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DAA: David K. Mueller

David K. Mueller


Westfield, IN


David K. Mueller graduated from Purdue in 1975 with a B.S. in Entomology. He is president of two related companies: Insects Unlimited, Inc. and Fumigation Service and Supply, Inc. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: His favorite Purdue memory: “I remember walking across campus one day and realizing that I was attending one of the best universities in the country. That was an awesome feeling-that I was walking among the best. In the area of pest control, when you say you graduated from Purdue, it is automatically a very prestigious thing.” His favorite professor: “One of my professors, John V. Osmun, was very influential in my career and education. I dedicated my book to him because he was a friend to me and to other students. He’s still at the university as a professor emeritus, and we stay in touch. From time to time we go up to the Sagamore Room and have lunch, and I get notes from him about things he thinks will interest me. It’s nice, in such a large university, to have that kind of one-on-one contact with a full professor.” On choosing entomology: “I started out in Biology and Environmental Science. Part of the curriculum was Introduction to Entomology, and I just fell in love with it. I use my Entomology degree every day. Often I come to work and there’s a box on my desk and someone wants to know what kind of insect it is. The most important thing Purdue gave me was a degree that gave me the knowledge and confidence to go forward.” On applying his knowledge: “My work with stored-product protection is really varied, because it can apply to anything from farm bins to museum exhibits. I like working with museums to protect their treasures. The Field Museum in Chicago, for example, has 16 million items, and most of them are attractive to insects. I take a pest management approach, something I learned at Purdue. I start with the insect first and then work backwards to find an environment that it can’t survive in. It will then leave or die.” On his early life experiences: “I was a 95-pound wrestler in high school, so I had to do something else to carve my niche. I was an Eagle Scout, and was also active in Student Council throughout high school, and those activities developed my leadership abilities. Now I help with my sons’ Scout troop and with their wrestling teams at school.” On his philosophy of life: “My philosophy of life is also the first article of the mission statement of my company: “Be Daring, Be Innovative, Be Fair.” On his favorite honor: “For several generations, methyl bromide has been used as a fumigant, but it is a serious ozone depleter. I have been active in looking for an alternative for methyl bromide. I recently received the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the Environmental Protection Agency for the work I did in this area and I’m proud of that-of daring to stick my nose out and tell a story that wasn’t popular.” On his future: “I try to focus on being the best in my field. I attend a lot of meetings, and try to make sure I’m where there are things going on that will keep me informed. Dr. Osmun had one saying that I remember: ‘We need to educate rather than regulate.’ I agree with that, and so I do a lot of training and educational programs both nationally and internationally.” On his biggest work accomplishment: “My most important accomplishment as a businessman is making payroll 894 times in a row. My companies have 20 regular full-time employees, and also seasonal help during the summer, and we hire a lot of Purdue students and graduates. But if you don’t pay them, they don’t come back.” Booklet highlights/Mueller Education B.S., Entomology, Purdue University, 1975 Career President, Insects Unlimited, Inc. and Fumigation Service and Supply, Inc. Honors and Associations Board Certified Entomologist (B.C.E.) Member, Pi Chi Omega Member, Entomological Society of America Officer, Ohio Valley Entomological Association Family David Mueller’s wife, Mary Beth, works with him in their businesses. They have three children: Peter, 15, is a Westfield High School varsity heavyweight wrestler, and for several years held the record in Purdue’s Bug Bowl cricket spitting contest. Tom, 12, is also a wrestler, and has “the biggest heart in the world,” according to his father. Frances, 10, is the child most likely to be a successful business person. All enjoy the outdoors and looking at the insects they find there. Display quote/Mueller “My most important accomplishment as a businessman is making payroll 894 times in a row. My companies have 20 regular full-time employees, and also seasonal help during the summer, and we hire a lot of Purdue students and graduates. But if you don’t pay them, they don’t come back.”