Shelby Magnuson-Hawkins has two degrees from Brigham Young University. She has a BS in Social Science and a BS in Recreation Education, minored in Physical Education and Geology. This background would later serve her in her quest to “build a better mouse trap” and pave a route for success in business.
Shelby was born and raised in Farmington, Minnesota. One of the jokes Minnesotans say is the state bird is actually the mosquito. Bugs rule during the summer months there. Once when she was about 5 or 6 she went hunting with her dad in the forests around their home town. Upon returning from the trip, it was discovered ticks had fallen on her head and became embedded in her scalp. In order to get these critters out, her long blonde hair had to be cut, and the ticks had to be burned out of her head. It was at that moment, it was her against the insect population. To stress more about this point, when Shelby had started first grade her teacher wrote a note to her parents and wanted to know why Shelby was always late for school in the mornings when they only lived 6 blocks from the elementary school. One day her father followed behind her to school. What he discovered was Shelby would stop at every ant hill along the way to step on them. The only solution to this problem was to get her out the door for school at least 15 minutes before she would normally go. Shelby’s father knew that once she got an idea in her head, it wasn’t going to go away. Asking her to quit messing with the ant hills was not an option.
Fast forward. Shelby decided to transfer to Brigham Young University after developing a strong interest in Geology. She wanted to see and study the big rocks out west. After seeing an article in the school news paper about learning how to scuba dive, she decided to learn this sport. The only problem with this goal was Shelby did not know how to swim. Remember when she gets an idea in her head, just get out of her way. After scuba diving in many areas around the U.S. she noticed there were reefs close to the shores, especially in Key West, Fl.
In 1978 Shelby and her husband moved to Tucson, Arizona. Her husband got a job as a termite inspector, Shelby got a job as a social worker with an organization called COPE. While pregnant with their second child, her husband would come home and tell her stories about how he found termites in a home. After a few months of being back in social work, the termite industry seem to become more attractive to her, certainly more interesting and paid a great deal more too.
After studying the habits of the termite and anything else she could read about them, Shelby became the first woman termite inspector in the state. Her background/skills in gymnastics paid off too. She was the only inspector who could inspect very tight, small crawl spaces under homes with crawl spaces.
Shelby received her license in 1980. She also gave birth to their third child that year. A year later a divorce occurred and Shelby decided to continue the business and support her children. In 1987, Nov. 30th and April 15th of 1988, chlordane was taken off the market. The termite industry experienced a rash of re-treatments on the termite work we had performed, this had never happened before. Shelby went into high gear to solve these problems, that is when she met the expert in termite research in the industry, Dr. Roger Gold of Texas A&M.
What was born from this friendship was the idea of above ground application. After a great deal of success with this method Shelby was hired by Raytheon to treat the structures on an Air Force based located on Johnston Atoll in 1995. Within a short four months, Shelby was able to rid the island of the Formosan Termites and many of the other insects that had plagued the island for over 40 years and doing this all under the watchful eye of two fish and wild life agents assigned to the island by our government. It was here Shelby was encouraged by many of the leaders of the island to patent this method. She received this patent on September 18, 2001.