Service Industry Executive Harvey E. Massey Speaks on Leadership

Jan 16, 2020

by Southern News

Chairman and CEO Harvey L. Massey of Massey Services, Inc., an established leader in the pest control industry, was a special guest speaker at the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College. In the course of his executive lecture, Massey shared a number of insights gained during more than 55 years of experience in public and privately owned companies.

“You can’t manage what you don’t know,” he said. “We know why people buy from us, we know why people don’t buy from us, and why people that did buy decided to quit. If you know that, you put yourself in a great position.”

Massey began his career with Rollins Inc. (now Orkin Pest Control) in 1963. He was steadily promoted to management and executive positions within the company, and later with Terminix International. In 1985, he bought an Orlando-based extermination company and renamed it Massey Services, Inc. The 55-year-old business, which was founded in 1930, had just four offices in central Florida.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Massey said, adding “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that truly counts.”

“The two years before I purchased the business, 1983 and 1984, the company did not make money; it lost money,” Massey said. “To date, we have expanded from four service centers to 142 service centers in seven states, and we are running approximately 1,900 vehicles a day, servicing 600,000 customers.”

Under his leadership, Massey Services has grown to become the largest privately held family company in the industry.

However, he warned those in attendance, “There isn’t any such thing as a permanent business model, because you and I never stop changing. Our wants, needs, and expectations never stop changing.”

Massey is a 2016 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, which recognizes inspiring individuals who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity.

“Mr. Massey represents the essence of success in our Free Enterprise system,” said Dr. James W. Fenton, Jr., dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. “He is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur who grew a weak business to become the fifth largest pest control company in the nation. You could not ask for a better role model for our students than what Harvey Massey represents.”

To close his lecture, Massey shared some favorite quotations from statesman Winston Churchill, whose philosophies have inspired him throughout his business career:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Massey said, adding “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that truly counts.”

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