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As we kick off 2022, where do you see the UAA’s reputation in the industry? How does that compare to five or ten years ago?

If I had to choose one word, it would be “growing”. The UAA has always had a strong reputation among practitioners, but now other players in the utility industry are beginning to take notice. We are the resource of choice for people in the know. The UAA is driving innovation and best practices through research, education, and thought leadership.

On the heels of the recent member survey, what have you discovered needs to be a priority for the organization?

One of the themes in the survey responses was the tremendous benefits included in a UAA membership. Much of the tools and information we offer are found inside the “member portal” of our website. Generating attention for these perks is a starting point to enhance our networking strengths. Making sure our members know the power of the organization will in turn fuel external awareness. Furthering our reputation outside the industry and professional development are two priorities for the UAA moving forward.

What do you believe to be the biggest challenge facing the industry during the next five years?

Recruitment and retention are certainly high on the list. Outside of our immediate areas of influence, utility arboriculture and UVM are underrecognized as industries or a viable career path. Changing perceptions and awareness will be a major undertaking and will require a review of our current processes and current assumptions. And that may get uncomfortable as we grow.

Any parting thoughts?

The UAA is in a great spot with good people doing good things. Growing the organization will involve strategic thinking from industry thought leaders. A great base was set with the vision committee’s recent work, and now it is up to us to use that foundation to grow.