National Pest Awards Pest Controller of the Year 2022

News (United Kingdom)

Syngenta Profesional Solutions is the Principal Sponsor of the National Pest Awards. Find out more about the Awards here.

Nominations for National Pest Awards Pest Controller of the Year 2022 are:

Stefan Polatajko, Pest Solutions

Stefan Polatajko joined Pest Solutions in October 2019, at the age 36, as a service technician. He had been working as a multi-drop driver for seven years until 2014, when his role was made redundant.

Stefan Polatajko

Stefan used his redundancy payment to self-fund training, via BPCA, to achieve the RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management.

He progressed in gaining new skills and undertaking training working towards the Level 3 Advanced Technician in Pest Management and started to look after high care sites.

At Pest Solutions, Stefan undertook a fast-track training programme and achieved his Level 3 Advanced Technician in Pest Management in 2020.

Stefan said: “To be shortlisted as a finalist is an absolutely outstanding achievement and shows what is possible when you work hard and do your best.”

Pest Solutions logo

Chris Cagienard, managing director of Pest Solutions, added: “We expect Stefan to move into the role of assistant technical manager, preparing to assume the technical manager role when it’s required to split, due to the growth of the business.”


Matthew Shaw, Vergo

Matthew Shaw’s pest control career started in 2002 as a trainee technician for Rentokil.

Matt Shaw

During his time there, he gained knowledge and experience in several aspects of pest control and, over the next four years, progressed to an area supervisor.

Unfortunately, in September 2007, his role was made redundant, but he was lucky enough to secure a role as a technician for Eagle/Mitie Pest Control the following month.

“I am passionate and dedicated to my work and goals," highlighted Matt.

"I always look forward to heading to work every morning and night on occasions. I am an analytical thinker – I can identify and define problems, extract key information, and develop workable solutions for the issues identified to test and verify the cause of the problem and develop solutions to resolve them.”

Vergo Pest Control logo

Matt said he was “gobsmacked” when he found out that he had been shortlisted for this year’s awards.

“Winning this award would be recognition of knowing what I have done is right,” he added.


James Wood, Beaver Pest Control

Category Winner tag

James Wood is technical training and compliance manager at Beaver Pest Control.

James Wood

He started as a foot technician covering accounts in Central London and after two years as a technician working on foot, he progressed to be a service manager, before heading up technical training at Beaver.

He currently runs the RSPH level 2 award qualification from Beaver’s office in South London. “I manage our accredited sites which includes compliance

to BRC and M&S specifications,” James said. “Most importantly I now operate in an intrinsically valuable position where I support employees from all departments, including sales, account management, technical, corporate, residential, right up to the directors.”

Beaver Pest Control logo

In his current role, he is responsible for providing RSPH Level 2 training to new technicians and external candidates in Beaver’s RSPH training centre.

“I believe that pest management is as much about the mitigation of pest risk initially as it is about physically removing a pest infestation,” James said.

He added: “It would mean a great deal to me to win this award and would be recognition of my work in this sector.”