CTSP Training Motivates Brandy Brown to Find Creative Solutions

Blue River Forestry & Tree Care’s Bailey Null, left, and James Couturier seamlessly working together, making it easy for a quick cleanup on a big removal. All photos by Richard Weit, courtesy of Brandy Brown.

”You have to really understand how people learn and how important that is when you are teaching safety material,” says Brandy Brown, co-owner with her husband, Dustin, of Blue River Forestry & Tree Care in Boulder County, Colorado.

Brandy Brown

That is why Brown, director of operations for the 25-employee company, which she says is well known in the Boulder area for its safety and efficiency, pursued TCIA’s Certified Treecare Safety Professional credential. The CTSP program trains tree workers on how to develop a culture of safety at their workplace. From a business standpoint, it also is a prerequisite for earning TCIA Accreditation, which the 14-year-old, seven-year TCIA member company is currently working on.

Effective communication is especially key in the current tree industry, Brown says, pointing to all the new, diverse equipment available and the speedy evolution of gear and techniques during the past 20 years.

“How can people learn all of this?” she poses.

In the tree business, “Crews, men and women, are working with their hands; most are tactile learners,” she says. “They learn from doing or seeing, or a combo of both. How many of them – how many people in the world – learn from just having someone talk to them?”

During a session that was part of the TCI Virtual Summit hosted by TCIA in January 2021, Brown was inspired by the description of a Jedi motivational system that Joseph Tree of Columbus, Ohio, had implemented. As a result, “We created a belt program, like you have in martial arts, where you move through the levels as you gain skills and knowledge. We took all the TCIA Tree Care Academy training material and worked it into this belt program, along with other training materials,” she says. Also, staffer Kara Cross created an appropriately named “Jeopardy” game.

“The ‘Jeopardy’ game includes material from training sessions as well as from ISA’s Arborists’ Certification Study Guide. People are having so much fun with it,” she says.

Brown says she feels TCIA’s Tree Care Academy is doing a good job in setting industry standards. Also, she says she wants to make sure she is getting the most out of the education she received during the CTSP training and is utilizing it to its full potential. In the first year since gaining her CTSP credential, which she did in June 2020, she is already in the midst of completing her CEUs required for recertification, which is every three years. She likes the fact that the CTSP training/workshop is now available online.

Kody Carleton works the rigging rope. “Communication is key, and being alert and responsive keeps everyone safe,” says Brandy Brown.

“I would love to see the program stay with an online option, not just because of COVID,” Brown says. “If you are an arborist, a lot is done out in the field, and there is no need to be on a computer, but everyone has an iPhone and everyone uses it. Make the course and material available for everyone, and make it easy to get.”

The tech revolution for the arborist who spends his or her days outside, who does not need to own a computer, is here, she says, and Instagram is a popular platform with tree workers.

“They are so passionate about this field that when they see a posting where someone isn’t paying close attention, they will call it out. They don’t want the younger generation to do what they were doing 20 years ago. It’s important, because it’s lives we’re talking about.”

To learn more about the CTSP credential, visit tcia.org and, under the Education tab, click on TCIA Credentialing Programs.

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