Former U.S. Army Sergeant
Founder, Revolution National Pest Council (RNPC)
Sterling Barbour would make anyone proud to be an American. Before he was awarded the HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award, which is the only federal-level veterans' employment award that recognizes a company or organization's commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development by the U.S. Department of Labor, sold his incredibly successful pest control business, Revolution Pest Solutions, and was a dominating force in the industry for years—in 1969 he was drafted into the Vietnam War. His life would change forever.
After serving in Vietnam, Sterling was transferred to Alaska to become a part of a newly created unit by President Richard Nixon. This unit was called "The Arctic Rangers." While serving as an inaugural Arctic Ranger, Sterling served as a Communications Sergeant, Three Stripe Sergeant and helped simulate plane crashes in the Polar Ice Cap. After experiencing frostbite, Sterling served as a communications sergeant for a Four-star general in Alaska until 1971.
Sterling's biggest takeaways and lessons learned from being in the military included, as he asserts, "How to work as a team, understand what leadership is, and complete tasks. The military brought out the necessary teamwork and completion of tasks to ensure that the job is completed on time. This translates seamlessly to pest control." Sterling also found that his military experience helped with growth in the pest management industry, as he adds: "My military experience showed me how to be a leader quickly and be successful. How to build a team around me to do the job to carry out that mission. Everybody is working on one goal. In pest control it's no different." Luckily, for Sterling, a pesky Orkin recruiter, Jeff Plater, would not leave him alone at a job fair, and the rest was history.
Jeff Plater from Orkin stopped Sterling and asked, "How come you're not stopping by the Orkin booth?" In the effort of selling Sterling on pest control, Plater proclaimed, "I paid off and built my house after five years in pest control! Give me ten minutes and stop by my office." The recruiting effort and pitch sold Sterling, and soon after, he was hired as a Salesman for Orkin. Sterling excelled so quickly that he would become a Branch Manager only after six months. Shortly after that, industry juggernaut Wayne Golden became his mentor and promoted Sterling to VP. Sterling worked as a VP of Sales for Terminix running 18 branches and started his own business, Revolution Pest Solutions, which he sold to Sprague Pest Solutions in 2019—that is not even the best part of Sterling's story.
Sterling has been VERY successful for himself and his family. He made it big in pest control. But what is the most impressive part about Sterling Barbour is his service to America's minorities, women and veterans. Sterling now runs the Revolution National Pest Council (RNPC), a Pest Control Training School in Carson, CA, that promotes economic growth, diversity and inclusion for minorities, women and veterans. "Our mission is to provide high-level job training Programs in Los Angeles in pest control. We are the only pest control Training Academy in California, certified by the Department of Labor. By providing a highly-skilled, culturally diverse workforce, the RNPC reduces the cost of turnover. Pest control companies are taking advantage of it and, many Veterans have been hired," said Sterling. Sterling's understanding of the plight of Veterans and dedication to see them succeed has earned him the U.S. Department of Labor HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Additionally, Sterling has been recognized by California Senator Kamala Harris for his achievements in Veterans' job training and employment.
Sterling is a member of the NPMA PestVets Council, sponsored by FMC. He was awarded the "NPMA Veteran of Year" in 2018, also sponsored by FMC.
In 2011, Sterling and his wife started a veterans advocacy group, a 501©3 non-profit organization. They believe we must fight for our veterans to ensure they have jobs, housing, educational opportunities, and resources available to help with their career path and regeneration to civilian life. To date, they have given out over 7,000 backpacks to veterans and their kids with school supplies, and recently over the past three years, has fed over 2500 veterans Thanksgiving dinners.
In closing, Sterling points out, "Veterans understand veterans. I love to tell veterans, especially veterans of color, about my experiences, success, and how difficult it is for an African American to get ahead. You must give it 125%, as a person of color. When you give more, you get more. For the Veterans that come out of our job training program, we hope that they will use this training in their future and be very successful, and potential owners."