Lewis Tree Service, one of the leading providers of utility vegetation management services in the United States, is shifting into growth mode under the leadership of its new CEO. Leslie Kass was elected CEO in April of 2022 and officially took the helm in January after an eight-month transition period. Her predecessor, Tom Rogers, retired in December after a distinguished 49-year career with Lewis, including the past 12 years as CEO.
“We are delighted to welcome Leslie to Lewis,” says Rogers. “She is uniquely qualified to lead this company through its next chapter of growth. We look forward to Leslie’s leadership and are confident that her experience and perspective will fuel our company’s continued success.”
Kass is focused on leveraging the company’s industry-leading vegetation management expertise to expand into new markets such as residential and commercial tree services across a larger portion of the United States. Lewis currently provides vegetation management and utility line clearance services in 27 states.
During her eight-month transition period as CEO-elect, Kass met regularly with frontline workers to get a pulse on the business. “I can learn more in one day in the field than I do in a month in the office,” says Kass. “The field is where the action happens. It’s our frontline essential workers who we need to enable and empower.”
Kass has already witnessed the incredible impact of frontline employees firsthand. As part of its utility vegetation management offering, Lewis provides emergency response and storm restoration services to customers. Just a few months after Kass joined the company, Lewis crews were among the first responders to Hurricane Ian. The large Category 4 hurricane caused widespread destruction across the southeastern United States. About a quarter of Lewis’ 4,000-plus employees from 15 states mobilized into the affected areas to remove thousands of fallen trees from power lines, roads, and property, allowing utility crews to move in and do their work.
Kass brings 30 years of utility experience to Lewis. During her career, she has managed multi-billion-dollar capital portfolios and corporate-wide governance for engineering, research and development, safety, nuclear regulatory affairs, risk assessment, quality, compliance, security and emergency response. Most recently, Kass was Executive Vice President at TC Energy. Prior to TC Energy, she was the first female CEO in the 150-year history of Babcock & Wilcox, and she held leadership positions at Westinghouse Electric Company, Nuclear Energy Institute, Entergy, and Duke Energy. Kass is also the first female CEO in the 80-year history of Lewis.
Kass has a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
“I’m thrilled to join Lewis at this pivotal moment in the company’s history,” says Kass. “I was drawn to Lewis’ culture of learning and empowerment, its reputation as a pioneer in safety and human performance, and because Lewis’ reputation is among the best in the industry for putting customers and employees first. I intend to build on this success and expand upon our positive impact on the industry.”
Founded in 1938, Lewis has grown to become one of the largest providers of utility vegetation management services in the United States. Our customers rely on us to provide agile, cost-effective vegetation management and emergency response storm restoration services without compromising safety and quality – to get the Job Done Right®. With over 4,000 team members spanning a customer base that serves more than half the U.S. population, we have a vested interest in the success of our customers and employees to help provide critical power and communications services to families and businesses, while creating safety for everyone.