'Wrestling Gators' in Business

The CEO of a business on the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch list cites wrestling alligators as one of his responsibilities.

“I don’t like to wrestle them, but I do it,” said Kevin Clark, the founder and CEO of Critter Control, a Traverse City-based franchising business that calls itself “the nation’s leading wildlife control firm.”

The company, founded in 1983, has about 120 franchise locations nationwide.

Clark got into the business while working as a chimney sweep in metro Detroit after getting a call from a customer who needed to have a raccoon removed from his chimney.

He called around to a few pest control companies and animal control officers, but couldn’t find anyone who would deal with a raccoon in a chimney. So Clark started his own wildlife control company and began franchising it in 1987.

He located the firm in Traverse City, but occasionally removes unwanted alligators for customers while working from his branch office in Florida.