun, and enjoy it!
NW: Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
Derek: Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family. I enjoy boating on Lake Lanier, fishing, dining, and swimming. Being from the islands, I love the beach and pretty much anything to do with water like water skiing, wakeboarding, or jet skiing. Scuba diving is probably one of the things I miss most and need to plan a dive trip the next time I’m in Florida, which is where I enjoy vacationing the most. I’d like to teach my wife and kids how to dive so they can see the underwater world. On my own time, I have a passion for wood working, concrete projects, and home improvements.
NW: Where will you be in the next 5 years?
Derek: In the next five years, you’ll find me in a management position for the 3rd Commercial Service Center here at Northwest, this with be known as Commercial North. (Editor’s Note: Derek was recently promoted to Service Supervisor of our two Atlanta Commercial locations. This vision casting is slowly but surely coming true for him and Northwest because of the team’s hard work and this type of dedication!)
Derek’s consistency in the type of teammate he shows up as for his team, customer, and community is what the Northwest Way is all about. To see this consistency, and his dedication, career enjoyment, and expertise honored by this award is something all of his Northwest Family is proud of and excited for. Derek is beyond deserving, and we’re grateful to call him part of our Northwest Family!