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Susan strives for ECOLA to be a beacon for what every company in the pest control industry can become. She understands that the consumer is concerned about getting rid of the unwanted guests but the safety and health of the family or coworkers is more important. Educating the consumer to the choices available and upgrading the industry’s image is a passion for her. Offering a full-range of non-chemical and low-toxicity products alongside her traditional options is allowing the needs to be met for the consumer.
Since purchasing ECOLA in 2000, Susan has successfully molded it into a leading alternative termite and pest control company in California. By offering exceptional products and customer service, ECOLA has maintained an A+ rating with the BBB, it has been voted “Favorite Exterminator” for three years in a row by the readers of the Los Angeles Daily News. After a rigorous review process a committee formed by the Los Angeles Magazine named ECOLA as the “Best Green Exterminator” in Southern California for three years running. Susan and ECOLA have also been the History Channels “Modern Marvels,” the Discovery Channel’s “Green Planet,” and featured on KCAL’s “Her Vision, Her Company.”
Susan is also active in local industry trade organizations to continue to improve upon the long-established standard of excellence that is synonymous with California pest control operators. She is an active voice in the industry and served as the San Fernando Valley District Chairperson in 2000 and a Director in the PCOC for the last nine years. She also serves her fellow pest control operators by being available as an educator and speaker on the subject of marketing, and image. She is active in several chambers of commerce and lobbies state and local legislators on behalf of the pest control industry, her employees’ lively hoods, and the end result: the health of the consumer. Her influence reaches across 9 counties.
Susan’s stewardship is held in the highest regards among her peers and fellow business owners across the State. She has been nominated for many awards over the years, most recently being the San Fernando Business Journal’s “Woman Business Owner of the Year.” She attributes much of her success to a supporting family, her relentless drive, and genuine inspirations – the health of her loved ones and her customers alike.
Susan Fries has worked in the pest control industry for 29 years. She has always possessed the esteemed intention to work alongside her husband. When Susan’s father-in-law asked her and her husband to take over his established Hydrex franchise, she agreed with some initial reservations.
While this was a considerable industry change for Susan, she quickly came to the realization that she was not “just killing bugs for a living.” Susan has a deeper take on her chosen profession: She protects people’s most expensive and important possession – their home, their business, and their families.
At Hydrex she started “in the trenches,” answering calls, working with customers, and supporting field inspectors and technicians. As her understanding of the business and the industry grew, so did her responsibilities within the company. She began selling pest control, aiding in computer management systems design, handling commissions and payroll, and optimizing routes and schedules. She established the procedures and systems for the operation and worked closely with computer software people to put together a program that did what needed to get done, simply and efficiently. Using her marketing and advertising skills along with her people skills, she helped build the company from 2 franchises when they took it to 9 franchises. Working with her husband for 20 years and raising two children was not easy – she jokes about the lessons learned.
But it was not until March of 2000, that Susan Fries decided to channel all of her energy and expertise she had gained from her experience at Hydrex, and put it to use in a way that was innovative and inspired. ECOLA became one of the few 100% female-owned pest control companies, and since then, Susan Fries has advanced the alternative treatments sector to reduce the possible harmful effects of traditional pest control.
By offering alternative pest control treatments along with traditional methods, she is able to offer solutions that fit her customers’ lifestyles and individual needs.
Ecola Termite & Pest and Hydrex are direct competitors in the industry in some of the same areas. Interesting story here about what that is like around the Fries dinner table: Husband and Wife each owning and running their own pest control companies.
Susan Fries, or The Termite Lady, has represented ECOLA Termite Services, Inc on the History Channel, KTLA News, KCAL9, Discovery’s Planet Green, Environmental Directions Radio, and Home and Garden Radio. Fries was also awarded “Best Green Exterminator” in August of 2007, and attributes much of her success to a supporting family, her relentless drive, and genuine inspirations – the health of her loved ones and her customers alike.
Susan leads best by sharing her wisdom and time with others. She is a woman of diverse knowledge and experiences, which she pulls from to help her succeed in business and life. She devotes her time and energy to the improvement of herself, her employees, her family, and her peers.
She gives employees many opportunities to succeed in the company. She understands the benefits to the company when each individual in her organization is successful. She will spend individual time with each employee to help him or her improve, whether it’s helping a Customer Service Representative improve their customer service skills or helping sales inspectors and annual inspectors improve their sales skills. Her employees are incredibly important to her and she dedicates the time and energy needed to make them successful.
She also commits her time to improving the industry and community by volunteering her resources and the resources of ECOLA. In 2005 ECOLA funded the construction of a home for a Jamaican family that was built by a Christian charity. She heads a silent auction annually to collect money for PCOC CARES (an organization that aids industry professionals in their time of need), and PAPCO.
Susan is a support structure to women in the pest control industry. As a woman pest control operator she is aware of the struggles and possible solutions in a male dominated industry. She has guided three women pest control operators with acquisition, employee labor law issues, software issues, or customer retention. Her efforts even allowed one of these women to grow and sell her business to a larger company at a significant profit.
She also knows the challenges that female employees experience when working in this industry. She is always willing to accommodate and work with her employees and do what it takes to help them be more successful. When one of them approached Susan with the desire to go to school to finish her high school and college education, she did everything she could to support this employee from adjusting her hours so she could attend classes, to giving the time off necessary to study for her important exams. This is far from easy for the employee as Susan still expects her to complete her work the same as employees with regular schedules. She has seen this employee grow over the years and is extremely proud of what she is becoming. She believes in and encourages those around her.