Student Profile: Ben McCallister, Expert-level EXPO Attendee


17Let’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 Ben McCallister.

As a forestry major at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, and president of the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture, Ben was totally excited to attend SCD in Baltimore with his fellow teammates. “It’s an awesome opportunity,” he says. “The best part is being on the EXPO floor, going to all the booths and meeting with people from all the different companies nationwide.”

According to Ben, the first thing he and his four teammates did when they hit the EXPO floor was split up, with each heading to a different seminar. “Then we met back up later in the day to compare notes on what we’d learned,” he says. “The rest of the day we spent talking to people and looking at equipment. A few of us are real gear junkies, so it was pure heaven looking at all the ropes, saws, carabiners and harnesses. We could have spent the whole day there; they had to pry us away to get us to the afternoon sessions.

“We also brought a bunch of resumes and hit the career fair,” notes Ben. “There were companies from Florida, California, Colorado, the D.C. area, the Midwest — pretty much everywhere. We tried to talk to as many people as possible, and everyone was very supportive and encouraging toward us as students. Since we’ve been back, all of us have gotten emails from companies offering us job interviews and other opportunities. I feel totally confident that once I graduate, I’ll have a job waiting.”

Ben, who hopes to graduate in spring 2018, has already worked internship jobs with the local Davey tree care company as well as Bellinger’s Tree Care in Lafayette. With a degree in forestry and a minor in urban forestry, he hasn’t decided whether to go right into the workplace or perhaps start on his Master’s. “There are research opportunities with some of the major companies that really sound interesting, or I could carry on the legacy of what I’ve learned by teaching and passing along some of that knowledge.”

Either way, he plans to make the most of his final year at Purdue. “They can’t keep me away from attending Student Career Days this fall,” he says. “I’m super excited about going again — and Columbus is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Lafayette!”

You have plenty of time to get yourself organized for SCD and TCI EXPO! Don’t forget – you have FULL ACCESS to the educational sessions and trade show floor at TCI EXPO. You can find more information about sessions in the interactive schedule, and take a look at the exhibitors who will be on the show floor. It pays to be prepared!

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