SPEAKER BIOS

Chelsi Abbott received her master’s degree in Plant Pathology from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Central Michigan University. In her current role, she is a scientific advisor and education specialist at the Davey Institute offices in the Great Lakes regions of the United States and Eastern Canada. In her role, she supports the offices in diagnostics, pathology, entomology, and soil care topics. She also conducts research in these areas and frequently engages in educational outreach, arboriculture curriculum building and presents at industry conferences.
Larry Abernathy has worked in the utility vegetation management industry for 53 years. He enjoyed a 49-year career with the Davey Tree Surgery Company and retired in 2018 as their vice president & general manager. Larry is the recipient of the Utility Arborist Association’s (UAA) 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2020 UAA President’s Award, and the Tree Care Industry Association’s (TCIA) 2021 Pat Felix Volunteer of the Year award. Since 2019, Larry worked with Butte College & the UAA to develop the “Utility Line-Clearance Arborist Training Program” and, in 2021, the “UVM Pre-Inspector Training.” Both programs are being delivered to several community colleges throughout California.
Jared is President/Co-Founder of Academy-Trained, Certified Arborist, International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) world champion, and NATCC Champion.
Craig Bachmann is the lead arborist & manager of Tree133 in Seattle, Washington. He is a Certified Arborist / TRAQ, Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP), and an experienced skills trainer. Craig is also a head judge and technician for the International Tree Climbing Championship. He regularly speaks at conferences and has been published in Arborist News and TCIA Magazine.

John Ball is a Professor of Forestry at South Dakota State University where he instructs courses in arboriculture and forestry. He also instructs courses in rock climbing and emergency medical services. He also serves as an arborist for the campus and the arboretum.

John is a National Registry Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, a Board-Certified Master Arborist, a Certified TreeCare Safety Professional (CTSP), and a TCIA Qualified Trainer
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Liz Boone is the Director of Operations for Streamline Financial Services located in Suwanee, GA. Liz has been with Streamline for 7 years and constantly works to strive to not only help the business owner(s) with their Commercial Financing needs but also be the right-hand person to the vendor sales reps. Liz specializes in developing partnerships with vendors in order to solidify the financing experience for the vendor and their customers.

The career is not only about being able to offer commercial financing programs but instead to be a lifelong, trusted business partner to the clients. Being the Director of Operations allows Liz to support the Sales, Documentation, Funding, and Admin team to make sure the funding process from application to the release of funds is a fast and pleasurable experience. Liz has a passion to work with people and has been in sales for over 30 years. In her spare time, she enjoys various outdoor activities and spending time with family, especially her two grandchildren.

Cassandra Bryant is an arborist with Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service, a TCIA-accredited tree care company. In this capacity, she is a Connecticut licensed arborist and an Ornamental and Turf Care Professional. She consults in tree preservation and maintenance and is the supervising arborist of the pruning and plant health care crews.

Cassandra is a graduate of Housatonic Community College with an associate degree in Environmental Science, which both compliments and adds depth to her work in the tree care industry. She is a devoted volunteer with the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop, a committed
member of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association, and maintains her Tree Risk Assessment Qualification through the International Society of Arboriculture. She has competed in the Connecticut Tree Climbing Competition and won it in 2018.

Cassandra also serves on the Conservation Commission and is active in her community. She enjoys encouraging native ecosystems and enhancing wildlife habitats. She manages a monarch waystation on her tiny property in Stratford, Connecticut.

Bio coming soon.

Tim has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 1992 and a TCIA CTSP since 2009. He chaired the ANSI A300 Committee and participated as a voting member in current and previous ANSI Z133 revisions. Tim was a head technician from 2005-2011 for ISA’s Internional Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC). Certified by Petzl America as a Competent Person regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), he is also a competent person in climbing/ rigging gear inspections to the United Kingdom standards (LOLER). Tim is a SPRAT Level 1 Technician. Tim has received the TCIA Pat Felix Volunteer of the Year Award.

Josh Caudill is a dynamic and credentialed safety professional, cultural advocate, and organizational leader. With over 20 years of experience in programmatic safety work, organizational development, and leadership training, he is dedicated to inspiring and motivating individuals to achieve greatness. Working in diverse environments such as logistics, manufacturing, construction, and environmental protection, Josh has continued to enhance his skill set as an effective and motivational communicator. In addition to working across the United States, he has also worked abroad, including several years in Guam.

Josh received his Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University, concentrating on the study of Organizational Leadership, which has helped him understand and appreciate the correlation between safety, operations, and efficiency. Changing the perception of the safety professional has always been a strong passion of his, and he continues to revolutionize the safety world with innovation and enhanced leadership. Josh always brings out the best in everyone around him and believes strongly that a rising tide should raise all boats.

Continued out-of-the-box thinking comes from many years of experience, one of which would change the course of his career forever. After a fatality on a job site lives forever changed, and a belief that “doing just enough is never enough” would impact him to the core. Through unimaginable sadness came a new mindset of what true safety excellence and leadership mean. Giving courage to those he influences to make great choices to avoid the tragedy that he endured is what drives Josh every day.

Josh is a published writer, a national Safety Professional of the Year award winner in 2018, credentialed through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (CHST, ASP, and CSP), certified through Personality Insights, and authorized to teach through OSHA Outreach.

Mark is a third-generation arborist who works with his father Steve, mother Laura, and brother Steve for the family-owned Aspen Tree Expert Company. Mark has won ISA New Jersey Chapter Tree Climbing Championship 21 times. He is also a past president of the New Jersey chapter of the ISA and is a 3-time World Champion. The ITCC in Tampa, FL 2015 marked the 20th time Mark has placed in the top 5 overall. He is the creator and owner of the interactive TreeBuzz.com website, which sees over 80,000 users each month.

He is a licensed tree expert with the state of New Jersey, an ISA Certified Arborist, and a TCIA CTSP. Mark is also a spokesperson for STIHL Inc, Teufelberger Fiber Rope Corporation and Kask Safety.

Wayne is an internationally recognized training professional with credits for design, development, production, marketing and delivery of training.

Fortune 100 companies hire him to supplement their full-time training departments by providing expertise that their staff may not have. Smaller businesses call upon him when their budgets won’t allow adding a full-time training professional. His core services are in instructional design, facilitation, consulting, and speaking.

His varied background and experiences as a trainer allow him to bring fresh insight to corporate solutions. Prior to and early in his training career, he was a commissioned sales rep and a sales manager. His broad business, sales, and technical backgrounds enable him to create and facilitate programs ranging from general management and financial management to machine installation and operation, to customized documentation and training for client-proprietary software, to soft skills training including extensive customer service experience. His specialty is training professionals as well as part-time trainers.

As national training Director for a 1,500-office franchise Wayne managed 16 trainers and support staff. He was responsible for all department revenues and expenditures, planning, budgeting, curriculum design, seminar marketing, scheduling of all programs and trainers and training facilities, and all hiring and trainer development.

He has also scripted and produced many training videos. One of his videos is currently in use by over 400 organizations around the world.

Wayne heads two training companies in Atlanta, Georgia. Coleman and Associates address corporate performance improvement and training needs. His second company, founded in 1991, creates performance solutions for many major league sports teams and entertainment venues throughout the world.

Stephen Connally is a retired Fire Captain/Paramedic(Ret) 25 in Norfolk, Virginia, and was also a Fire VA. HAZMAT/Technical Rescue Team Leader as well as an Instructor at Ascension Group NW, and a Crane Safety Climber School. He is a certified arborist, climber of 25 years, CTSP, and NCCCO Crane Operator. He has served as a research climber for the Center for Conservation Biology at William & Mary College. He is an owner of Adaptable Aerial Solutions and a TCIA Crane Operations Specialist Instructor. Stephen is also a former EMT/Paramedic Instructor.

Cyrus DeVere joined A Plus Tree in 2017. Cyrus has succeeded the late founder, Jeremy Tibbets, and has continued the exciting growth path for A Plus Tree. He is an accomplished Chief Executive with 30+ years of success executing expansion and growth plans within the hospitality, retail, apparel & gear industries, and now professional services. He leverages extensive experience in leadership and technology coupled with a proven track record of taking companies from a founder/entrepreneur/startup stage to a professional stage set for growth.

He has demonstrated proficiency in effectively allocating human capital and managing P&L to grow earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). He is a well-rounded leader with a strong skill set and understanding of digital and brand marketing, revenue generation, scaling operations, and the ability to build work cultures that foster trust and empower diverse workforces to seamlessly grow business.

He has completed his doctorate studies at Walden University, earned a Master of Science in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Arizona State University. He and his wife live in Park City, UT with their son and daughter.

GTC Supervisor for Aspen Tree Service ISA certified arborist, ISA certified Utility Arborist, ISA certified tree worker climber specialist, CTSP, NCCER crane, and knuckle boom operator.

Matt has over 25 years of experience as a practicing arborist and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in tree biomechanics. He has a strong interest in the technical aspects of preserving large trees in the urban setting. His long climbing career has also influenced his dedication to climber safety and interest in the loads associated with technical removal operations. Matt has taught practical arboriculture and tree climbing since 2001; and worked in Southern Ontario, England, Seattle, Halifax, and Montreal. He has presented on arboricultural topics at regional and international conferences, research symposia, private training courses, and garden exhibitions.

Kathy worked at Chester Valley Golf Club, Pennsylvania on the grounds crew for the Senior PGA Tour Course; was the owner of Blackforest Landscaping, sales branch manager at LESCO, Inc., general manager of Tri-State Turf Supply, LLC, director of renewable services of Monster Franchising, and a consultant for turf and ornamental training programs at Inspire Green, Inc.

She was also a PA Pesticide Applicator License in several categories, has a Pesticide and Seed Dealer License in PA, MD, and DE, and was a Certified Soil Microscopy Technician. Kathy is also an ISA Certified Arborist.

Dan has worked in the tree service industry since 2001. He started his career in the United Kingdom and worked in Australia. He currently lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

He is the founder of the website ClimbingArborist.com, a resource he established to help share industry knowledge. He also runs a tree service business in Vancouver.

He is passionate about safety and efficiency not only for himself and his crew but also for promoting safety in the industry as a whole.

Dan loves taking part in tree climbing competitions and became B.C. tree climbing champion in 2016. He was also awarded PNW-ISA treeworker of the year by other members of the chapter in 2018.

He has a passion for the outdoors and loves being active, likes challenges and solving problems which ultimately is what led him to becoming an arborist.

August is a third-generation arborist, co-owner, president and general manager of Hoppe Tree Service. He has been a certified arborist since 2001. He is the past president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association. He also serves as chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council. August is currently on the national board of the Tree Care Industry Association, and he speaks to numerous groups and organizations regarding tree care topics such as healthy pruning and common insect, and diseases found in landscapes. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family, running, cycling, and listening to history podcasts.

Jeff Inman is a thinker, an arborist, and a climber to his core. More importantly, he is husband to Kelsey and father to Cedar and Lucille. He works for Truetimber Arborists based out of Richmond, Virginia as the Risk Manager and Truetimber Academy Director. Jeff’s passion for tree climbing has allowed for a wild ride over the last decade. He has been making sawdust professionally since 2011 but discovered tree climbing competitions in 2013, which triggered a real passion to combine technical climbing with his quiet, yet competitive nature. He holds various certifications through the ISA and TCIA, most notably Climber Specialist, Certified Arborist, TRAQ, and CTSP. His passion in this industry has always been centered around climbing, learning, teaching, and growth.

Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe is a Professor of Urban Forestry in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries. She earned her Master of Science in Botany and Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee in 2005 and 2010. She is the undergraduate advisor for urban forestry students and teaches several courses within the urban forestry concentration. Sharon is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture Board of Directors and Board Treasurer, and she serves on multiple state and national committees and advises student chapters of Gamma Beta Phi and minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) at the University of Tennessee.

Andy Jones is a Founder and Owner of Rooted Arbor Care in O’Fallon, MO. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP), and is a regular contributor to TCI Magazine. Andy is a climber and gear enthusiast who is passionate about finding innovative ways to safely and efficiently work in the canopy. Andy has previous experience in logistics, aerial rigging, industrial safety, and first aid/emergency response, and uses this experience to help propel the industry of arboriculture to new heights. Andy’s goal is to help develop and demonstrate simple solutions for increasingly dynamic problems.

Brian Kane, Ph.D. is the Massachusetts Arborists Association Professor of Arboriculture at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. He is an ISA Certified Arborist who began dragging brush in 1988. He has written many scholarly and trade articles and given presentations all over the world on the mechanical aspects of tree work. He currently serves as the ISA alternate rep on the ANSI Z133 committee.

Geoff Kempter is the technical services manager for Asplundh with 32 years of experience in utility arboriculture and urban forestry. He is currently president of the Utility Arborist Association. He is co-author of Utility Arboriculture, the Utility Specialist Study Guide, and author of the ISA Best Management Practices Guide for Utility Pruning. Geoff teaches tree risk assessment qualification (TRAQ) for the ISA and is an Instructor at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Utility Vegetation Management Certificate Program. He has served on the ANSI A300 Tree Care Standards Committee since 1996, and on the ISA Board, the TREE Fund Board, and as ISA Certification Chair. He holds a degree in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan.

Lisa’s passion is working with entrepreneurs. She has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and business advisor. Over the course of that career, she has specialized in successfully turning dozens of businesses around to double-digit growth and profitability as well as growing an eight-figure family-owned business. Lisa no longer manages the family-owned business, but rather sits on the board and spends all her time guiding other entrepreneurs so that they too can get what they want from their business.

Bio coming soon.

Jen is co-owner of Harrison McPhee, Inc., along with her arborist husband, Scott. Her entire career has been focused on the green industry – working 16 years with the management company that ran New England Grows, the Massachusetts Arborists Association, and the Massachusetts Landscape Professionals. In 2015, she and Scott purchased a tree and landscape company from a retiring couple and the last seven years have been a whirlwind of building and branding with their own signature. She recognizes that the individual gifts of each team member are the fuel behind their success and finds the most passion in celebrating and enhancing those talents. She truly believes that green industry professionals are the most rewarding people to work with and is committed to making each day one where her team feels appreciated and inspired.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

Pete has been a crane operator since 1999. He started The Crane Man, Inc. in 2008. He has over 20 years of crane experience and specializes in large and hazardous tree removal.  He is a member of the ISA and TCIA. He is NCCCO Certified crane operator. He is the founder of the Crane Safety Climber School which is now in its 11th year.

Patrick has degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Arboriculture and Park Management and in Urban Forestry. He has been involved in many aspects of the arboriculture industry for 34 years and has served as the leader of SavATree’s plant health care program for the last 21 years. Patrick holds pesticide applicator licenses in 10 states and arborist licenses in five states. He is active in several industry associations including service as Vice-Chairman of the New York Green Industry Council and on the board of directors of the Connecticut Environmental Council. As the Director of the Plant Health Care Program at SavATree, Patrick is responsible for ensuring that all PHC treatments are performed effectively, efficiently, and profitably with concern for the environment and compliance with all federal, state, and local pesticide regulations.

Joseph B. Pipitone is the owner of Top Notch Tree Care, a contributor to TCI Magazine, and a 12-year TCIA member company. Joe is an ISA-certified arborist and second-year expo presenter. He has a business degree from Misericordia University, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Kutztown University, and is a former professor of entrepreneurship at Lackawanna College.

Lindsey Purcell is a principal consultant in the arboricultural consulting business. His educational background includes an AS degree from Vincennes University, a BS degree from Purdue University and an M.Ed. degree from Indiana State University. Lindsey serves as Executive Director of the Indiana Arborist Association. He is senior member of Lp Consulting Group and offers expertise, resources, and guidance to help tree care businesses succeed in their industry. He is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and an American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) Registered Consulting Arborist.

Annie Rafferty, Director Workforce Training at Butte College and Executive leader of UpSkill California Community College Collaborative holds 29 years’ experience rapidly responding to upskill individuals within their 20-30 year career. She led the 2018-2019 norther California Camp Wildfire Recovery training of 883 workers recognized at the Chico 82nd Annual Business “Moving Forward” event with Butte College as the 2019 Business Advocate of the Year Award. Currently, as UpSkill California Executive leader, she is responsible for a $6.25m Utility Line Clearance Arborist and $3.5m Utility Vegetation Management Pacific Gas and Electric workforce training contracts developing and delivering standard Utility Vegetation Management Arborist, Level 1 Pre pre-inspector, and Crew Leader training for 925 workers in California.

Mike is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. His degrees include a BS and MS from Rutgers University and a PH.D. from University of Maryland, College Park. He has received more than a dozen international, national, and regional awards for writing, scholarships, and scientific outreach. Mike is a regular expert guest on television and radio. His “Bug of the Week” website, (www.bugoftheweek.com) and Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/user/BugOfTheWeek) reach tens of thousands of viewers weekly in more than 200 countries around the world. His most recent book, 26 Things that Bug Me, introduces youngsters to the wonders of insects and natural history while his book Managing Insect and Mites on Woody Landscape Plants published by TCIA, is a standard for the arboricultural industry.

Emily’s career in the tree industry began in 2008 with US Forest Service as a sawyer and hazard tree feller in Idaho. Her love for chainsaws was immediate and powerful. She has since worked with trees and chainsaws in many different forest types all over the country and became a full-time resident of the Pacific Northwest in 2014. She was Washington State Parks’ first and only female arborist….so far.

After taking her career upward into the canopy and further fueling a passion for proper care of the world’s most incredible organisms, she started her own residential tree care company focused on preservation-based production arboriculture and consulting. Emily has spent a large percentage of her time sharing her knowledge and passion with others in the industry through training and education as a lead instructor for North American Training Solutions, as well as other organizations. Emily was voted 2019 Tree Worker of the Year, and 2021 Arborist of the Year by the PNW Chapter of ISA. She is an ISA Certified Arborist and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified.

I am an SVP with TCIA. I help tree care companies get the support they need to transform their company to best in class. The support our association provides to businesses, in my opinion, is the essential resource your company needs to succeed and prosper.

In the past 25 years, I’ve helped TCIA develop and grow business credentialing, support, and training opportunities via TCIA Company Accreditation, Crew Leader Qualification, Arborist Apprenticeship, TCI EXPO, Executive Arborist Workshop, and Winter Management Conference, through listening to business owner and management needs and delivering solutions.

I have a passion for tree care business improvement and development of careers in arboriculture.

Get in touch with me today at rrouse@tcia.org — I look forward to talking with you about your business and career.

Luke is an Arborist Technician Instructor at Mid-State Technical College in Central Wisconsin. He has over 10 years of experience in the green industry in addition to degrees in Urban Forestry and Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. His passion is taking care of trees and that starts with healthy soil!

Rebecca is the Director of Training & Education at North American Training Solutions, a Lead instructor for the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop, and the owner of TreeSpirit Consulting, LLC. This enables her to travel about the country, teaching, training, and sharing the wisdom of arborists everywhere.

She is a natural teacher and passionate nature lover who draws on over 20 years of experience in the trees. Her easy- to- approach personality makes her an effective leader, one who understands how to empower others to harness their best. She is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, TCIA Certified TreeCare Safety Professional, Consulting Utility Forester Professional Qualified, past MN Tree Climbing Champion, past ITCC Competitor, and five-time participant in Fids & Fibers Rope Splicing Workshop.

Lawrence has been involved in tree care since the fall of 2003. Ten years of his career were spent in New York City, working for the Brooklyn Forestry Department and later for Central Park. He has been residing in California as a full-time contract climbing arborist since 2015. In recent years his efforts have extended into the training sector in the hopes that his studies and field experiences can benefit other budding arborists.

Zack Shier was born and raised in Marysville, Ohio. After high school, Zack spent four years in the U.S. Army where he went on three combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. After the Army, Zack attended Ohio State University majoring in Forestry during which he started working for Joseph Tree as a groundsman, equipment operator, and climber. Zack eventually began building the plant health care section (PHC) for the company and taking over its management. Zack currently manages the PHC section, assists with company training, and conducts company research. Zack currently resides in Marysville, Ohio with his wife, Rachel, and their son, Oliver.

Emmett Shutts is the supervisor of Arborist Skills Trainers Eastern U.S with the Davey Tree Expert Company. Emmett is a CT licensed arborist and Certified Tree Safety Professional. He has a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Management from the University of Connecticut. Emmett currently resides in Cheshire, Connecticut with his wife and two sons.

Mike Tilford is director of Tree Care at Savatree and is an ISA Certified Tree Worker, Certified Arborist, Certified Municipal Specialist, CTSP, a past presenter for TCIA, Head Judge for AR at ITCC, presenter at regional conferences, trainer at regional events, and a voting member of Z133 committee.

Ryan Torcicollo is a SavATree GTC skills and safety trainer ISA, CTSP, Certified Tree Climber, EHAP, TRAQ, certified crane operator, and NCCER crane exam proctor.

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