The Ontario Commercial Arborist Association
How It All Started
Written By Ken Lund - Four Seasons Tree Care
It was spring time 1994 when Harold Van Dyke asked me to attend a meeting in his home to discuss the need for an association that would cater to the needs of companies engaged in commercial arboriculture.
As a member of the National Arborist Association (Now the Tree Care Industry Association), Harold had seen the benefits of commercial arborists coming together to form localized associations.
Those early meetings included Harold and Larry Van Dyke (Van Dykes Tree Care), Lewis Arnold (Shady Lane Expert Tree Care), Ruurd van de Ven (Arborvalley Urban Forestry), Ken Lund (Four Seasons Tree Care), Owen Goltz (Vermeer Canada), and Jim Coats who was serving as the executive director to the ISA Ontario Chapter.
Harold appointed us all to our positions and we were in business, no vote was needed, he had it all figured out. The Ontario Commercial Arborists Association was born.
As busy as we all were with our businesses, we all had a passion to get the association off of the ground. We had set goals to achieve and we shared them with any commercial arborist who cared.
Promote and improve standards in commercial arboriculture.
Exchange ideas and improve the knowledge of commercial arborists through education and networking.
Promote safety of our workers and the public.
Promote public understanding of arboriculture.
Increase public awareness of the role of the professional commercial arborist.
Influence government legislation for the benefit of the public.
These goals continue to be a driving force for the OCAA to this day.
Within the first year of inception we had a Constitution and Bylaws, our logo was created, an educational program was in place and networking opportunities such as the OCAA dinner during ISA Ontario’s annual conference had been set up.
There were no limits to how we would embarrass ourselves for the sake of promoting the OCAA. This was evident in the OCAA dinner theatre presentation at the ISA Ontario’s annual conference. The title of the play was Hack ‘Em ‘N Stack ‘Em vs The Ultimate Tree Care Company. Harold van Dyke made his acting debut as Mrs. Thelma Titebuck. Not a very pretty sight but well worth the price of admission!
In May of 1996 the very first O.C.A.A. day of service took place at the Quaker Meeting House on Yonge St. in Newmarket. Fifteen firms donated time and materials to bring the day to a tremendous success. Camaraderie between arborists from different companies was gaining momentum. Anyone who has ever taken part in an OCAA Day of Service can attest to the fellowship and experience gained through participation.
When the Province of Ontario was developing its Cosmetic Pesticide Ban the O.C.A.A. formed a Plant Health Care Committee and members James Doyle (Davey Tree), Ken Lund (Four Seasons Tree Care) and Steve Mann (Bartlett Tree Experts) met with representatives from the Ministry of Environment and presented a case that was influential in achieving exemptions for preserving trees.
Arborist Safe Work Practices were developed with endless effort from Ruurd van de Ven (Arborvalley Urban Forestry). These documents continue to develop with the involvement of O.C.A.A. members.
The Ontario Commercial Arborist Association has now established itself as a valued partner in helping commercial arborists “build a better company”. By utilizing OCAA resources such as the Owners and Managers Guide, educational seminars and training sessions, the OCAA library, Day of Service and networking events, firms are able to quickly raise their professionalism to much higher levels.
Over the years the Ontario Commercial Arborist Association has built itself on the expertise and involvement of Ontario’s finest arborists. It will continue to be a cornerstone to commercial arboriculture in Ontario as its members and directors actively promote its purpose.