With the passing of the gavel, Tim Walsh became president of the UAA on August 31, 2022. For Tim, the opportunity to lead is a tremendous honor.
“Filling the role of president is truly an example of standing on the shoulders of giants,” Tim says. “We have a great staff, board of directors and many amazing volunteers. I’m looking forward to where we can move the organization in the next year.”
Tim’s involvement with the UAA started about 12 years ago, and he’s remained active ever since. His work has included volunteering on the Safety and Professional Development Committees, serving a term as director, being the Champion for the Safety Committee and a member of the Executive Director Search Committee. Tim’s involvement in the Student Society of Arboriculture (SSA) while studying at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point was a natural path influencing his professional development and personal growth.
“The SSA has a strong link to the Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA), the local ISA chapter. Many student members of the WAA became professional members of the association and ultimately held leadership positions in WAA and other industry associations. My time with the SSA, especially in a leadership role, paved the way for my involvement in the UAA and other professional groups,” he said.
Tim says launching his career in arboriculture was either fate or a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
“My collegiate career began at Nicolet Area Technical College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where I learned the tools and techniques for some aspects of arboriculture, tree identification, equipment uses and general safety. Fortunately, a job opening at a residential tree care company allowed me to earn the money needed to continue my education. At the time, I didn’t think I would stay in arboriculture, even though I enjoyed most aspects of the work, with the exception of some harsh winter days in northern Wisconsin.
“I heard about a tree climbing class while enrolled at UW-Stevens Point and I learned more about the Urban Forestry program there, which led me down the long and winding path to this point in my career.”
Today, Tim is the corporate safety director at The Davey Tree Expert Company, where he supports all aspects of health, safety and compliance.
“I work closely with operations and the other support groups to provide governance and oversight to our field teams. My days vary, sometimes developing new training, creating more effective policies and procedures, meeting with clients, getting out in the field with crews, and participating in numerous Teams/Zoom/Google meetings.
“Davey encourages stewardship for the industry and supporting our local communities through initiatives like the Davey Green Leaders volunteer program. My role as a safety professional directly supports my involvement in the UAA. The UAA and Davey both hold safety as a core value, so it’s a perfect fit.”
And when it comes to safety resources, the new president and former champion of the UAA safety committee wants members to always look first to the UAA for valuable information to help in their daily work.
“Start with the website to find valuable information. Look to the Newsline, listen to safety podcasts and sign up for webinars, read fact sheets, watch our PSA videos in English and Spanish, symposia proceedings, or learn while serving on our many committees. Additional resources available address the regulations from OSHA, ANSI, FMCSA, and manufacturers of industry equipment or gear.”
Growing the UAA and better serving the membership to understand and address their needs as well as those of sponsors will be a collaborative effort with staff, the board and volunteers, Tim says. And, of course, safety is at the core of everything he will do.
“As president, I want to focus on collaborative safety efforts with the vegetation management profession. The basis for these efforts surrounds Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, which is sometimes referred to as Human and Organizational Performance Improvement, or HOP. We all need to speak the same language around safety culture and how we view it. We need to understand and implement the new view of safety, often called ‘Safety Differently.’”