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Living the dream as the epitome of a bug geek and global pest control authority

Wednesday 3rd July 2024

Dealey Environmental is a second-generation family business which started with its founder being sacked for insubordination. Not the most traditional start to a business, perhaps, but one that fits perfectly with their slightly eccentric approach. Martin Cobbald, heading up Dealey, is passionate, and happy to be called geeky, about all things bugs. His ambition is to solve world food waste from pests.

With a culture based on knowledge being king, geekiness is to be embraced, and to laugh at yourself as you learn from mistakes, it is no wonder that Dealey has the largest fumigation team in the UK and has the reputation of being the leading industry expert.


Origin of the name

In 1956, Dr Dealey started what we know today, as Dealey Environmental, which was originally based around wood-boring insects and timber treatments. During his work, he came across Henry Cobbald, a grain merchant in East Anglia. Sharing a similar work ethic and approach, plus a love of everything insect-related, they worked together well and built a strong network and reputation.

When Dr Dealey decided to retire, he offered Henry the opportunity to buy Dealey, and the rest, as they say, is history. The offer expanded to include fumigation to protect grain from pest infestation.


The next generation joins

When asked at the age of 9 if he would be interested in taking on the family business, Martin answered yes. Without really thinking of the entrepreneurial poverty, and what that would mean in reality. Getting involved in the business over the summer holidays as a teenager, Martin learnt the business from the ground up. After a brief three-year “holiday” at university, it seemed a natural progression when Martin took over the leadership of the business in 2009.

With Dr Dealey’s hand and typewritten notes still used as a source of expert advice, Martin has experienced growing the business from being pretty much a one-man-band to now having a team of 25.


Dealey Environmental

With the acquisition and merging of two companies, Dealey Environmental was created in 2017. Each team member is encouraged to elevate their geekiness, developing a deep and narrow well of knowledge in their chosen area of specialism. The service portfolio has grown from its origins in commodity care, to include fumigation, pest control, falconry, instrumentation and artefact preservation.

More recently, growth has not only been in the services offered. The geographical area covered has expanded from East Anglia, across the Midlands. Additionally, the acquisition of two additional pest control companies in 2022, MIDS Pest Control and Countywide Pest Control, provides the foundation for UK wide provision, and a constantly growing skills base within the team.

Martin has led the Fumigation and Controlled Environments Committee for five years, with Dealey Environmental having a regular nationwide presence for fumigation consultancy.


Dealey’s belief in preserving nature

The team at Dealey take a slightly different approach to pest control, and this comes from the top. They care about the environment meaning they will always use the least evasive method possible to manage pest problems.

Dealey use nature to fight nature and rebalance the environment where human actions have resulted in a pest issue. For example, where human waste and construction create a perfect environment for birds who would not normally live there and cause a health risk, birds of prey introduce a natural predator to encourage the birds to move through fear not fatalities. No chemicals. No damaging products are introduced to the environment. A safe, natural, method to deter and eradicate pests.

Martin believes in educating clients and creating an environment to deter pests in the first place. The team do not see pest control as killing pests but preventing them from inhabiting somewhere they are not wanted in the first place.


Knowledge is King

If you are looking for a ringer for your pub quiz team, Martin is your man. With a brain that soaks up stats, data and information like a sponge soaks up water, Martin loves constantly learning and improving his knowledge. An approach which filters down through the team, and the company. When you meet Martin, you find a very modest man, who looks for the joy in life.  

He never stops learning and seeking out better solutions, which has resulted in his reputation as the global “go-to” authority for fumigation and pest control.


Future Plans

With a fifth of the world’s food production being lost to pests, the impact not only on world famine but also on greenhouse emissions and environmental impact is significant. In fact, so significant that it puts post-harvest food loss as the third biggest contribution to greenhouse emissions, after China and the USA. With those stats, it is no wonder Dealey is on a fantastic growth path. With a robust strategy and business plan in place for the next five years, the vision is to achieve international delivery whilst maintaining the quality of service delivery and client relationships that is provided by a regional family business.


Solving world food waste from pests

Martin is passionate about pests. A total geek. He is determined to be the most knowledgeable and seek new solutions not for his own gain, but to solve world food issues. That determination and belief inspire the team and keep a great energy and drive in the company.


Love what you do, have fun, and laugh at yourself

Not quite the official vision and mission statement of the company, but it sums it up pretty well. Martin’s approach is to trust people and treat them with respect. His team is in charge of themselves encouraging ownership, dedication and buy-in. Mistakes are made – the combination of people, animals, insects, birds and the environment are going to result in mistakes occasionally. The Dealey approach is to acknowledge those mistakes, own them, learn and move on.

Following Dr Dealey’s approach of knowledge is king, everyone is encouraged to constantly learn, develop and improve skills, making the team the leading UK fumigation and pest control team.

Dealey’s success can be attributed to embracing technology, industry developments and new solutions, whilst making sure that everyone in the team loves what they do, and provides the very best they can for each customer.

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01359 269713