Congratulations to our own Wendell Codner, who was awarded the Committee Chairman’s Service Award from Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) in early January 2014. Wendell was honored for his eight years on the Programs and Membership Committee, two of them as committee chair.
We spoke with Wendell about the importance of volunteering:
First, you have an accent. Where are you from?
I grew up on a farm in St. Ann, Jamaica. I came to the United States for college and then joined FMC.
What’s your role at FMC?
Currently, I’m the Business Manager for Consumer Solutions for our Professional Solutions division. We sell active ingredients to consumer marketers like Scotts and Central Garden & Pet who in turn sell their branded products to the consumers through stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.
Why did you start volunteering with RISE?
I started working with RISE in 2006 after hearing a former president speak at an FMC meeting. I started on the Programs & Membership Committee, which works on member recruitment and retention as well as designing the program and speakers for the annual meeting. Now, I am co-chair of the Strategic Oversight Council, which has responsibility for the development and implementation of the RISE strategic plan.
Why is involvement important?
As an industry we have a message that needs to be heard so that everyone — regulators, lawmakers, the public — can be better educated about the chemical industry and its associated benefits. And we have to keep at it day after day, year after year. In this country, if you don’t get in front of the right person at the right time, nothing gets done.
What is RISE working on for 2014?
There is a lot of pending regulation that could affect the way pest managers and lawn care operators do business, either by limiting products or changing how and where they can be applied. RISE is supporting thoughtful and meaningful public policy around pest solutions technology and engages on issues at the local, state and federal level.
What other organizations do you support?
I am very active with the Caribbean Association of Southern New Jersey (CASNJ) and the Ole’ Farmers Association, North America (OFANA). Both organizations fund scholarships for students attending colleges and universities in the United States and at the College of Agriculture, Science & Education (CASE).
If someone wanted to get involved with RISE, what would you suggest?
If your company is a RISE member, there are a number of committees you can volunteer your time with. Committees meet throughout the year by conference calls as well as at the RISE annual meeting. You can also sign up for RISE Matters, a bi-monthly source of RISE activities at by contacting Allison Donaghy of RISE. Or, you may wish to get involved with the Grassroots Network, which advocates across all levels of government, possibly in your hometown. Contact the Grassroots Network for more information.