Peer Success Story: Chris Ahlum

Let’s say you’re a high school or college student with a love of the outdoors and a budding interest in the tree care industry. How do you decide if this is the right career path for you? A great way to test the waters is to immerse yourself in everything tree care-related during Student Career Days (SCD) at TCI EXPO.

Meet Chris Ahlum.

Chris co-owns Ahlum & Arbor Tree Preservation in Columbus, Ohio, with his father, David Ahlum. He worked in the company during his middle and high school years. When Chris graduated from Ohio State in 2004 he took over the Plant Health Care (PHC) division and gradually took over the management of company operations. He became vice president in 2010 and now manages the day-to-day operations, company’s safety program, client services and consultations, as well.

“I’ve been in the industry for a long time,” adds Chris, who is also a Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP). “I was doing a lot of reporting work with my dad, so I became an ASCA (American Society of Consulting Arborists) Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) in 2008. The next step was becoming a Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA). It shows clients and colleagues that you have expert knowledge in tree care.”

Chris was the second BCMA in the state and is one of only three arborists in the state who are both an RCA and a BCMA. Talk about #careergoals!

Ahlum & Arbor Tree Preservation is a sponsor of this year’s Student Career Days. We asked Chris why he believes SCD is an important event to sponsor. From an employer standpoint, he says, “Our greatest assets for all our companies are people. You can have the best equipment but without the people you can’t run that equipment or do the work. They are the face of all our companies and we need to keep investing in them and growing them. Part of that is to raise the awareness of our industry to the up and coming generations.” Chris adds, “I think SCD does this and gives students a chance to see what arboriculture is all about, besides just reading the text.”

Many past SCD participants have moved on to successful careers in arboriculture, including those who started working for the family business, like Chris Ahlum! The team at SCD encourages you to meet as many people at TCI EXPO as possible to make valuable connections in the industry. You never know… the next hand you shake could belong to your future employer!

This year’s Student Career Days event will take place Thursday, November 2, through Saturday, November 4, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio (during TCI EXPO).