Home > Featured Articles > Industry Outlook Q&A
For a quick look at the current state of the tree care industry, Arbor Age magazine recently asked industry leaders to weigh in on some key questions. Their responses are as follows:

Industry Outlook Q&A

For a quick look at the current state of the tree care industry, Arbor Age magazine recently asked industry leaders to weigh in on some key questions. Their responses are as follows:


 


What have been the biggest challenges for professional arborists (and the tree care industry as a whole) during the past year? And how are those challenges being met?


 


What I am hearing from Bartlett Arborist Representatives is that their biggest challenge this year has been getting tree work done. With the end of the “great recession” and multiple storms that have created large amounts of work, it is hard to keep up with demand. Our production arborists are working harder, smarter, and safer than before to keep up with demand. In addition we are adding high-quality personnel to increase the workforce.


— Tom Smiley, Ph.D., arboricultural researcher, Bartlett Tree Research Lab


 


Liability and compliance with new laws. More money spent on transmission ROWs.


— Stephen R. Cieslewicz, president, CN Utility Consulting Inc.


 


Spread of EAB and issues of liability.


— Derek Vannice, VP of operations, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


Finding ways to reduce incidents involving trees, including fires, storms and tree-related accidents causing property damage and injury accidents.


— Will Porter, director of consulting, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


Improving economy and a challenge to attract people; low-price bid without the evaluation of true cost after evaluation of quality; adherence to specification and the project getting completed; little or no cost of living increases for tree workers.


— Will Nutter, Wright Tree


 


 


What areas of advancement in the industry are you most pleased with?


 


There has been a great improvement in our understanding and ability to rate tree risk over the past five years. With the development and publishing of the ISA Tree Risk Assessment BMP, a straightforward simple method is being standardized to evaluate and rate risk. This technology should result in the preservation of many low risk trees in the future.


— Tom Smiley, Ph.D., arboricultural researcher, Bartlett Tree Research Lab


 


The FERC UVM rules established in 2007 seem to be working very effectively in preventing blackouts from vegetation growth.


— Stephen R. Cieslewicz, president, CN Utility Consulting Inc.


 


The biggest advancement is the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.


— Derek Vannice, VP of operations, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


FERC recognizing the success of FAC-003 and the appropriateness of following up with similar regulation and process for sub-transmission and distribution.


— Will Porter, director of consulting, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


Software being introduced for the first time that has the potential to be long lasting with the possibility of improving. Companies working on a safer industry.


— Will Nutter, Wright Tree


 


 


What areas need to improve?


 


Even though we have made great strides with tress risk assessment, we still have a long way to go. We need to learn more about how root decay affects stability; how decay in roots, branches and trunks can most efficiently be evaluated; how to easily evaluate loads on trees; how to evaluate tree response growth; and how to put this information together to most accurately judge tree risk.


— Tom Smiley, Ph.D., arboricultural researcher, Bartlett Tree Research Lab


 


We still need to improve wages in the UVM industry.


— Derek Vannice, VP of operations, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


 


What do you think will be the industry’s biggest story in 2014?


 


The big story in 2014 will be the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. This is the first qualification launched by ISA, and they have done a fantastic job putting it together. It is a two-day class that was designed by educational professionals and leading arborists to be engaging and educational. It is a new standard for education of working arborists. Because of the importance of the information presented, and the quality of the class, this will be the hottest, most talked about arboricultural educational opportunity available. When arborists pass the half-day written and field exam, they will receive the TRAQ credential. This credential should become the entry point for many municipal, utility and commercial contracts in the future to ensure that arborists are accurately rating risk and not calling for the unnecessary removal of low-risk trees.


— Tom Smiley, Ph.D., arboricultural researcher, Bartlett Tree Research Lab


 


I think the declining health of the tree populations will become an issue from drought, emerald ash borer, and a few other pathogens. For UVM folks, liability for fires and accidents will likely be an increasing focus. Finally, 2014 ushers in a new version of FAC-003, which will be an issue in complying with the new requirements.


— Stephen R. Cieslewicz, president, CN Utility Consulting Inc.


 


Launch of ROW Steward Accreditation program.


— Derek Vannice, VP of operations, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


Adoption of FAC-003-2, ROW Stewardship Program; another state adopting clearance requirements (similar to California); New IVM BMP Revision; LiDAR adapted for distribution maintenance; one or more states requiring documented distribution system vegetation inspections.


— Will Porter, director of consulting, CN Utility Consulting, Inc.


 


Healthcare.


— Will Nutter, Wright Tree

About The Staff