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The Brains & The Brawn
by Kat Rowoldt
It is unusual, even in today’s culture, to find two partners in a business that are both women. San Angelo probably just has a handful at best. Their story began over thirty years ago when the teams they were playing softball in were paired up against one another in the late 70’s. Darlene was the pitcher and short stop, and Patsy was the hitter. Darlene, a former Marine, was determined to strike this hitter out. It must have been some game! They quickly decided that they needed to be on the same team because playing against one another wasn’t the best idea.
They became the best of friends and in fact, Darlene’s sisters adopted Patsy as one of their own. Darlene was married at the time and had a baby girl. She was working at a grocery store in Eldorado. One day the opportunity to purchase a store in Carlsbad became available and she asked Patsy if she’d like to partner in the deal. The answer was yes – and the working relationship began. Darlene was the brains – Patsy was the brawn. From day one they understood the different strengths that one another brought to the table and they had mutual respect for one another’s gifting.
That store was short-lived. Darlene headed off to work in a grocery store chain for about 3 years, moving up to manager and then regional manager. Patsy returned to her hometown in Balmorhea to help on the family ranch.
Darlene changed occupations and began working for Orkin, where she was on board there for about thirteen months before accepting a position with Terminex as Manager. She was with Terminex for 13 years, moving up to become their Regional Manager.
During this time, Patsy returned to San Angelo to become a coach and teacher. She spent four to five years at Christoval and some of the other surrounding area schools. Darlene made another move in the pest control business and became the Operations Manager with Lester Humphries office in Abilene and then ended up in Lubbock in 2003, purchasing Bug Express.
Through the various journeys they remained closed friends, or adopted sisters as the family would say. Somewhere along the line Darlene introduced Patsy to the bug business and Patsy became the “Technician of the Year” in 1996 for the entire nation. In 2003 they sold the business in Lubbock and Darlene and Patsy opened Bug Express in beautiful San Angelo in order to be home. Darlene had a growing interest in getting involved in the community. Once again, the brains and the brawn gifting defined their work roles in their new business venture.
The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce presented "Bug Express Pest Control" with "A Celebration of Our Diversity" Recognition Award on November 8, 2005. This is just one of many recognition awards and appreciation plaques that hang in their office today.
When asked about being women in what is traditionally known as a man’s industry, they both responded that they were told “that women can’t succeed in a man’s world.” That was just the catalyst they needed to prove those people wrong. What the men were telling them were the reasons they couldn’t succeed, they turned it around to their advantage. Interestingly, they actually discovered that being a woman was an advantage. They discovered that homeowners felt more comfortable having a woman coming into their home to treat bugs than a man, and many of them commented on that fact.
Darlene was raised in the home of good ole country folk that taught their kids morals and to always do the right thing, no matter what. She learned business from “instinct,” developing her natural gifting in that area for management. Being a sports lover, she owned the San Angelo Stampede indoor football team from 2004-2010. Today she enjoys being the Commissioner for the Texas Indoor Football League.
Patsy took her love for being hands-on and developed the work ethic that their company runs by. They are mindful of clients that have latch-key kids, honor the traditional rule that the customer is always right, and teach their techs to go the extra mile. For many of their clients who are up in years, they tend to have a few extra things for the techs to assist with while they are there, like: changing light bulbs, carrying in groceries, etc. Patsy says, “It’s about service. Promise a lot – but do more than promised. And always do what’s right.”
Today Bug Express has over 10,000 clients, have regular routes out of town and do not charge a trip charge, working a 150-200 mile radius from Kerrville to Abilene, and lots of ranches in-between. Having spent a few hours with them both, they are genuinely interested in what’s best for their customer. Patsy knows her bugs! Watch for regular articles in the Christian Reporter News, keeping you informed on the seasonal pests.
& Industrial Supply, Inc.
808 Warehouse Road
San Angelo, Texas 76903 325-655-0075
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.