Certification Leads to Growth for Young and Old

Lyle Feilmeier
Bartlett Tree Experts
Learn more about Lyle Feilmeier.

Hot August dog days of summer. Landscape and trees are drying out. It seems you cannot water enough. Most professional tree companies are enjoying a nice backlog and the days seem to have fewer hours at the time we need more. Working in arboriculture for what is now over 25 years for me, I have witnessed some amazing growth of many young arborists and watched them develop into some of the top arborists in the PNW if not in the country. Even now, when we recruit young new talent fresh out of college, or even better, interns interested in the industry, I am always amazed at each person’s motivation to excel and invest in our industry. We look for the traits of safety conscience, work ethic, ability to work as a team, and a clear sight on a profession that is harder and harder to fill spots in as we all grow.

As each new arborist grows into their position, whether it be climbing, plant health care, consulting, or sales, you cannot cap out your ability to learn more. The ISA Certifications and Qualification are becoming the starting place to the career for the young and for some of the long-time practicing arborists, an end point. It seems to me the reactions to passing the exams are the same – you see a continued sense of accomplishment with the younger crowd and a sense of revival to the older crowd. Either way, it continues to define the credential and increases its value. There will always be the very talented practicing arborist who feels the credential is not important or does not make the arborist. I disagree; until you have taken an ISA exam for a credential or qualification, you cannot know the value or the feeling you get with the sense of accomplishment and increase in confidence.

Recently, our office had several employees successfully pass a Certified Arborist exam and another get the Board Certified Master Arborist. Each individual reacts differently. The credential may be a feather to some, but for those who have committed to the time to prepare, it’s a credential that defines the importance of our industry and the public perception of professionalism.  The convenience of the computer-based test for the Certified Arborist is making it easier for those who are ready to not have to wait until a scheduled written exam location.

We as a Chapter are looking for more opportunities to schedule more of the Certified Tree Worker exams as this credential regains popularity with new offerings throughout the Chapter. Let’s continue in our industry’s professional growth and keep motivating the young and re-inspiring the old.