ISA Announces New Executive Director



ISA Members and Credential Holders:

The ISA Board of Directors has completed its search and selection process for the Executive Director position, and we are pleased to announce the outcome of that process. We have selected Caitlyn Pollihan to be the next Executive Director for ISA. To learn more about Caitlyn’s background and the ISA Board’s decision, please see the press release.

The ISA Board of Directors and the Executive Director Transition Committee are dedicated to a smooth transfer of leadership for our members, credential holders, and staff. As such, we anticipate the transition to begin on July 1, 2017, when Caitlyn officially takes over as the ISA Executive Director. At that time, Jim Skiera will proceed as a Senior Advisor until his retirement later this year to assist in a smooth change in leadership for the organization.

We would also like to take this moment to acknowledge and thank Jim for his multiple decades of service, passion, and leadership in serving ISA and the industry. Jim has served the organization well, and we are better as a result of his service.

ISA looks forward to Caitlyn Pollihan’s new role as Executive Director as we continue to serve our members, credential holders, and other professionals throughout the industry.

Warm regards,

Michelle Mitchell
President, ISA Board of Directors

News from ISA – Spring 2017

Visit Washington, DC for the ISA Annual International Conference

ISA is partnering with MAC-ISA (ISA Mid-Atlantic Chapter) to bring you the 2017 ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show, July 29 – August 2 ... the premier event “where arboriculture meets.” Besides offering educational opportunities for professionals from all areas of arboriculture, this year’s event rejoins the International Tree Climbing Championship and the TREE Fund’s STIHL Tour des Trees.

The educational programming includes pre-conference workshops on the weekend, multiple educational sessions Monday through Wednesday, the trade show, and Climbers’ Corner demonstrations on the trade show floor. And the International Tree Climbing Championship will kick off the conference this year at the United States National Arboretum, July 28-30. Read More "News from ISA – Spring 2017"

News from ISA – Winter 2017

ISA Announces Upcoming Retirement of Executive Director Jim Skiera

After more than 22 years of service, Jim Skiera has announced his retirement as Executive Director of ISA, effective by the end of 2017. As per the established Succession Plan Policy, the ISA Board of Directors has appointed an Executive Director Transition Committee to manage the search process. This committee will be conducting a search to identify the next Executive Director. Details of the search process will be posted at a later date on the ISA website. Inquiries about the position can be sent to Read More "News from ISA – Winter 2017"

News from ISA, Fall 2016

The Results Are In: ISA Board of Directors and NEC

The ISA Board of Directors will welcome five new members and the Nominating and Elections Committee (NEC) will welcome four new members following the ISA Annual International Conference in Fort Worth, Texas in August 2016. The Board also appointed a director whose current term will expire in August to serve a one-year term vacancy on the ISA Board in 2016-17. Read More "News from ISA, Fall 2016"

News from ISA Summer 2016

Join Us in Fort Worth, Texas – The City of Cowboys and Culture

The ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show in Fort Worth, Texas, August 13-17, 2016, will offer the outstanding educational and networking opportunities you’ve come to expect as well as great new options and features for all attendees.

Read More "News from ISA Summer 2016"

ISA Relaunches Board Certified Master Arborist Exam

Effective February 1, 2016, ISA relaunched the Board Certified Master Arborist® (BCMA) exam after a temporary suspension to develop a better exam experience in response to user feedback and to accommodate the global reach of the BCMA program. ISA temporarily suspended the BCMA exam on June 1, 2015 to perform an intensive and highly successful review, revision, and assessment of the exam in order to meet these needs.

The assessment began with the BCMA Test Committee’s review and evaluation of exam questions. The committee was assisted by a psychometrician, a professional in test development who measures the knowledge and skills needed for a specific profession, who provided direction in writing good BCMA exam questions that clearly and correctly test the knowledge and skill level required to achieve ISA’s highest level of certification.

Read More "ISA Relaunches Board Certified Master Arborist Exam"

News from ISA: December 2015 – February 2016

Public Review: ANSI Z133 Standard Revisions and ANSI A300 (Part 11) Draft

Revisions to the ANSI Z133-2012 Standard for Arboricultural Operations Safety Requirements and a draft of the ANSI A300 (Part 11) Urban Foresty Products are currently available for a 45-day public review period, which began February 5 and will end March 21, 2016. The drafts of both documents and instructions for submitting comments can be found at

Seeking Nominees for ISA Credentialing Council

ISA currently has two vacancies on the ISA Credentialing Council (formerly the ISA Certification Board), which is responsible for setting the strategic direction of ISA’s credentialing programs. Council member duties include attendance at two in-person meetings per year and several conference calls, as well as possible committee work. To nominate yourself or another individual who has a strong desire to promote public awareness of the ISA credentialing programs, please send a letter of interest to Sheila Dillon at

Read More "News from ISA: December 2015 – February 2016"

ISA Seeks Board Nominations

The ISA Board of Directors includes the president, president-elect, and 13 directors. Of the 13 directors, five are nominated and voted upon by the Council of Representatives and eight by the ISA membership-at-large. ISA is seeking nominations to fill three (3) positions that end in August 2016. As an ISA member, you are invited to nominate any ISA member currently in good standing. Criteria by which Board nominees will be considered include:

  1. ISA members in good standing.
  2. Individuals committed to ISA’s mission and values, who think strategically, communicate effectively, understand the difference between governance and management, and follow the Board's rules of conduct, including its confidentiality and conflict of interest policies.
  3. Individuals who possess a variety of skill sets for governance as needed by boards in all types of organizations. The ISA Board has identified 1) strategic planning, 2) marketing, 3) business management and, 4) finance and accounting as skills the Board will need to add to the mix in the near term.

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, please send the name to Karin Phelps at ISA ( by February 29, 2016 (2:30 PST).

ISA Relaunches Board Certified Master Arborist Exam

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) recently relaunched the newly-updated Board Certified Master Arborist® (BCMA™) exam. In response to user feedback, ISA performed an intense and highly successful review, revision, and assessment of the exam.

Revisions began with the BCMA Test Committee evaluating exam questions with assistance from a professional in test development who provided direction on how to write exam questions that clearly and correctly test the knowledge and skill level required for the credential. BCMA Test Committee Chair Larry Costello stated, “The goal was to develop a challenging yet fair exam that accurately tests knowledge in concert with experience in tree management principles and practices.”

Once the test questions were reviewed and revised, a beta exam helped measure exam reliability. ISA was able to double the minimum number of beta test participants required. Beta test takers with passing scores earned the BCMA™ credential. Test takers who did not pass are allowed a free retake.

“The relaunch of the BCMA™ exam is very exciting for ISA and the credentialing community. I cannot thank the 300 beta test takers, the BCMA test committee, and ISA staff enough for their efforts to make the relaunch possible,” says Kevin Martlage, ISA director of professional development. “I am extremely confident that the team involved with the evaluation and relaunch process addressed the expectations of the board and met the necessary objectives.”

As of February 1, ISA is accepting applications for the updated exam. The application handbook is available on the ISA website. For questions regarding the International Society of Arboriculture BCMA™ exam and credentialing program, review the list of frequently asked questions or contact