Issue 1 » As Gentle As a Butterfly
SUE FRIES: A STUDY IN WISDOM & JOIE DE VIVRE
By LaRue Palmer
Sue Fries is an award-winning author, public speaker, and syndicated talk radio host. She’s also a successful business owner, competitive dancer, and still finds time to be a mom.
When you discover your home is plagued with rats, termites, bugs, and other insects the first thing you think of is the safety of your family. You want to rid your home of these pests but you want your loved ones to be safe so you’d do well to find a company that in addition to offering all the traditional extermination products offers non-chemical and low toxicity treatments as well. That company is ECOLA Termite and Pest Control Services and owned by Sue Fries. “We individualize our treatments to what the home-owner feels comfortable with. If they are okay with the strongest chemicals we’ll use those, if they want an effective treatment that uses non-chemical or low toxicity then we’ll use that.
Before we discuss how ECOLA is one of the most effective pest control companies in southern California let’s get to know this incredible woman, Sue Fries.
Truth be known, Sue Fries, a working mom in a man’s world of termite and pest control and is a force to be reckoned with. Although her son and daughter are fully grown (son Tyson works with his mom), they manage to maintain a very close relationship where Fries rarely misses a teaching opportunity. All the more reason why she was selected to represent the wisdom perspective of Wealth | Wisdom | Wellness.
“My employees are my ministry and are very important to me because they are the ones taking care of our customers.”
A proponent of sound training and a nurturer by nature, Sue is known for caring. Her employees must meet her high standards and maintain a positive attitude for customer service. There have been instances where she found the ideal person for a specific job but they couldn’t pass the required test. Case in point, one of her employees failed his first qualification test, but she pushed him and he studied hard and passed! “He’s now my service manager and a very nice young man. He loves his mom, and his mom loves me. I will go to the grave caring too much. I’m fine with that,” said Fries.
Impacting the Industry
A strong business and marketing acumen has served Fries well, as she’s gone from answering phones and doing data entry when she first started the business with her former husband Scott years ago, to now running a multi-million-dollar company on her own. She is also a Director of Pest Control Operators of California. Sue tells us, “Some issues have come up so I asked them to make me a Director again because I’ve gotta have a voice. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them. I make my living serving wonderful families and as a mother family’s health and safety is very important me.” To that issue, Fries spent 20 years in the pest control company industry learning the specific needs and concerns of the homemakers, the wives, and mothers of the household. They were the gatekeepers who protected the home from pest invasions; they were cautious about chemicals in pesticides being used where the family might be adversely affected. Being a mother, Fries intrinsically understood these concerns, and came to pioneer a different perspective that would serve the needs of the woman of the house. She used this insight to her advantage and established a connection that would dictate her marketing strategy and revolutionize the industry. Today, the industry has come to realize the importance of environment-friendly pest control and that the woman of the house in many cases is the face of their customer base. It was Sue Fries and ECOLA who first saw the light. The Termite Lady gets it!
ECOLA’s territory spans a large swath of California covering all of Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, and San Diego. “We are always hiring.” She announces. She is keen on hiring veterans whenever she can because she wants to show her appreciation for their service and because they tend to be more disciplined than most people.
Sue is well known as the Termite Lady of ECOLA Termite and Pest Control Services, proponent of environmentally friendly methods of termite and pest extermination. Her company’s slogan, “Powerful Termite and Pest Control as Gentle as a Butterfly” rings true, because whether in a commercial or residential setting, the humans don’t have to check into a hotel until the bugs are gone and the toxic chemicals dissipate.
Rather, the ECOLA team are experts in the use of non-chemical and low-toxicity Alternative Termite Treatments such as ECOLA heat, electro-gun, microwave, borates (salt treatments), EcoSmart products or precision injection. For over 30 years ECOLA inspectors have been individualizing treatment solutions that minimize chemical use and the hassle of solving your termite problem.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.”
They don’t just rid your home of termites they eradicate all pests, bugs, bees, rats and rodents. Rats and mice can enter through tiny openings in your home or business. That’s why ECOLA doesn’t believe just killing them with traps is an appropriate solution to keep rodents outdoors where they belong. Instead, they utilize the best non-chemical method of rat and mice control – rodent exclusions. Rodent exclusion is designed to identify and correct potential entry points into your home or multi-tenant complex.
ECOLA Services is proud to offer EcoSmart products as an alternative to traditional spray chemicals. Now common pests like ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, and crickets, can be treated without the use of harsh chemicals. With no known pest resistance to EcoSmart’s botanical active ingredients, EcoSmart provides for a quick knockdown and control of insect pests.
A Ministry of Service
A devout Christian, Fries views her company as a ministry. She started with 30 employees when she first bought the company and now employs 85, and most of that original group of 30 are still with the company. She earned her street credibility by donning a pair of coveralls and crawling into the attics of homes doing exactly what the technicians did so that she could know her business inside out. Fries is the epitome of a servant leader, one who would never ask her staff to do anything that she herself was not willing to do. When asked what her spiritual gifts were, she replied simply, “I’m a servant at heart, and we’re called to serve one another.”
Sue is humble, and plays down the fact that she packs more into one day than most do in a week. In addition to running ECOLA, Sue is an internationally renowned competitive dancer, author, and public speaker, has a TV show on LA36.org, and is a syndicated radio talk show host heard on these stations:
- KUHL (Santa Maria) 1440am on Sundays at 10am
- KPRZ (San Diego) 1210am Saturdays at 4pm
- KDAR (Ventura) 98.3fm Saturdays at 5pm
- KKLA (Los Angeles) 99.5fm Saturdays at 6pm
You can find more information at www.suefries.com.
Words of Wisdom
As our time came to a close, we felt compelled to ask Sue if she would share a few words of wisdom. Again, Sue showed humility offering some personal and painful lessons she learned.
“My advice to working moms – be present. I had to learn that the hard way. I was at Magic Mountain standing in line with my kids, and my cell phone was glued to my ear because I was putting out fires at work while pretending to be on an outing with my kids. My daughter Tiana took my phone away from me because she felt I was ignoring our family. She said, ‘Mom, you said you wanted to be with us, but you’re not; you’re here but you’ve been on the phone the whole time!’ That was a big life changing moment for me. I realized I had to be present when I’m with my kids. So, from that point on I just turn my phone off when I’m with my kids.”
Her voice softened as she shared a more personal story, “I’ve had some painful life lessons. Some events were my own choices and there were consequences for my choices. For instance, I had an abortion. I’m not happy about it; not proud of it at all. But I’m forgiven, and I have God’s grace. And I’ve used that life lesson to help other women.” Sue was on the Board of Directors for the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Simi Valley where she volunteered. Which brings us to Sue’s plans for 2017. Jeremiah 29:11 is Fries’ scripture passage for 2017: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The future looks bright for Sue Fries and ECOLA. In the next few years she looks forward to owning a ranch shelter for abused women and children, and continuing her radio and TV show ministries. Sue’s mission is the pursuit of passion, purpose, and connection to encourage and inspire people to understand and fulfill what God created them to do. And of course, keeping family’s homes healthy and safe from pests.
Yes, the Termite Lady Gets It!
Ecola Termite & Pest Control
Los Angeles and Corporate Office
15314 Devonshire Street
Mission Hills, CA 91345