What makes this full-service tree care company in Boise, Idaho, thrive? In part, it’s the owner’s tireless quest to enhance safety, quality and education at his company. That owner would be Seattle transplant Ezekiel (Zeke) Willard of Idaho Tree Preservation (ITP), an 11-year TCIA member company. And that goal is shared by Chase Andersen, ITP’s Pruning Division safety manager, who recently earned TCIA’s Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) credential.
“Zeke Willard is also a CTSP, so we as a company adopt a lot of incident-prevention practices,” says Andersen. “A lot of what we are trying to do is establish awareness and communication among all staff.”
Andersen says his CTSP training is helping him increase safety for ITP’s nine employees, eight of whom work in the field. “I pursued the certification not only to provide a safer environment for myself, but also for my co-workers and new hires. It’s about mentoring and coaching. A great deal of my interest was just based around that – safety culture and training,” he says.
One of ITP’s three climbers, Andersen applies what he learned in his safety-manager role. Having goals and listing objectives for what one is trying to accomplish was one of Andersen’s biggest takeaways from the CTSP training, he says. “That covers everyday aspects that come with the job. The biggest part is having the discussion of observable hazards, as well as communication about unseen hazards before you get into the tree,” says Andersen. “This might include things like, ‘We have some hangers over here, and
a two-and-a-half-inch-diameter dead branch here that you didn’t see from the ground.’”
The crew has a discussion about identifying and dealing with these known hazards, and what to do in the case of newly discovered hazards, he notes.
“Just from the training aspect, the CTSP course was so focused on making sure everyone in the class was involved. You were part of the group discussions, constantly giving your responses to the instructor. You had to think. The engagement was a huge aspect of it,” says Andersen.
Andersen is fairly new to tree care. After many fire seasons with the Snake River Hotshots, a wildlands fire-suppression team based in Pocatello, Idaho, he made the switch to arboriculture full time in 2019.
“As a tree climber, you still get that feeling of accomplishment, putting in a hard day’s work. But you get to go home to your family every night and be part of the world, instead of being tied down on some mountaintop for 14 days at a time.”
As far as other credentials go, he is following the lead of Zeke Willard, who is an American Society of Consulting Arborists- (ASCA) registered consulting arborist (RCA), as well as an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist. Andersen has earned credentials from TCIA’s Tree Care Academy, including Tree Care Specialist and Plant Health Care Technician, and the Electrical Hazards Awareness Program (EHAP) credential, among others.
He is an ISA Certified Arborist and has his ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) credential. His one- to 10-year goals include earning ISA’s Climber and Aerial Lift Specialist credentials and becoming a Board Certified Master Arborist.
“There are so many avenues through both entities – ISA and TCIA – and a combination of them helps me in my role as a safety manager,” he says.
To learn more about the CTSP credential, click here.