Just out of college, Nicholas Palladino worked as head lifeguard at the local town pool. But in the interest of working outdoors, away from the indoor pool, he took a job as a ground operations technician for Lucas Tree Expert Co., Inc.
Palladino worked his way up to bucket-truck operator and a member of the tree-climbing crew. He just celebrated his three-year anniversary with the company and was recently promoted to field safety trainer for southern New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and parts of southern Massachusetts. Lucas Tree, founded in 1926, is a dual-accredited, 41-year TCIA member company based in Portland, Maine.
Palladino attributes his recent promotion not only to the company’s encouragement of employees’ growth within the company, but also to his interest in attaining his Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) credential from TCIA. When he moved over to the safety position, his boss, Gerard Breton, helped him get on track with the CTSP program, which teaches a tree care worker to be a safety “coach” and to develop and nurture a safe work environment at his or her company.
“I’ve always had a safety-first mindset, and the credential reinforces that,” says Palladino.
“The coaching and teaching aspect of the program was great because we learned to develop objectives, and that fits well with a big part of my new role in training new employees. On their first day, we spend all day on chipper safety features, chain-saw safety features and work-site setup. It gave me a better understanding of taking that day and using it to the fullest by developing objectives before I even start with these employees. I will say what our goals are for the day, so they can follow them as we go along. That first impression of a job-site setup can really help develop some good habits,” says Palladino.
Palladino was a member of TCIA’s first virtual CTSP program, an online training platform launched this past summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The online class was great. We used a program called Adobe Connect. It was super easy to use. The instructor could break the bigger group of 25 into smaller groups, and you had time to discuss materials and then come back into the big group and share your findings.”
Swapping information with arborists from different parts of the country, such as North Carolina and Wisconsin, also was valuable, according to Palladino, and for the Canadians in Lucas’ workforce, the online format was less hassle in terms of travel logistics.
Palladino noted that he would like to see TCIA’s online model continue, but combining the virtual sessions with perhaps a smaller regional field day.
He has found himself applying the CTSP training on the job.
“I’ve been using what I learned and saying to myself, ‘Oh, yeah, that was in the CTSP training,’ or, ‘Oh, I’ll try this.’ I keep the workbook in my work truck to thumb through and try different things in the field. It’s a great thing to have obtained, and I’m glad to have had the training. It’s a big goal for a lot of the employees here, and it’s meaningful for them to strive to work toward that.”
For information about the CTSP credential and upcoming virtual workshops, click here. The next virtual CTSP workshop is scheduled for January 26, 2021.