In Memoriam: Harvey L. Massey

Industry leader Harvey Massey built Orlando-based Massey Services into one of the largest pest control businesses in the country and gave back to the pest control industry on numerous fronts, including as one of the founders of the Professional Pest Management Alliance.

Harvey Massey
Harvey L. Massey
Massey Services
WINTER PARK, Fla. – The pest control industry mourns the loss of Harvey L. Massey, founder and chairman of Massey Services, Orlando, Fla. Massey passed away on Jan. 24, at 81. In addition to building Massey Services into one of the largest pest control companies in the country, Massey gave back to the pest control industry in countless ways, including as a founder of the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA). He was also a renowned philanthropist and community leader in the Orlando area.
 
A native of Melville, La., Massey’s humble roots included growing up in a one-bedroom home. After school and on weekends, Massey often worked with his father at the family’s ice business and with his grandfather at his general store.
 
In 1963, the same year he married wife Carol, he went to work as a salesman for Orkin. In quick succession, he went from salesman to sales manager to branch manager to district manager and finally, in 1974, at the age of 32, he became the youngest vice president in Orkin history.
 
Massey moved to Terminix in 1979, accepting a position as senior vice president/operations. During his six years at Terminix, the company increased sales revenues from $42.5 million to nearly $100 million.
 
As Massey recalled in a profile of him when he received the Horatio Alger award, "At Orkin, I had the opportunity to work for some truly talented people and learned the fundamental aspects of running a successful consumer services business," he says. "At Terminix, where I again worked with talented people, I learned a great deal about the financial components and acquisition strategy of running a national consumer services business."
 
In 1985, Massey purchased Walker Chemical & Exterminating Co. (founded in 1930 by the late Joe P. Walker) from Walker’s son and widow, who were running the company at the time. Massey paid $4 million for the firm. In 2022, Massey Services generated revenues of more than $350 million with more than 2,800 team members. The business now operates under the leadership of Harvey's son, Tony Massey, president and CEO of Massey Services.
 
Massey Services. In a press release from Massey Services, the company noted that Harvey Massey "never aspired to creating the biggest company…he simply wanted to be the best: to take care of customers and team members; to value relationships with vendors; to give back to our communities and the industry; and to challenge ourselves to find innovative solutions for our environment." He was immensely proud of Massey Services’ team members for their unending commitment and dedication to the company he created.   
 
“Total Customer Satisfaction.” In the early 90s Massey was the first in the industry to offer a money back guarantee. He believed that if you told the customer you were going to do something, you did it; if not, they deserved their money back. He was accessible to any and all customers who contacted Massey Services with a concern…and elected to keep his telephone number public.  
 
The Importance of Giving Back. An unwavering philanthropist, Harvey and Carol formed the Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation in 2014 to solidify their commitment to being contributing members of their community. When asked why philanthropy is important, he would reply, “Philanthropy, at its best, is about caring, sharing, and giving back. When you think about it, aren’t these the attributes and qualities we all respect and admire?” He believed Winston Churchill said it best, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. In other words, you can’t go through life with catcher’s mitts on both hands…sooner or later you have to throw something back.”  
 
Massey’s faith was his compass that guided him in the right direction.  Not surprisingly, his favorite saying was, “Blessed are those who can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.”   
 

Leadership. Massey was a renowned leader in the pest management industry and pillar in the community. He served on the board of directors of the National Pest Management Association and was the first chairman of the Professional Pest Management Alliance, which serves as the public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Since 1997, PPMA has been successfully marketing the value of professional pest control to consumers, resulting in positive exposure for the structural pest management industry and the growth of residential and commercial markets.

“Mr. Massey was an industry pioneer whose vision launched the Industry Awareness Council, which grew into what is now — the Professional Pest Management Alliance," said PPMA Executive Director Jim Fredericks. "His leadership and passion for PPMA helped drive the pest control industry toward higher levels of professionalism and consumer awareness. We are forever grateful for him, for his years of service on the PPMA Board of Directors and for the contributions he’s made to making this industry both stronger and more respected.”

In 2018, Massey was recognized with the NPMA Pinnacle Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry.

Massey also gave tirelessly of his time and expertise in the community and served on numerous boards, including Board of Governors for Stetson University, Board of Directors of Pontifical Irish College of Rome, Italy, Board of Directors for Florida Citrus Sports, Orlando Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida, and Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. In 2016, he received the prestigious Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award in Washington D.C.   

Family. Massey leaves a legacy of service, care, and accomplishments. He was a man known for his thoughtful leadership, drive, and compassion. He was a mentor to many, a friend to all and a beloved husband, father and grandfather.  
 
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol Massey; their three children: Angela Rignanese (husband Shane), Tony Massey (wife Jann) and Andrea Massey-Farrell (husband James); their ten grandchildren (Kallie, Sean, Ashley, Ryan, Colin, Bryan, Jackson, Aidan, Ethan, and Edward).  
 

Funeral services will be held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. where Harvey’s life and generosity will be celebrated. 

Source: Massey Services, with additional reporting from Brad Harbison

Editor's note: PCT will be updating this story with remembrances of Harvey Massey from industry colleagues.

 

Remembrances

I will miss my dear friend Harvey, since I have known him since the 1960’s when we were both young district managers with Orkin. I was a district manager out in the western US and Harvey, although not yet a district manager was in the Midwest.

We were both by far the youngest “up and comers“ in the Rollins organization. We communicated regularly, by phone, since there was none of today’s means of communication. Of course we’d see each other at company meetings. Harvey and I had a special longtime relationship.

Harvey was always a person of high integrity and a people-first kind of guy. He cared so much about his associates and their families going way back when we worked together. This continued through his development of Massey Services into a powerhouse company that operated in so many states.

He has left his company in very good hands with those leaders that he developed, investing in them his leadership and character traits.

I am very respectful and mindful of my relationship with Harvey and his family. May his memories be a blessing for us all. — Norman Goldenberg, industry consultant

Harvey Massey was a big picture thinker and a visionary. He deserves the primary credit for the concept of the Industry Awareness Council (IAC) which ultimately became  the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA). 

My most significant memory of Harvey was a three-day trip with him and four other industry leaders, Norm Goldenberg, Bobby Jenkins, Cindy Mannes and Glen Rollins in the very earliest days of the IAC. During that time, I learned of Harvey’s belief in our industry, his insight in business matters and commitment to his company’s co-workers.

We visited the major manufacturers to gain their support, flying throughout the U.S. on the jet generously provided by the Rollins family. Harvey was the group’s primary spokesman and I can still hear him giving pretty much the same speech a half dozen times, always using the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats.” How right he was! Sadly, we’ve lost a valuable industry leader and a gentleman. But, we’re left with his legacy of leadership, including a very fine company and his son Tony who is following in his father’s footsteps. — Victor Hammel, chairman, Rentokil North America

Truly a great man that has done a lot for our industry, rest in peace Harvey. — Doug Longfellow, NaturZone Pest Control

Mr. Massey was such an amazing leader, mentor, friend, philanthropist, husband and father. I’m thankful to have shared many precious moments with him after I lost my father. He and my dad, Gene Higginbotham, we’re cut from the same cloth. — Laurie Higginbotham, CEO/President, American Pest Control

I was so sorry to hear about this today. Harvey was a friend. He was also a good man and a great American. Having lunches with him in his office was a real treat. A generous and gracious man. You can also tell a lot about someone when you know their children and Harvey and Carol have a great family. Harvey will be missed by many. His impact for good goes way beyond our industry. God bless the Masseys in a special way at this time. — Greg Clendenin, industry consultant

Mr. Massey was a force of nature and truly one-of-a-kind who we consider a Founding Father of PPMA. He always felt that a “rising tide lifted all boats” and that is how he lived his life. He helped guide this industry into a new era of professionalism and so much more. He was a titan in this industry whose shoulders we have all stood upon and whose legacy will last for many generations still to come. — NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf

 

 

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