Outlook Summer 2018- Cheers for a great conference

By Rose Epperson on Sunday, July 1, 2018

The 84th annual meeting of the Western Chapter ISA was a sellout – it was literally sold out. What a testament to the outstanding work of the program committee: Bruce Hagen, Larry Costello, and Denice Britton. They developed a compelling program and selected an outstanding cast of presenters. Conference Chair, James Scheid, kept everyone on track, and the results were truly impressive. 

The local members serving on the sub-committees put a lot of effort and passion into planning various elements of the conference, making it a more enjoyable experience for attendees. The conference came out of the gate with a ‘trifecta’ of activities early Monday morning: the 11th Annual Fund Ride and tree planting, the pre-conference field day at Galvin Park, and the TREE Fund Golf Tournament at Bennett Valley Golf Course. The conference ended with Thursday’s field workshop at Santa Rosa Junior College. Attendees were kept busy and engaged with the right mix of science and practical application, with a little fun and diversion thrown in. 

The annual business meeting was held during the opening ceremony. We had much progress to report on and information to share with conference attendees. Our Strategic Plan is divided into 5 areas of focus: membership, education and training, credentialing, marketing, and governance. Many of the committees have annual reports in this issue. I have really enjoyed working with all the chairs, exploring ways to increase membership, and improve education and training, certification, and credentialing, communication, outreach, etc.

With respect to membership, the end-statement is to retain current members and attract new ones, allowing the chapter to sustain itself and continue improving member services.   The Marketing Committee, this year, has taken a very active role. They’ve initiated a featured member-profile series for social and print media (page 53). The plan is to continue to profile selected members in the coming months. If you have a success story or “good news” to share, please send it my way.

This year, I’ve set a goal for myself to cultivate two new relationships with associations within the green industry. I have been working for some time now with Landscape Online to include arboriculture-based programing into their conferences. This year I reached out to colleagues from the Landscape Architects and Landscape Contractors associations and look forward to scheduling some joint programming with them in the coming year. Lisa Smith, past WCISA president, and others have also done a great job of promoting the chapter at events sponsored by these and other allied associations.  

The Chapter’s awards program recognizes members for their contributions to further the chapter’s mission, their lifetime achievements, service to the chapter or industry, and noteworthy accomplishments or environmental projects. Robert Phillips, Awards Committee chair did a stellar job organizing this year’s program. For me, it was gratifying to see Denice Britton honored for her life’s work with the Chapter with the Award of Merit. Recipients are listed on pages 16-17. The membership passed a Bylaws change last winter adding an additional awards category to the program for next year to recognize young professionals who have held an ISA credential for less than ten years.  I look forward to seeing what the nominations process will bring.

The Chapter’s goal for education is to deliver high quality educational and training opportunities throughout the region. The main objectives are to organize and conduct a financially successful annual conference experience that meets the needs of the membership, increase the number of regional conferences (seminars) and expand to new locations.

This year’s conference represented a wide range of topics, including science and research, the practical applications of new research and technology, new innovations in tree management, and improved business management. This approach was certainly well received. Our goal is to sponsor at least one regional conference in each state and we are on target to meet that goal. Our online evaluation system now allows us to build an annual report card of meeting effectiveness, allowing us  to develop better programming to better meet the needs of the members. If you attend one of our regional conferences, please take a moment to complete the evaluation. We really do use that information, and it’s important to us.

One of more notable achievements in our education program this year, was sponsoring a workshop for climbers in an under served area of Nevada. We were able to take advantage of funding from the Nevada Division of Forestry to conduct educational meetings for climbers throughout the state. I want to thank both Lisa Ortega (NDF) and Ryan Pendleton (Epicenter) for working out the details and organizing the workshop. The instructor, Jared Abrojena put together a team of skilled instructors to conduct the training, and feedback was very positive. Furthermore, the class was held in both English and Spanish – another objective of our current plan. Our women’s climbing workshop last fall was also a big hit. Having our own cadre of experienced and talented women climbers as speakers, empowered those who attended. This helps to encourage women to pursue climbing as a career choice, improve their proficiency and safe work practices, and helps develop teaching and leadership skills among the instructors. 

We are committed to doing special event workshops on an annual basis featuring industry ‘icons’ such as Francis Schwarz and Frank Rinn, and we are working on on-line programming for our remote, under served areas. Another goal is to develop workshops expressly for our Spanish-only members using experienced instructors who are fluent in Spanish. 

Regarding credentialing and certification, our end-statement is to increase the level of professionalism within the organization by supporting and promoting these programs. Consequently, we plan to manage ISA Credentials at the chapter-level and provide training for all the various credentials. For more information see the Credentialing Committee Report on page 5.

The Marketing and Public Relations end-statement is to promote the profession of arboriculture. Some of the objectives are to improve communication to peripheral associations, and the public. One of their major accomplishments was updating the WCISA website. Our crown jewel, wcisa.net is now mobile friendly. The committee, chaired by John Crandell from Nevada, has been doing yeoman duty by dealing with membership issues. We’re hoping to revitalize the Membership Committee in the coming months. Finally, the Governance Committee’s goal is to provide guidance and leadership to support and sustain the chapter. Their objectives include ensuring responsible governance, financial responsibility, support and promotion for research applicable to the western states—all essential for safeguarding the future of WCISA.

Lastly our Governance efforts included reviewing and revising WCISA’s bylaws and developing a board structure to better meet the needs of the members. To this end, we’ve added a board member from Arizona. We look forward to welcoming Sarah Maitland to the group this July. Let me also add in the process of creating a ‘dashboard’ for financial reporting. I’ve been exploring better ways to depict financial information, including our investments. Another goal is to involve students at the committee level and perhaps even the board level. I’d welcome input and ideas on how to engage members at all levels. Please contact me if you are interested in getting involved.    

I’d like to acknowledge the Epicenter team for the remarkable work they’ve done this year. They allow me to do so much more than just administer this organization. And I am truly grateful for what each of them brings to the table and to the chapter.  As I schedule my summer travel and events, I can’t help but realize how reliant I am on this group of professionals to accomplish my goals.

The new fiscal year begins this July 1st, and marks a ‘changing of the guard’ with respect to the Board. Reflecting back on Rick Gessner’s year as president - I would have to say it’s been a year of growth, discovery and progress for us both. Working with Rick was such a pleasure. His leadership style is conscientious and down to earth. I had such a good time getting to know him better. Now, I’m looking forward to working with Carol Kwan, the incoming president from Hawaii. Her passion for excellence and her Hawaiian style shines through everything she does. Planning has already begun for our 2019 Conference in Honolulu next year. For the theme, she’s selected “We are in this Boat Together”. It’s going to be a wonderful week, looking at arboriculture through a different lens and from different perspectives. This is how we ensure the continuity of our chapter and future of urban and rural forests. 

Stay tuned,

Rose Epperson, CAE

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-1045A

714/264-9793 mobile

559/784-8733 office