Ion started working for Flick & Co in 1957. He had originally applied for a job in the technical team, but he was told there was no opening for him there. Instead they wanted to turn him into Flick’s ‘Commercial Division.’
Ion remembers that Flick were very keen on in-house training. They would receive four weeks of practical and theory based training before being ‘let loose’ on the public. They worried that sending new recruits on external courses would mean that they would learn all about the chemicals and then set up in business against them.
Ion was given a list of regular clients including the navy shore establishments, hospitals, chefs, hotels and even poultry farms.
As Ion was still looking for a technical job, he approached Houghton & Byrne and was offered the position of Technical Manager. His first job there was to develop insect repellents for the Houghton & Byrne product range.
It was at this time that Phil Hadlington approached Ion. Phil had been running a technical course at Sydney Technical College for three years without a text book. Phil asked Ion to help produce one. This was hand produced in 1961, reprinted in 1962 and remained the industry text book until 1985.
Around the time the text book was produced, Ion was appointed Secretary of the newly formed United Pest Control Association. He also started teaching at the Sydney Technical College specialising in teaching about pests, stored product pests, insecticide formulations and weed control.
Ion left the service industry in 1966 to join Coopers who were strong in insecticides. His first job there was to introduce their new synthetic pyrethoids to Australia.
While Ion was at Coopers, he helped to develop other State Associations and eventually they formed the Council of Australian Pest Control Associations.
In 1976, after 10 years with Coopers, Ion kept hearing stories of pest control companies having difficulties in buying their pesticides from pesticide manufacturers. He decided that what the industry needed was a one stop shop where pest controllers could buy their products. Ion’s original shop was in Cabarita, but because of its success, he was able to open branches at Kingswood and in Melbourne.
Ion says that the formation of associations was a defence against bad publicity but they also turned out to be vehicles to get the government to legislate so that improper activities could be weeded out and technicians could be better trained.
Ion says “the objectives I wrote for the AEPMA constitution sum up my feeling that the industry must focus on providing a service in the best interests of the Australian community which will ensure that the industry becomes even more relevant and stronger. That constitution encourages anyone and everyone to have a say in achieving this objective.”