Did one of your employee’s safety precautions prevent a serious accident? Did he or she teach a fellow crew member how to do something in a safer way? Bring prestige to your company name and your employees’ careers by nominating them for a TCIA Safety Award. They deserve recognition, and so do you!

Nominations typically open in June and close in mid-November to recognize activities that occurred in the previous calendar year. Keep an eye on notifications from TCIA for further information.

The TCIA Safety Awards recognize exemplary action in two areas:

  • The Outstanding Individual/Crew Performance award recognizes an individual’s or crew’s heroic reaction to an emergency situation.

  • The Outstanding Company Contribution award recognizes a TCIA member’s proactive program to address safety issues.

2021 TCIA Safety Award Winners

Safety Award Plaques

2021 Company Awards

Outstanding Company Contribution to Safety

In its “Back to Basics” Safety Initiative for 2021, Mike Tilford, CTSP, director of general tree care, led a new initiative to re-train employees on the basics of arboriculture. Complacency was high with the company’s tenured staff and they have experienced growth as a company that led to many new hires. Tilford focused on the following areas:

  • Struck-By prevention, especially with “call & response” utilization
  • Chipper Operation (high frequency of struck-by/caught-between in the industry)
  • Limb Control: controlling limbs through simple rigging or snap cuts to prevent one-handed chain saw usage.

With its regular company acquisitions, SavATree ensures its safety culture and procedures are instilled in each new addition. For example, Jim Tough, regional safety & skills trainer, visited a new branch of the company and encountered climbers using unsafe fall protection PPE from their previous employer. He exercised Stop Work Authority (SWA) and halted production until they had the proper safety equipment and the training to use it correctly.

Other new, company-wide safety initiatives include:

  • Photo guides for base anchors, spar positioning, canopy anchors
  • Free enrollment in Babbel for employees to learn a language for the purpose of job-site safety communication
  • Transitioning company to all breakaway chain-saw lanyards for injury prevention.

In 2021, a team of individuals took on creating effective training at Rainbow. They focused on how to truly engage the employees, considering all ways in which people learn. The specific training they used as an example was this year’s EHAP training. The company has been in the practice of doing required EHAP training for the past 20-or-so years, typically following the tools directly that TCIA provides for this activity. Also historically, they had their technical and sales teams do the training separately, not going into nearly the same depth with the sales team.

The team wanted to create training that would engage all employees in the process, both technical and sales, in a single training event. First, working from the TCIA module as a resource, the team generated an interactive classroom session that provided opportunities for participants to listen and engage in dialogue with each other about real scenarios confronted every day.

The second portion of the training was at a demonstration area in the green space outside their office. Here they set up all types of demonstration scenarios: different types of wires with different types of climbing and rigging. The participants then had the opportunity to create the appropriate job plans as a team. They could then take those plans and actually put them into use in this mock scenario.

This kind of active training with both Rainbow’s technical and sales team will continue to be promoted inside the organization, as they look for other areas to provide similar training. Listening and speaking is one way to learn, but this additional aspect of demonstration, seeing and doing, has provided a valuable additional aspect as they continue to build and improve their training program for their arborists.

TCIA recognizes Hoppe Tree Service for its initiatives in safety, especially during the COVID pandemic. Hoppe Tree Service re-tooled their safety program to accommodate distance-learning protocol while still providing weekly standardized safety information. Weekly training sheets provide an outline used by each of Hoppe’s three branches so there is consistency in the feel of the meeting regardless of dispatch location. The format is most important to the company culture, emphasizing learning from feedback and mistakes, while never shaming.

Client surveys, whether good or bad, are shared with everyone with the idea that anything short of excellence provides an opportunity to discuss and learn how to do better. An announcement section keeps all members in the company tuned in to company and personal achievements. This can include anniversaries, personal achievement, upcoming volunteer opportunities or big life changes for employees, such as buying a new house or getting married, etc. Together the staff grow closer as a community when they can share personal and company happenings.

Near misses are essential and an open time to bring forward any task that did not go according to plan. No blame or shame is given, only sharing and thanking for the share as they all learn from others potential opportunities.

The meeting content itself has been given a digital voice, as videos are distributed to each branch. They are informative, educational, fun and, at times, funny. Each week is something new and covers a breadth of topics. Because it is a video link, should anyone not be able to watch it at the time of the weekly meetings, they can always watch it again on their own or review it for practice later. Below is an example of the content Hoppe created and shared via their YouTube channel this year:

Advanced chain-saw breakdown

Advanced cutting techniques


Brake controller

Cable install

Chain-saw protection

Chain-saw chain

Climbing fundamentals

Daily saw maintenance

Eating well

End-of-job report


Head protection

Hearing protection

Heat illness


Install work positioning lines from the ground

Job briefing

Lift-emergency procedures

Milking ropes

Omme-lift emergency procedures


Safety glasses

Site and tree inspection


Tie-in point and loads

Tree risk

Using the Sena communications system

Vehicle inspections

Vehicle weight

What to do in an accident

Many of these topics follow the required guidelines for competencies in job books sponsored by Hoppe and the Wisconsin State Arborist Apprenticeship program. It is only because of Hoppe’s innovation and investment in continuing education that any member of the Hoppe team has access to world-class safety content in a safe weekly meeting space and beyond.

Cumberland Valley Tree Service puts the safety of its employees above every other aspect of its business. Between George Pogue, the owner, and Aaron Feather, CTSP, their safety coordinator, there is no measure they don’t take to provide all employees with high-quality training. For example, Cumberland has had some of the top training programs such as ArborMaster Training, North American Training Solutions, Mike Teti and countless others come in to facilitate training in conjunction with Aaron Feather.

The company takes an entire week off work every winter to do classroom and hands-on training. They take dedicated days with new hires to spend an entire day going over chain-saw safety and operation. They do the same with new climbers.

When a tool is broken or a rope is cut, they can get a replacement immediately. All their office managers were former field employees, so they intimately understand the dangers associated with tree care. All crew members are encouraged to call either an office manager or Feather if they are unsure what they are doing. They have a policy that employees can turn any job down that they feel they cannot safely accomplish. Their continuing education program is very robust. All employees are encouraged to become Certified Arborists, CTSPs and earn many other credentials that the TCIA and ISA offer.

Cumberland has four CTSP’s, one Board Certified Master Arborist and a lot of Certified Arborists on staff.

Safety starts at the top of an organization and is carried throughout the rest of the company. The leadership, family atmosphere, commitment to quality and regular training sets Cumberland Valley Tree Service & Landscaping apart from their competition. They live the safety culture.

In an effort to address work-at-height hazards for climbers in four different countries, Bartlett Tree Experts identified the hazard of primary-suspension-point (PSP) selection leading to possible PSP failures as a risk that needed mitigation efforts. The safety committee of the company delegated to a subgroup of the safety committee the charge of studying PSP Hazards and Risks associated with those hazards.

The subgroup, utilizing industry information, company incident information and experts within and outside company, developed an understanding of causes to poor PSP selection and PSP failures when using either moving rope systems or stationary rope systems for climbing. The sub-group developed a Best Management Practices for PSP selection. This BMP on PSP is used as the basis for all climber training, including Climber Qualification MRS, Climber Qualification SRS and Rigging Qualification. The key information from the BMP is incorporated into Tailgate Safety Meetings and Safe Work Practices Manual, OJT and safety and health trainings.

In 2021, Lucas Tree Experts continued its journey for “Trim for ZERO” with a continued focus on its “Safety Vision 2020.”

COVID-19 continues to create many challenges for its organization and their employees:

  • Limited in-person training
  • Cancellation of all 2021 safety meetings
  • COVID vaccine mandates
  • Management-level training

In this ever-evolving climate, fostering a strong safety culture that adheres to both COVID-19 guidelines and established safety standards is critical. Lucas Tree supports several initiatives that promote a positive attitude toward safety:

  • Field “Training Arborist” – Identify employees who are exhibiting an interest in training their skill or craft to others. Guidance is provided to the training arborist by the field safety trainer to standardize all training activities and follow the company’s Operations Training Manual. Weekly training documents are completed and submitted to the field safety trainer. These documents are evaluated for content, completeness and skills development. Documents are then uploaded to a dedicated training location for evaluation by managers and supervisors.
  • The Pandemic Preparedness Committee continues to provide guidance and leadership as Lucas Tree navigates through CDC, Public Health of Canada and customer requirements for employee safety and health – the company has not had any work-related COVID 19 cases
  • Weekly communications via the Lucas App keep employees up to date
  • Lucas Tree ensures that each employee understands they have the obligation to stop a job/task to prevent an unsafe incident from occurring – this initiative was continued from the previous year, as it has had positive results. Every worker is empowered and expected to keep an eye out for potentially unsafe situations or processes and to stop the job until the problem is corrected.
  • Getting more employees engaged in job briefing and safety conversations. Lucas Tree views this as a last line of defense – this places the responsibility on everyone at a jobsite to look for and respond to hazardous conditions.
  • Lucas Tree utilizes a survey platform to randomly send questions each quarter via email to 25% of its employees to validate its tailgate safety training and to improve consistency in their delivery method.
  • Safety Training Webinars – two per month in lieu of in-person safety meetings.
  • Live presentations on every Lucas Tree device (mobile phones and computers)

Lucas Tree Experts will continue to approach safety excellence by means of thinking “outside” the box, seeking new opportunities for safety improvement and leveraging best practices for safe operational and human behavior for the company and the tree care industry.

Outstanding Individual Performance

  • Jason Duchon – Bartlett Tree Experts

  • Dylan Wenker – Wachtel Tree Science Inc.

  • William Duncan – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Jay Guilds – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Bryan Contreras – Gunnison Tree Services

Safety Award Certificates

Good Samaritan Certificates

  • Nick Spino, CTSP – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Shannon Hennessey – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Luis Vazquez – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Kyle Stutzman – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Joseph Sternagle – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Gary Davis – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Eric Bullock – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Ryan Gustafson – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Chuck Hanna – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Joe Hansen – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Katie Karl – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Nikki McDermond-Spies – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Emily Morton – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Gary Mortel – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Gail Nozal – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Hector Posas – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Benjamin Rietz – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Melissa Seidel – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Jack Spadafore – The Davey Tree Expert Company

  • Josh Brown – Lewis Tree Service, Inc

  • Victoria McKane – Lewis Tree Service, Inc

  • Rhett Miller Crew – Lewis Tree Service, Inc

Safety Standout Certificates

  • Jesus Lopez – Rainbow Treecare

  • Korey Conry, CTSP – P31 Enterprises, Inc

  • Brent Oberlink – Lanracorp, Inc.

  • Jay Sturm – Cranes 101

  • Jim Tough – SavATree

Previous TCIA Safety Award Winners

  • Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Company
  • Arborwell
  • Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Lucas Tree Experts
  • SavATree
  • Emmons Tree & Landscape Service
  • Bartlett Tree Experts – Andrew Heim
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – Alexander Brown
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – Charles Blankenship
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – David Balint
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – Justin Stone
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – Mark Noriega
  • Davey Tree Expert Co. – Theodore D. Trice
  • Kramer Tree Specialists – Phil Reth, Tom Phistry, Bulmaro Jalapa, Pete Zamudio
  • Lewis Tree Service – William Pearson
  • Lewis Tree Service – Alexia Moreno, Lomberto Echane and Daniel Cuellar
  • Lucas Tree Experts – Andrew Singletary
  • Petree Arbor Lawn & Landscape, INC. – Scottie Hembree
  • Wright Tree Service – Jeff East
  • Wright Tree Service – Skyler Rambel
  • Arbor Masters
  • Arborwell
  • Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Lewis Tree Service
  • Lucas Tree Experts
  • SavATree
  • Vine & Branch, Inc.

TCIA recognizes individuals or crews within its member companies for exemplary performance in the area of accident prevention or acts of heroism.

  • Arborwell – Juan Silva
  • Bartlett Tree Experts – Alberto Ramon-Grarcia and Bryan Waters
  • Davey Tree – Chris Weitoish, Matt Smith and Ron Weitoish
  • Davey Tree – Miguel Melgar, Jonathan Mayhew, Lamont Phipps and Tomas Enrique
  • Davey Tree – Scott Martin
  • Davey Tree – Jay Casil
  • Davey Tree – Tinashe Nathan Kuimba
  • Davey Tree – Connor Kaufmann
  • Davey Tree – Jose Garcia
  • Davey Tree – Monica Wirick
  • Lewis Tree Service – Antonio Camargo, Dustin Brown
  • Lewis Tree Service – Shawn Jones, David Boyd, Mark Giannetto, Glen Orts, Rob Gaston and Rickie Wolvington
  • Lucas Tree – Emily Garside
  • Lucas Tree – Ethan Martin-Hunt, Aaron Sabin and Kwang Phaung
  • Sandborn Tree – Ruben Ruiz Ruiz and Chip Sandborn
  • SavATree – Eric Snyder
  • Shadywood – DeAngo Harbin
  • Arborwell
  • Chippers Inc.
  • Davey Tree
  • Lucas Tree
  • SavATree
  • Taddiken Tree Company
  • Vine & Branch
  • Wachtel

TCIA recognizes individuals or crews within its member companies for exemplary performance in the area of accident prevention or acts of heroism.

  • Arborwell – Juan Esquivel
  • Arborwell – Marcelino Rios and Adan Caballero
  • Arborwell – Rolando Miramontes
  • F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company – Victor Nakashima
  • Caldwell Tree Care – Terry Ferdarko, Mike Bederian, Wayne Germon and Andy Farbotko
  • Caldwell Tree Care – James Foote, Terry Ferdarko, Dave Loring, Willie Catlin and Joe Schifani
  • Davey Tree – Mathew Shepherd
  • Henderson’s Tree Service – Joe Town
  • Lewis Tree Service – Armando Marichal, Artemio Irizarry and Dionisio Rivas
  • Lewis Tree Service – Ian Clark
  • Lucas Tree – Lloyd Glenn
  • Rainbow Tree – Tyler Lang
  • SavATree – Ben Zomer and Mike Tilford
  • Wachtel – Kyle Babicky
  • Wachtel – Allison Rodefor, Holly Zart and Johanna Smith
  • Wright Tree Service – Brian Crowe, Wayne Larsen, Chad Wallace and Martin Jones
  • Wright Tree Service – Derek Bedford, flaggers Leslie Mills and James Kruger, trimmer Scott Heiner and apprentice Matt Carter
  • Wright Tree – Nicholas Polhamus and Tyler Joehlin
  • Wright Tree – Jordan Sutherland
  • F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company
  • Chippers, Inc.
  • Arborwell
  • Lucas Tree
  • Rainbow Treecare
  • SavATree
  • Vine and Branch, Inc.

TCIA recognizes individuals or crews within its member companies for exemplary performance in the area of accident prevention or acts of heroism.

  • Arborwell – Bill Owen
  • Arborwell – David Vega
  • Barts Tree Service – Matt Bartelme
  • Lewis Tree Service – Joel Perdomo, Juan Fuentes, Jorge A. Reyes Navarrete
  • Lucas Tree – West Bello and Chris Everest
  • Lucas Tree – Justin Cope and Andrew Singletary
  • Lucas Tree – James Wright and Noah Loftus
  • F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company – Nathan Franklin and Trevor Coey
  • SavATree – Robert Schaaf
  • Wright Tree Service – Alex Carr, Paul Dunklau, Jeremy Nailer, Joshua Wewer
  • Wright Tree Service – Jeff East, Dean Shelton, Damon Allen, Teddy Green, Alekzandr Echelle, Tyler Cole, Kyle Driggers, Russell Morris and Daniel Nielsen
  • Wright Tree Service – Todd Ostoff, Sean Catron, Shane Purdie and Juan Rodriguez
  • Wright Tree Service – Zack Norris
  • CN Utility Consulting – Tim McCunn
  • CN Utility Consulting – John Muegge
  • Clark Garreau, Ossian Batchelder – Belknap Landscape
    Individuals do their jobs thoroughly and conscientiously; have received customer testimonials.
  • Jesse Hencz – Family Tree Service
    Individual doing his job exceptionally well.
  • Clark Gareau, CTSP and Ossian Batchelder – Belknap Landscape
    Exemplary performance of their day-to-day safety activities.
  • Lacardo Davis, Ernest Berlin, James Todd, Larry Jackson, Cameron Strickland, Anthony Gainey – Carolina Tree Care
    Exemplary DOT inspection.
  • Leo Roldan – SavATree
    Proactive efforts to improved safety, especially in the Hispanic tree worker community.

TCIA recognizes individuals or crews within its member companies for exemplary performance in the area of accident prevention or acts of heroism.

  • Paul Sisk & Andrew Steed – Bartlett Tree Experts
    Came to the aid of a victim having a seizure.
  • Seth Carter, Paul Hahn & Leo Velasco – Ahlum & Arbor Tree Preservation
    Came to the aid of and performed CPR on a victim on a golf course.
  • Hudson Puente – Bridge Wood Tree Care Services 
    Rescued a drowning victim from a pool and performed CPR.
  • Charles Huggins, Jr., William Huggins & Travis McGirt – Carolina Tree Care
    Came to the aid of a man trapped in a burning house and a woman trying to gain access.
  • Sergio Lopez – Davey Tree
    Rescued someone from a burning building using his bucket truck.
  • Mike Horneber – Davey Tree
    Came to the aid of an elderly couple after they were involved in a car accident.
  • Dan Genness – Lucas Tree Expert Co.
    Warned people away from an energized pole and ground wire.
  • Todd Turner – Lucas Tree Expert Co.
    Came to the aid of an infant suffering heat exhaustion.
  • Brandon Miller & Andrea Johnson – Rainbow Treecare
    Provided care and comfort to an elderly homeowner who had fallen and broken his arm.
  • John Kerst – Wright Tree Service
    Removed a police officer and a homeowner from the danger of an arcing underground transformer.
  • Arborguard Tree Specialists (Atlanta Office)
  • The Lucas Tree Expert Company
  • SavATree
  • Wright Tree Service
  • Quillan Smith and Gerard Smith; Global Environmental Solutions, Inc.
  • Orlando Negron, SavATree
  • Chet Mercer, Bladamir Morales, and Julio Chonoo; Carolina Tree Care
  • Ryan Rodefer, Wachtel Tree Science
  • Eric Davidson, Shawn Jenkins, Taylor Davidson, and Mike Rhodes; Wright Tree Service
  • Bill Ruitta and Tom Loree; Trees, Inc.
  • Bartlett Tree Experts, Division Three
  • Lucas Tree Experts
  • Brothers Tree Service
  • Davey Tree Expert Company
  • Carolina Tree Care
  • Caldwell Tree Care
  • SavATree
  • Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Bennie Wilson, Carolina Tree Care
  • Jess Paulson, Erik Herberg, John Fiek and Adam Lobitz; Wright Tree Service
  • Erik Herberg, Wright Tree Service
  • Andy Burns, Raul Serrano, Preston Scott, Paul Dill; Wright Tree Service
  • Kevin Christenberry, Wright Tree Service
  • Nathan Jones, Wright Tree Service
  • Jesus Ortiz and Juan Gonzalez; Wright Tree Service
  • Elio Mendez and Gonzalo Flores, SavATree
  • Donny Coffey, Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Vine & Branch
  • Lucas Tree
  • Owen Tree Service
  • Arborwell
  • Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Arboriculture Canada Training & Education, Ltd.
  • Christopher Towerton, Lewis Tree Service
  • Don Libby, Lucas Tree
  • Six Wright Tree Service crews
  • Two Townsend Tree Service crews
  • Four Nelson Tree Service individuals/crews
  • Jairo Salgado, Arborwell
  • Wachtel Tree Science & Service crew of Ryan Rodefer, Nathan Schuettpelz and Cody Austin
  • Vine & Branch Tree Service
  • Trees Inc.
  • S & S Tree and Landscaping Specialists
  • Lucas Tree Experts
  • Davey Tree Expert Company
  • The Bartlett Tree Expert Company
  • Arborwell
  • Three Wright Tree Service crews
  • Richard Burt, trimmer with Trees, Inc.
  • Townsend crew of Terry Willett, Dan Aston and Corey Cooper
  • Jonathan Hensley, Carolina Tree Care
  • Marc Rayfield and Jaime Tucker, Carolina Tree Care
  • Wayne Harris, Chad Chrisawn and Matt Murphy, Carolina Tree Care
  • Terry Williams, Josh Perry and Ben Perry, Carolina Tree Care
  • Chris Turner and Ricky Ramirez, Carolina Tree Care
  • Wilber Larios, The Bartlett Tree Expert Company
  • Six Asplundh crews, worldwide
  • Arborwell
  • Embark Tree & Landscape Services
  • Lucas Tree Experts’
  • Townsend Tree Service
  • Vine & Branch Inc.Lewis Tree Service
  • Foreman Dan Williams and his crew, Wright Tree
  • General Foreman Cesar Bustos, Wright Tree
  • Roger Baynum, Townsend Tree Service
  • Gary Shaffer, Lucas Tree
  • Marc Rayfield, Jaime Tucker and Jeffery Richards, Carolina Tree Care
  • Rob Springer, CTSP, The Bartlett Tree Expert Company
  • Lucas Tree Expert Co. Inc.
  • S & S Tree & Horticultural Specialists, Inc.
  • Townsend Tree Service Co., Inc.
  • University of Massachusetts & Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Vine & Branch, Inc.
  • Sean Schanbacher, Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Robert Wells, Townsend Tree Service Co., Inc.