Who knew a bug-spray applicator could be so sexy?
Dan Hekman, apparently.
That's him posing in a backpack pesticide sprayer in Pest Tech Chattanooga's "tastefully revealing" 2022 photo calendar. In denim shorts, a black tank top, trucker cap and work boots — and with a spray nozzle at the ready — he's the August image of hot-weather bug fighting.
"It's a bit of a shameless calendar," Hekman acknowledged, but it's all for a good cause.
Copies of the calendar sell for $30, and proceeds go to two nonprofit organizations the company supports.
"Rather than simply cut them a check and ask people for money, we thought doing a photo calendar would be something fun for us to do and something people might enjoy," said Hekman, who owns the pest-control company.
Three employees were also willing to pose with tools of the trade or — spoiler alert — in bug costumes to remind current and potential customers they're serious about their jobs but not so serious about themselves.
"We had a blast doing it," said Emerald Dove of Chattanooga-based Emerald Dove Photography. "We just came up with fun concepts. There's one guy in a cockroach costume and one guy in a bee costume. We've got a guy crawling under a crawlspace for Halloween with cobwebs. It's very, very playful. The goal was to get people laughing, and I think it's working."
Hekman said Dove "helped us walk the line" between revealing and playful. There are shots of the men's bare chests and bare legs, "but nothing you wouldn't want to hang in your kitchen," he said.
Dove said it's more about the attitude than the elements of attire.
"I think you can make anything playful and sexy, depending on the lighting and posing," she said.
Much of Dove's business centers on empowering her clients, usually women, through photography.
"Most people don't like to have their picture taken," she said. "Whether I'm taking a headshot or a tasteful, partially clothed photograph, you're going to come in with your shoulders around your ears."
Dove said she was impressed by how comfortable the Pest Tech models were in their offbeat photo shoots, which admittedly were not all in a day's work.
"They were willing to not take themselves so seriously, which I really appreciate," she said. "If you're going to do something like this, you have to get into the mindset. They came in thinking, 'We're going to make people laugh, and it's going to a good cause.'"
Hekman said the company already has "a bunch of orders" for the calendars, but the hope is "to sell a few hundred more that would allow us to write a bigger check to these charities."
Proceeds will go to Homes & Havens, which creates healing spaces for women overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness, sex trafficking and incarcerations, and the Southeast Conservation Corps, which connects teens and adults to nature through service learning.
Calendars may be ordered at pesttechchattanooga.com/calendar. Local purchases will be hand-delivered. Calendars will be mailed to buyers who live out of town.
Not all of the models' bug-fighting scenarios made it into this year's final cut, Hekman said.
"If this is well-received, we've got a few poses in the back pocket for a potential calendar for next year too," he said.
Contact Lisa Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6281.