Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators, the 7th largest pest management
company in the U.S, has been owned by the Thomas family for 49
years. The company was founded in 1964 by James S. (Starkey) Thomas
Sr. and his wife Imogene (Jean).
With Atlanta's housing boom, the tenacious couple immediately set
their sights on providing termite protection services to the new
construction market. They also built the business on the
belief that if they treated their employees with respect and as
extended family this would transcend to their customers. With this
philosophy Arrow began its rise to become the largest independent
termite and pest control company in Georgia.
Starkey and Jean's oldest son James (Joe) Thomas Jr. joined the
company in 1972 after graduating from the University of Tennessee
and worked diligently with his parents to create a first-class
organization. In 1978, at the age of 67, Starkey Thomas passed
away, leaving the reins in the able hands of Joe, who assumed the
leadership of Arrow as CEO. Joe, along with his brother
Barry, has led the company for the past 34 years.
The 1980 and 1990's were a time of rapid growth for Arrow both
internally and through the acquisition of other pest control
companies in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. During these
early acquisition years, Arrow's belief was to create a seamless
transition into the Arrow family for company owners, employees and
their customers. This philosophy has carried on for the past 30
years, with a total of 95 acquisitions to date.
The Arrow legacy is now in its
third generation. Emily Thomas (eldest daughter of Joe) followed in
the family footsteps, joining the company in 1998 after graduating
from Vanderbilt University. She worked tirelessly learning many
aspects of the business first hand. In 2002 Emily was
named COO, in 2008 was named President and COO and in 2010 was
named President & Chief Executive Officer.
Today, Arrow's vision of becoming one of the largest privately held
pest control companies in the nation is clearly within reach. The
company continues to expand both organically and through
acquisitions with revenues exceeding $125,000,000. Arrow continues
to be run by the Thomas family and remains dedicated to fulfilling
the dreams that Starkey and Jean Thomas had when they began the
journey 49 years ago.