In 1909, 20 employees of The Davey Tree Expert Company arrived in Kent, Ohio, to study at the first Davey Institute of Tree Surgery.
One hundred years later, 47 Davey employees came to Kent from across North America to participate in the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences and to mark the 100th anniversary of the company’s premiere training program. This year’s graduates join the nearly 3,000 Davey employees who have taken part in DITS training over the century.
The curriculum has evolved over the years, but the intent is still the same: make sure that Davey employee are the best trained in the business. The early students studied botany, entomology and related sciences, and accounting, English and business ethics. Current students dig deep into the biological sciences, but also sharpen their skills in climbing and safety procedures, tree and plant care, disease diagnoses, and management techniques.
Greg Ina, general manager of The Davey Institute, points to DITS and the other training programs as a distinguishing feature of the Davey Company.
“The Davey Company recognized long ago the value of investing in our employees through extensive education and training opportunities. The DITS tradition is unique in our industry; we were proud to celebrate our 100th year anniversary this winter,” he said.
RJ Laverne, manager of education and training, called DITS a foremost example of the company’s commitment to and investment in its employees.
“I think this group can make a positive difference in our company, in the profitability and the way we conduct business and the way we’re honored within the industry,” Laverne said. “There is great potential with this group to sustain us as a great company and take us into important places.”
Although DITS was established 100 years ago, the program was interrupted by the Depression and World War II.
In 1946, DITS was re-established with a refresher course for employees returning from military service. The course’s duration was reduced from three months to six weeks. In the early 1950s the program was reduced to five weeks, and renamed the Davey Institute of Tree Service.
In 1976, the program was condensed to four weeks and renamed the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences, as it is currently known.
The Davey Company, with U.S. and Canadian operations in 45 states and five provinces, provides tree services, grounds maintenance, and consulting services for the residential, utility, commercial, and government markets. Founded in 1880, Davey is employee-owned and has more than 7,000 employees.