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Dr. Eric Smith: In Memoriam

Dr. Eric Smith

Dr. Eric Smith is Remembered by the Industry

It is with profound sorrow that we commemorate the life of Dr. Eric Smith, known as a passionate entomologist and consummate teacher. Eric passed away last week at the age of 80, with Deborah Blanchard, his loving wife of 34 years, by his side. Eric served as Senior Entomologist at Dodson Pest Control in Lynchburg, VA for 24 years until his retirement in 2013.

Perhaps best known nationally for being the principal author of the NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests, in Virginia – where he spent the majority of his professional career, he was the face of pest control training for many years. In addition to his responsibilities teaching technicians at Dodson, Eric was actively involved in the education of the Pest Management Industry from 1991 – 2019 serving on the Copesan and the NPMA Technical Committees, and the Virginia and North Carolina state association Education Committees.  

Eric was recognized in 2006 by the Virginia Pest Management Association (VPMA) as the recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Industry Stewardship Award. He gained this accolade due to his commitment to translating the science of pest control into understandable and actionable terms for technicians, customers and the Industry as a whole.

Eric was the founding Curriculum Coordinator of the VPMA Master Technician Series started in 2001 after a fund-raising campaign that provided for the purchase of 20 microscopes. Eric was so proud of the creation of this educational series – still available at 4 workshops per year – that enables technicians to learn in a laboratory-like setting. Teaching this series enabled Eric to share his love of insects, especially from the taxonomic viewpoint. After a morning spent identifying insects under the microscope, participants were then led through problem-solving activities to identify inspection and treatment methodologies that worked.

He also contributed his teaching talents to the VPMA Fumigation Workshop, the VPMA General Pest Recertification Workshop and the VPMA State Technical Meeting.

Andrea Coron, VPMA's Executive Director, shared these memories, “Eric was one of the first people I met in the industry in 1994, when I began working with the Virginia Pest Management Association.  He was always happy to answer my many questions about pest management in the early days – enabling me to grow as a leader in the Industry. Fast forward more than 25 years, I can honestly say he was a trusted training partner and a valued friend. He will be fondly remembered with deep respect.”

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