Julie Bunn, project specialist, wears many hats at Flower City Tree, an accredited, seven-year TCIA member company based in Rochester, New York. She jumped right in – her first day of work as a part-time receptionist in March of 2017 took place after a huge windstorm. As the years went by, she moved to full time and started to help run safety meetings and manage the company’s Accreditation process. That is when TCIA’s Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) program came into play.
“I became interested in getting the credential to make sure I was doing all those jobs in the best way possible, for our company and in the tree care industry,” she says.
It also was key because the company grew quickly – eightfold since 2017 – when owner Steve Scherdin shifted his company into a full-time operation after a long career with Kodak. He brought in his son, Andrew, also a CTSP, as a business partner.
The CTSP program teaches professional tree workers how to teach and relate safe practices to other adults. Credentialed CTSPs are expected to take what they learn back to their companies and apply the concepts to help develop a culture of safety within the ranks.
“I love to see people have ownership in what they do. The crew members have to tell me their topic and how they are going to present,” Bunn says of the Friday-morning safety meetings with Flower City’s 10-member work crew. A woman’s perspective helps, she says, in putting an emphasis on adapting to everyone’s learning styles and not just going through the motions of training.
“They get a sense of ownership and excitement when they learn from their peers, and it makes a huge difference in how they approach safety and follow through. It has helped many crew members with their confidence level as well, which plays a role in their daily job.”
Like many other CTSPs, Bunn, who earned her CTSP credential last November through TCIA’s new online program, echoes the value of getting to know different learning styles as presented in the program.
“I think it helped tie the process together, to be a little more organized. At first, the men just got to run the meeting. Now they let me know ahead of time what they are going to cover. They have to make sure they are teaching to everyone’s learning techniques,” she says. Bunn helps provide suggestions for hands-on training or the use of printouts and short, three-minute YouTube videos for visuals.
“Just paying attention to everyone’s learning styles is what I got out of it,” Bunn says of her CTSP training.
As the only woman in the company, and with three small children taking part in online learning at home, Bunn says, “It is really great to work for a company like this. It’s wonderful they let me continue to grow educationally because, in many ways, this still is a man’s industry, after all.”
She adds, “I hope a lot of companies will do that. Often a woman is relegated to being an office manager, not out in the field, and they don’t always get that opportunity. I am very appreciative of my continuing education. It helps me to grow and help our customers through the process,” she says.
Next up, she hopes to become a Certified Arborist. That will require yet another hat – a hard hat.
Click here, for information about the CTSP credential.