Keeping Wm. J. Kucharski Tree Care Professionals, LLC, in the family has been a point of honor and distinction for the founder and father, Bill, and his sons, Pete and Ty, who just happen to be identical twins. The business, based in Milford, New Hampshire, is a 32-year TCIA member company and became accredited in October 2021.
As Pete explains, his dad was senior product designer for Sanders Associates, a defense contractor that is now part of BAE Systems. A desire for a change from the corporate world led him into tree care, with little to no experience in the arborist industry. “My father was raised in Upstate New York and worked on a dairy farm with his father, and he always liked being outside and working with his hands,” says Pete. “He started his tree care business in 1985 with a pickup and a chain saw. He built connections and learned everything he could from being involved with arborists and the National Arborist Association (now TCIA).”
Eventually, Bill Kucharski earned his ISA Certified Arborist credential, and the company started to grow. Ty and Pete grew up in the family business. “We always had our hands in it somehow,” Pete notes. The twins took over as co-owners in 2016, changed the name from Wm. J. Kucharski Tree Care Professional to Wm. J. Kucharski Tree Care Professionals, LLC, and their dad fully retired last August at 78 years old.
Kucharski Tree Care Professionals has seven full-time employees and operates two crews that do everything from shaping and hazard pruning to tree risk assessment, cabling and bracing, fertilization and tree removal. According to Ty, the bulk of their work is residential. And this is a company that believes in giving back to the community, having supported The Jimmy Fund, Heart Warrior Foundation and Liberty House, which supports homeless and needy veterans in New Hampshire.
Both Pete and Ty are ISA Certified Arborists, while Ty also is a CTSP (Certified Treecare Safety Professional) and Pete has his TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification) credential. The business operates year-round, and Pete says that although they don’t specialize in any one service, “We pride ourselves on professionalism that runs the gamut.”
Two other important members of the Kucharski team are Ed Cioto, tree care consultant, and Deane Courtemanche, crew leader and resident fleet mechanic. Ed, who does sales calls and estimates, jokes that having twins as co-owners is a marketing dream come true. “But what really distinguishes us is that Pete and Ty have really emphasized training and credentials, which sets us apart from others in the herd.” He adds that they have a very client-friendly process, as well as longevity in the tree care business. “And you won’t see another pair of identical twins in the industry!” he says with a laugh.
Deane adds, from his crew-leader standpoint, what he thinks makes Kucharski Tree Care stand out from the crowd. “We really try hard to make it look like we were never even there. We always do extras, even if we didn’t create the mess, like pick up sticks in the yard and blow debris from the driveway.”
Ed notes that when it came time to consider Accreditation, they knew it was the next step toward becoming even more professional. “Being accredited has been part of our distinction as well,” he says. “That was the piece that was missing.”
“When we learned that only 1% of tree care companies are accredited, we wanted to secure that credential as well,” says Pete. “We thought, ‘Let’s do this and take this next step.’ Accreditation formalizes everything, locking it down on documentation.”
The arborists split up the process by their areas of expertise. Ty dealt with crew members concerning PPE, safety training and ANSI standards, while Pete did the majority of the administrative work, making sure the employee handbook was good to go and implementing TCIA’s model business plan. Deane spent most of his time working on the fleet, making sure every truck was safe, clean and operationally ready. He also tightened crew safety procedures up a bit. Ed didn’t have any direct assignments related to Accreditation, but he was on site during the audit and gave his input and support as needed.
“We always had personnel files and new-hire paperwork, but the Accreditation process just gave us the ability to document everything and really tighten it up,” says Ty. “We were quick to add safety data sheets, but fleet-maintenance records were things we’d always done, so nothing in the Accreditation process really surprised us, though it certainly professionalized us.
“For me personally, it brought a sense of awareness – it reminds me of what we should be doing,” he adds “It’s a system of checks and balances.”
Pete weighs in on what some might consider to be an overwhelming process, saying, “For Ty and me, as two retired police sergeants, we were used to paperwork, so it wasn’t too bad.”
As for the benefits of earning Accreditation for Kucharski Tree Care Professionals, Ed says, “I can tell you that out in the field and meeting with clients, having that credential gives us one more thing for the client to think about as they make their decision. It’s like being a board-certified surgeon. You want the best when you go into surgery.”
Pete adds, “It also is beneficial in-house. It gives our employees an understanding of exactly what they need to know.”
With Accreditation under their belt, Pete and Ty say their future goals include adding plant health care to their services, particularly an integrated pest management (IPM) division. “We had started this process with the required state programs,” says Pete, “and then COVID hit, which put a big monkey wrench in things. But now it’s time to pick it back up. Basically, we’re looking at scalability and growth for the future.”
Click here, For more about TCIA’s Accreditation credential and program.