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EmployABILITY Champion: AMEN Pest Control

AMEN Pest Control, based in Santa Monica, provides residential and commercial pest control services. Owner George Blackwell and Nichole Blackwell, Director of Human Resources and Accounts Payable, sat down with us to celebrate their company’s new status as an EmployABILITY Champion and learn what that means to them.

The AMEN Pest Control team with their logo

How did you start your business?

George Blackwell: We started AMEN in October 2013. It’s hard to believe we’ve been in business for 10 years! I have worked in the industry since high school. While I was working for other people, I always felt like I was meant to have my own pest control company. After getting married and having our kids, we took the leap. I quit my job (while Nichole was pregnant, so we really took a chance) and opened AMEN Pest Control. I did the actual pest control work and Nichole handled all the office work. From that beginning, we grew and hired other employees. We now have nine trucks in the field and five administrative employees in the office. It wasn’t always easy, but we’re proud of where we are now.  

How did COVID affect your business? 

Nichole Blackwell: You know, COVID was an interesting moment for us. We know other businesses really suffered during COVID, and it was a difficult time for us because our business necessitates that we go into homes and businesses. But what we found was that new opportunities opened up because our customers were looking for disinfectant services. So, we pivoted to offer those services. We were also able to keep offering our exterior pest control services during that time too.  It really was a lesson in being adaptable to the circumstances and being open to how we can be of service to our community.

An AMEN Pest Control fumigation tent

How do you plan to use EmployABILITY Business Grant funds to grow your business?

George Blackwell: We’re using the funds to hire individuals with disabilities; our goal is to have 16% of our workforce be individuals with disabilities. We’re also purchasing equipment that will be accessible for all of our employees to use. The other big thing is that we’re going to bring in a consultant who will help us with disability inclusion. It’s important to us to do this with integrity and learn all we can to be inclusive. 

Two AMEN Pest Control team members at an expo

What does it mean to you to be an EmployABILITY Champion? 

Nichole Blackwell: For us, receiving this grant means that we can pursue the goals of our company: partnerships, integrity, and offering everyone a seat at the table. No matter what, we will make sure our employees have what they need to do their jobs by being open-minded and open-handed.

For more information on AMEN Pest Control, visit


Image by Nick Karvounis

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