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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Monday, January 6, 2014

Developing the Next Generation of Tree Care Professionals at TCI EXPO

By Justin Espy, STIHL Inc. Field Testing Technician and Certified Arborist

Throwline Event
Recently I had the pleasure of volunteering at the STIHL sponsored Tree Care Industry Association Foundation Student Career Days (TCIAF SCD) in Charlotte, N.C. More than 170 college and vocational students from schools across the country gathered to learn more about tree care, as well as put their skills to the test. For the second year, I served as a judge during the Student Skills Competition. It’s an honor to help students get involved in the industry, and I can’t think of a better way to invest my time. 

Horticulture, arboriculture and forestry students are the future of the industry. When companies don’t have new employees or ideas, the industry essentially dies. We need to keep building the industry, and TCI EXPO Student Career Days creates an information flow that inspires budding professionals to think of new ideas to grow the field. 

As a young professional, establishing relationships with industry veterans laid the foundation for my success. I developed a passion for tree climbing as a teen. The adrenaline rush of climbing excited me.  From there I became interested in the health of trees and how to care for them. Ed Monroe, a certified arborist, has been a mentor from the beginning of my career and taught me essential guidelines of proper tree work.


I went on to work at Nuckols Tree Care where we assisted with the Arborist Program at Norfolk Botanical Garden. The program taught youth proper tree identification, how to care for trees, tree climbing, pruning and aspects of working on a crew.


100+ students participated
The mentorship and guidance I received along the way enriched my passion for tree care and prepared me for a successful career at STIHL Inc. TCI EXPO’s Student Career Days provides an opportunity to reach back and teach the industry’s next generation hands-on skills that we use every day.





L to R: Mark Chisholm, 3-time ISA International Tree-Climbing Champion; Bryce Crunkilton, 1st place Men’s Collegiate Division, Mid-State Technical College, Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Katie Hawkins, 1st place Women’s Division, Brigham Young University-Provo, Provo, UT; Stephan Moore, 1st place Men’s Vocational Division, Northlands Job Corps Center, Vergennes, VT; Bob Rouse, TCIA. Each won a STIHL chain saw, model MS 150 T C-E.