After more than 50 years as a utility arborist for Southern California Edison (SCE), Jon Pancoast, this year’s 2022 UAA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is retiring.
Jon started his career in UVM well before UAA existed – when there were no regulatory requirements, or even accepted Best Management Practices. He helped influence and drive UVM practices, and garnered the respect and admiration of all of his industry contemporaries.
There’s incredible power in this single fact – Jon has been directly involved in every major initiative involving trees and power lines on the West Coast.
Jon’s career also marked many firsts and accomplishments:
- He was one of the first (and still is) the longest serving electric utility employee in California to become an ISA certified arborist
- Jon remains to this day, the go-to Subject Matter Expert for everything related to UVM
- In addition to testifying at countless legal and regulatory cases, Jon also participated in proceedings and workshops to craft the California’s UVM regulations and provide background support and knowledge into the development of national standards such as FAC-003
While never seeking the spotlight, Jon is well known in the UVM community for pioneering new approaches to the job of utility arborist. Most importantly to him, however, would likely be his work on public and worker safety education. Jon recognized decades ago the hazards associated with people working around or climbing trees near energized lines, so he spearheaded numerous outreach efforts to prevent tragic accidents. His efforts and passion for education has likely saved many lives. Moreover, Jon’s half-century of efforts devoted to UVM in Southern California has prevented incalculable outages and fires.
Jon Pancoast is an example of how someone can be accomplished in a UVM career when there is a vision, a clear understanding of purpose, and the personal integrity to take time and effort necessary to simply make things better. He has lived by those values – even serving our country during the Vietnam War – and we congratulate him for his tremendous contributions.