Our Story

Protecting Your Home Since 1956

Where it all Began

Phil Olavarri, one of our company's founders, was a pilot in the European theater in World War II. He and thousands of other servicemen came to know well the slogan of the war — "Kilroy was here" as it was drawn by Americans upon convenient services across Europe (early graffiti!). When Phil and his wife, Norma, were looking for a name for their new pest control business in 1956, they realized the little man looking over the fence proclaiming "Kilroy was here!" was a popular and well-known figure of that time.

Phil and Norma retired in the late 1980s, and the company was then managed by Dennis Merrill, a Campbell native who shared Phil's interest in insects.

Dennis was an entomologist, and a graduate of San Jose State University. He and Phil also had a mutual love of golf. During the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, Dennis and his wife, Dennie, shared ownership responsibilities with Phil and Norma's daughter, Lynn, and her husband, Richard Schmidt. Now the original owner, Phil Olavarri, can again be seen regularly at Killroy, as Lynn and Richard have taken the helm. The business is back in the family!

How the Phrase "Kilroy Was Here" Got Started

It was during the sad days of WWII that Jim Kilroy started chalking his slogans at a shipyard near Boston. Jim was the original Kilroy.

Jim Kilroy wrote how he was inspired to write his now celebrated slogans: "I spent most of my time carefully surveying every inner bottom and tank before issuing a contract. I was thoroughly upset to find that practically every test leader I met wanted me to go down and look over his job with him, and when I complained that I had already checked out the job and could not spare the time to crawl through one of those tanks again with him, he would accuse me of not having looked the job over at all. I was getting sick of being accused of not looking the jobs over, so one day, as I came through the man-hole of a tank I had just surveyed, I angrily marked in crayon on the tank top, where the tester could see it, 'Kilroy Was Here!' The following day, a test gang leader approached me with a grin on his face, and said 'I see you looked my job over...'"

Our Team of Technicians

30 employees with over 350 years of combined experience in pest control.

We are small enough to pay special attention to the unique needs of your Bay Area home or business, but we are large enough that our technicians can communicate and work together as a problem-solving team to tackle almost any pest control situation.

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