Truetimber Academy Director Jeff Inman Finds High Value in the CTSP Program

Jeff Inman is a two-time ISA Kentucky Tree Climbing Champion, and he’s dedicated to passing those climbing skills on. Photos courtesy of Jeff Inman.

In 2017, when Scott Turner, owner of Truetimber Arborists, Inc., in Richmond, Virginia, saw a need in the industry for formalized training, the company formed its own three-year trade school – Truetimber Academy. Today, Jeffrey S. Inman, Jr., Truetimber Academy director and the company’s risk performance manager, has found lessons from TCIA’s Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) program invaluable in helping him lead the safety training for their 40 or so tree workers.

Jeff Inman

“I dealt with a fair amount of public speaking before (becoming a) CTSP,” says Inman. “One of the ways (the CTSP training) has helped me is how I lead safety meetings. I don’t feel I would be as influential without it. Now, just knowing how an adult brain ticks and being able to design whatever training it is around that framework that keeps adults engaged, and finding the best way to pull them in, that’s the most influential thing I have taken away from the CTSP program.”

The CTSP program aims to help tree workers develop and nurture a safe work environment at their companies by focusing on four key areas: leadership, hazard identification, incident control and prevention and adult learning. “I feel the credential opens doors that perhaps I would not have had, in terms of leading training opportunities at other companies, conferences and climbing competitions,” he says. “The credential allows you to get your foot in the door and establishes credibility within your peer group.”

Inman has been in the industry since 2011 and with Truetimber, an accredited, 18-year TCIA member company founded in 1998, for two years. He is a two-time ISA Kentucky Tree Climbing Champion and placed second and fifth at the International Tree Climbing Championship in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He is dedicated to passing those climbing skills on at Truetimber.

Since the academy is very hands-on in teaching employees felling (two stages), tree climbing (three stages) and ground operations, along with other areas, Inman alerts people to the CTSP’s different approach that emphasizes adult learning.

“When people tell me they are going to take their CTSP training, the adult-learning aspect is what I build up. It’s not advertised very much that that is what the training is going to talk about. It’s going to be a little different, but also I try to get them excited about the fact that they will learn to better communicate with their peers,” Inman says.

“You’ve got to get people to queue up, not only to talk about how to do tree work more safely, but to communicate in a more effective way,” he adds.

Regarding any changes he might like to see with the program, he says the submission process for continuing education units (CEUs) could be a little more streamlined so it’s easier for those with the credential to keep track of them. But it sounds like he is continuing to rack them up.

Since pandemic restrictions have lessened, the champion climber planned to compete at the Charlotte Arborists Association Tree Climbing Competition at the end of October … and to spend the day before the competition training others for it.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for everything that has gone into developing this (CTSP) program to keep people going home every night to their loved ones,” says Inman.

Click here to learn more about the CTSP credential.

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