A FALCONER is flying as high as his birds after launching his own business with soaring success.
Luke Summers founded Northern Pest Management in Autumn 2017, with an office base in Lees, to offer falconry services and pest management across the north.
He resigned from his previous job with NBC Environment to take the plunge on his own and six months down the line he has hit and surpassed his own expectations and targets.
Luke, 42, said: “I always had a vision of running my own business and I set myself a three-year plan after I qualified as a Field Biologist.
“I was going to buy a franchise but that didn’t quite work out so set up Northern Pest Management instead.
“Quite quickly I secured some big contracts, including national ones and also more local ones, and it’s a real privilege to undertake work for my clients.
“Winning contracts is a great feeling as you know they believe in your philosophy. I have developed my own pest management plan which can be tailored to clients.
“A lot of people approach pest control by just putting down poison – but I will look at what’s causing the problem and why, and then try to fix it.
“There is good competition out there in the sector so I am really pleased we’re winning so many contracts. It has just been a whirlwind.
“I was falconer at golf’s Open at Royal Birkdale, and got coverage on the BBC, Radio 5 Live, ABC America, NBC America, and Sky Sports, and the response from that was incredible.”
Luke’s ‘colleagues’ are Harris Hawks Cilas and Cash who help him out with pest management to deal with unwanted pigeons and gulls.
They are also the stars of the show when Luke, who originally worked in commercial insurance, pulls on his falconry gloves to take them out to shows and events.
“I love getting involved with the community and we’ve visited lots of schools, community events, the scouts and cubs, and football grounds,” explained Luke.
“The other side of the job – such as undertaking pigeon guam cleans or dealing with cockroaches or bedbugs – isn’t always so nice!”
And there is no escaping the birds at the end of the day as they live with Luke, allowing him to train and bond with them.
He added: “My typical day starts at 6.30am getting the birds up and fed and then we’re out working all day and don’t finish until 7.30pm, and we often work weekends well.
I quote for pest management contracts, undertake surveys, carry out pest management, fly the birds, and sometimes get down time in office to do all the paperwork.
“It’s hard work but I’m not complaining! It’s going very well and I seem to have found a niche in the marketplace.
“We’re really busy and I’m looking to recruit in the next few months. I would love to have an apprentice I can take on and teach in my way.”
Find out more online: northernpestmanagementco.uk or on Facebook and Instagram.