Headquartered in Athens, Ga., American Pest Control is planning to celebrate its 50-year milestone with a year-long celebration.

On Nov. 15, the company’s 49th anniversary, it launched a new campaign called Operation 50/50. The community- and customer-oriented campaign will extend throughout the entire year, culminating in a celebration of the company’s 50th year in business.

Throughout 2021, American Pest will invite employees, customers and community members to join fundraisers, service projects and giveaways designed to thank the communities and patrons for the past 50 years of business.

The company’s initial goal is to end 2020 by surpassing 50 volunteer hours in 50 days. The first initiative of the new year will be a charity 5K hosted by American Pest. Each 50-day long campaign will be announced throughout the year at the company’s website Operation50-50.com.


Gene Higginbotham, founder of American Pest Control. PHOTO: AMERICAN PEST CONTROL

Gene Higginbotham, founder of American Pest Control. PHOTO: AMERICAN PEST CONTROL

American Pest Control was founded in 1971 by the late Gene Higginbotham, a native of Oconee County in northeast Georgia. Higginbotham worked for a national chain pest control company for several years, traveling with his family to work in cities across the United States. When he decided to branch out on his own, he and his family returned to Athens, Ga., to establish American Pest Control.

The first location was on Atlanta Highway just across the street from the Georgia Square Mall. Kathy Hollin and Doug Craft joined the company soon after the doors opened and remain employed with the company to this day.

Throughout the years, the company and its employees have celebrated numerous milestones. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, Higginbotham purchased companies in Rockdale, Ga., and Toccoa, Ga., and opened the first two branch offices.

There are now offices in Winder, Social Circle, Conyers, Greensboro, Washington, Hartwell, Toccoa and Clayton, Ga., in addition to the headquarters office in Athens.

In 1997, American Pest Control became one of the first authorized users of the Sentricon system. Higginbotham served on the panel to test and help develop the product in its early stages.

In 2001, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary by updating the logo and transitioning to the truck design that is now synonymous with the American Pest Control brand.

In 2006, Higginbotham was awarded a lifetime achievement award.

Higginbotham died in August 2015 after a battle with cancer. His children, Laurie and Scott Higginbotham, continue to run the company.

In 2016, the Gene Higginbotham Memorial Scholarship was founded in his honor. Since the program’s inception four years ago, American Pest Control has awarded a total of $124,000 to 94 students. This year, throughout Georgia and South Carolina, the company awarded 28 scholarships totaling $31,000. In 2021, the Gene Higginbotham Memorial Scholarship will award $1,971 in scholarships.

The company employs 137 people throughout eight offices in northeast Georgia and western South Carolina, and partners with more than 50 schools and community organizations.