As Bern’s 25th anniversary approaches, I seized on the opportunity to sit down with him and hear a little more about what drew him to Arrow and some of the things that he has accomplished here. Bern has always had a passion for teaching, and worked for the Woodmere school district for 8 years prior to his career at Arrow. He was the district supervisor in charge of community services, and taught adult education courses. He lived in the same neighborhood as Arrow’s current presidents Jackie Grabin and Deborah Tappan. He was introduced to them through mutual friends and used to go down to the park every week to play softball with them. When they heard that Bern was looking for a new job, they referred him to their father and Arrow’s founder Bernard Stegman.
Bern sat down with Mr. Stegman for an interview that ended up lasting for 3 hours. He still remembers the day well, and says that in the course of their conversation Mr. Stegman made quite an impression on him. Bern told me “he was the kind of guy that just had so much enthusiasm that even though I had never considered exterminating by the end of the interview I was thinking, ‘I want to do what you’re doing’.” Although the two of them thought well of each other and were developing mutual respect, Bern just wasn’t sure that the exterminating industry was really for him, and Mr. Stegman had his own reservations about hiring him. That is why after initially turning down the job, Bern was suprised when he received a call from Mr. Stegman less than a month later offering him the job again. Over the phone Mr. Stegman was able to convince Bern that the company would be a good fit for him. Mr Stegman said that he wanted someone who can teach. He knew that Bern was passionate about education and learning, and that in this industry there would always be opportunities for Bern to learn, grow, and continue his education. “to this day what I like about pest control” says Bern, “is that every day is different. There is constant change and new challenges each day.”
Bern accepted the job and his new position as supervisor. When he asked what exactly were his responsibilities, Mr. Stegman replied simply “we’ll have to see about that”. Bern appreciated Mr. Stegman’s pioneering attitude, and in no time was able to identify plenty of things that needed improvement and assume new responsibilities. Over time he created and lead new initiatives such as training and education, government compliance, routing, collections, service management, public service, etc as well as spending a year and a half in the sales department. He continues to wear many hats, and at the present moment he is the manager of education in charge of training the new technicians and office staff, as well as filling in as a backup service manager in a pinch.
Bern is a US Navy veteran and holds a Master of Science in Education degree from Lehman College. He is certified in seven specific categories in New York State as a pesticide applicator. He is a nuisance wildlife trapper & wildlife rehabilitator in New York, and is a certified pesticide applicator in five states. He is the first employee to achieve Associated Certified Entomologist status at Arrow.
Bern has played an indispensable role in the development of Arrow over the years, and is clearly proud of his accomplishments. Over time the company has undergone many changes, and he repeatedly identified improvements that needed to be made and stepped up to the plate to take charge of those developments. Mr. Stegman had correctly assessed his character 25 years ago. Bern Wendell is an innovator whose love of learning and educating others have served the company well.