A question asked of me recently has been weighing on my mind. When asked how I became involved with the tree care industry, my response was, “It happened by accident.” My answer really didn’t convey the entire scope or story, so I thought I would expound on it a bit. I enjoy listening to others’ stories and hope you will indulge me with a shortened excerpt of mine.
My dream growing up was to be a funeral director. A strange choice of profession, perhaps, considering none of my family was in the business. I always gravitated toward medical science and helping people – and what better way to help people than in their worst days. The best compliment you could receive would be for a grieving family to walk away laughing, honoring the memory of their departed loved one.
I apprenticed through my high school years locally and moved to south Florida after high school to pursue my dream. After a few years out of state, I realized it was time to come home. The issue was the rules and regulations for a funeral director in the state of Florida were vastly different than those in the state of Michigan, and I would essentially have needed to start all over again. At that point, the decision was made to seek a different career path. This decision was not easy, but, in the end, I felt my mission had been accomplished and that it was time for a new dream to begin.
Once home, I interviewed with Morbark and was hired within a few days. Truth is, I was no stranger to Morbark and was the third generation of my family to work there – my grandfather, my uncles and now me. Little did I know where this role would take me. Morbark has provided many opportunities for my family and many other families in our rural community.
Being part of an actively involved TCIA Corporate Member company, attending TCI EXPO for many years and wanting to understand the industry and its people better, I ran for election to the TCIA Board of Directors for the first time in 2011 and did not make the cut. I ran again a little more than three years ago and was elected to serve on the board as the Corporate Member representative, and was recently re-elected to serve a second term representing all of our great industry suppliers. Through TCIA, I can continue to serve and give back to the industry that has provided so much to me.
Granted, I do not own or operate a tree care company, but the supplier side of the business has allowed me to meet and learn from many of the unique individuals who make up our industry – and the people of this industry are the best part of it.
I would encourage all of you to ask the question of how to get involved – from industry panels, task forces and committees to board service – you will not be disappointed.
Jason Showers is a product manager for tree care products with Morbark, LLC, a 40-year TCIA Corporate Member company and PACT partner headquartered in Winn, Michigan. He also is the Corporate Member representative on TCIA’s Board of Directors.