Bernard Stegman started Arrow Exterminating in 1947 with just $3.50. The 28-year-old had returned from serving as an Army Air Force officer in World War II to complete a mechanical engineering degree at New York City College. But a career in mechanical engineering no longer seemed appealing, so instead he joined a friend’s exterminating company, hoping this business would be “Depression-proof.” A short time later that friend gave him everything he needed to start his own business. Stegman bought business cards with that $3.50 and set out on his own.
As Long Island grew after the war, Arrow thrived. Stegman imbued the company with his own personal ethos—to do whatever necessary to take care of customers, to always be available, to do the best work. He learned as much as possible, seeking out knowledge wherever he could, and he was always willing to pass that knowledge on to others who needed it.
In 1952, Stegman helped to found the Long Island Pest Control Association, and created the association’s education program, leading one industry insider to call him “the father of the industry on Long Island.”
The company has grown to employ more than 100 people, and to be one of the largest and most successful pest control firms in the New York area. Clients have included the Long Island Rail Road, the state Department of Transportation and the U.S. Postal Service.
Arrow has always been a family environment. The staff is a valuable, close-knit team who receive countless hours of training. Stegman’s own family—his wife and two daughters—have been part of the business as well.
And now Stegman’s daughters—Debby Tappan and Jackie Grabin—are proud to carry on the family tradition. “My dad gave us not only business training, but taught us his philosophy as well,” says Grabin. “He taught us to be generous, honest, kind, professional. In this day and age, I think that makes Arrow unique from so many others. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”