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Trees & Utilities

Trees & Utilities

Omaha, Nebraska

August 28–30, 2018


Arbor Day Foundation Utility Arborist Association
Arbor Day Foundation Utility Arborist Association

2018 Conference Agenda

date  Monday, Aug 27, 2018

  • 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Registration Open
  • 12:00 p.m. 24th Annual Asplundh Golf Outing

date  Tuesday, Aug 28, 2018

  • 8:00–11:30 a.m. Utility Specialist Certification Workshop
    The ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist credential is offered to ISA Certified Arborists who specialize in utility arboriculture while meeting the eligibility requirements of the program. Candidates must pass an exam designed to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of and dedication to correct arboriculture practices that covers a broad range of topics specific to the industry.

    To aid candidates in supplementing their knowledge of the industry, ISA is updating the Utility Arborist Study Guide which will serve as a general reference for the industry*. The guide is peer reviewed, thoroughly researched, and referenced to ensure it aligns with the current trends and practices within the Utility Arboriculture industry.

    The study guide was written by Randall H. Miller (formerly with PacifiCorp, now with CNUC, and author of the ISA’s IVM BMP guide) and Geoff Kempter (with Asplundh, and author of the ISA’s Utility Pruning BMP guide).

    This workshop provides an overview of the new study guide and describes how it can be used as preparation for the Utility Specialist exam. Randy and Geoff will co-present, each focusing on the chapters they wrote. Topics include Pruning, Safety, Vegetation Management, Electrical Knowledge, Program Management, Storm Preparation and Response, and Communications. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

    *While the study guide is a terrific resource and reference for the exam and the industry, becoming an ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist is based on the candidate’s eligibility and passing score on the exam. Exam content is based on areas defined by the Job Task Analysis conducted periodically by the ISA Credentialing Department.
    Geoff Kempter | Randy Miller
  • 8:00–11:30 a.m. Women in Vegetation Management
    Making the Best of Your Career:
    Things I’ve learned in my career in natural resources. Your career path may take you interesting places. Being willing to go after opportunities that take you out of your comfort zone and tax your skill-set ultimately reaps rewards. This presentation demonstrates a career path and the opportunities that opened doors to different responsibilities, promotions and the power to change my environment.
    Luba Sitar, ITC (retired)

    My Experiences from Consulting Arborist to Manager of Vegetation Management

    Experiences throughout my career in vegetation management have formed a unique perspective as I have become the manager of a significant utility program and a leader in the utility vegetation management industry.
    Emily Kramer, ComEd

    Luba Sitar, ITC (retired) | Emily Kramer, ComEd
  • 9:45–10:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Box lunches with exhibitors
  • 1:00–2:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony/Safety Kick Off
    Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation President | Sara Sankowich, UAA President
  • 2:00–3:30 p.m. It’s Not Just About Me
    Tony Crow
  • 3:30–4:15 p.m. Break with exhibitors
  • 4:15–5:30 p.m. Utility Vegetation Management and the Wildfire Liability Exposure
    Large wildfires in California and the continual litigation has created serous concerns in liability insurance coverage for both utilities and the vegetation management contractors. This panel will look at the perspective from the insurers point of view. What do they believe utilities and contractors can do to mitigate that risk. Presentations from Insurance company risk managers will be followed by a facilitated Q &A discussion.
    Mark Bluestein, Vice President/Senior Counsel - AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. | Don Stone, Partner - Paine Hamblen LLP | Michael Daleo, System Forester - San Diego Gas & Electric
  • 5:30–7:30 p.m. Networking Reception

date  Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018

  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. Future Vegetation Management “Observatories”: The Value of Industry/Academic Partnerships in Understanding Ecological Impacts of Rights-of-Way Vegetation Management and Engaging Students of All Disciplines in Practical Environmental Issues
    This presentation details the benefits of the establishment of a Western United States Integrated Vegetation Management Research Network, specifically: (1) the challenges of establishing of a vegetation management research network on multiple sites, and how the engagement of local universities / field stations can serve to increase the diversity of research on IVM sites, (2) provides a summary of “lessons learned” in the establishment of a network / industry collaborative, particularly when cross-walking specific industry goals into an academic research framework, (3) encourages students and faculty to engage in real world problems, which has the dual benefit of providing useful research to industry, as well as increasing student interest in the sciences and student retention rate, and (4) details a summary of “success stories”, both in research and in helping students learn new skills and obtain worthwhile environmental careers after graduation.
    Dr. Halle, Sonoma State
  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. Reliability Based Management
    Participants of the 2018 System Utility Vegetation Management Summit will discuss reliability based management strategies in use today.
    Phil Charlton | Erik Creekmur
  • 8:50–9:35 a.m. Documentation and Promotion of Habitat Improvement of Right of Ways
    Presentation will discuss the benefits of Integrated Vegetation Management on right of ways from the perspective of enhancing pollinator and wildlife habitat. In particular, the proper selection and use of herbicides as a tool to control invasive vegetation and promote early successional habitats, promoting pollinators such as honey bees, wild bees, butterflies, etc. Also, I will discuss how we can document, promote, and communicate the benefits to our industry and to the general public.
    Dr. David Spak, Bayer
  • 8:50–9:35 The 2017 PG&E/CNUC Pipeline Vegetation Management Survey
    The presentation will cover the renewed UAA Pipeline Task Force and its initiatives. It will also summarize PG&E and CNUC's collaboration on a survey of North American transmission gas pipeline operators in 2017.
    Randy Miller, CNUC | Craig Kelly, PG&E
  • 9:40–10:10 a.m. Substantial Changes to A300 IVM Standard
    An update on changes.
    William Rees, BGE (retired)
  • 9:40–10:10 a.m. LiDAR for Distribution Vegetation Management
    In 2017, ComEd conducted a ‘proof of concept’ pilot study examining the feasibility of LiDAR, near-infrared imaging and hyperspectral systems for Distribution Vegetation Management (VM). Although LiDAR has a proven track record for Transmission VM, it has yet to be an established practice on the distribution system. This presentation will cover the process taken for the pilot including: site selection, vendor selection/criteria, deliverables, issues faced and final results. The concept of volumetric contractual pricing from LiDAR data for cyclical trimming will also be examined.
    Nick Day, Com Ed
  • 10:10–10:55 a.m. Break with Exhibitors
  • 10:55–11:40 a.m. Showcasing Environmental Stewardship - A Journey Through Compatible, Biodiverse ROW Ecosystems
    Come take a journey through compatible, biodiverse, pollinator rich, stable, plant communities across the nation in our first Environmental Stewardship showcase video. Hear updates on the UAA Task Force - Managing Thriving Ecosystems on ROWs including their findings toward the goal of identifying key knowledge gaps, practices, tools, and techniques to assist the utility industry in providing and prescribing the best possible approaches for managing thriving herbaceous ecosystems on utility ROWs.
    ROW Habitat Video (Sara Sanknowich; Unitil)
  • 10:55–11:40 a.m. Structuring IVM – An Accessible Framework
    When we talk about IVM, it’s important that we speak the same language. As vegetation managers, how we communicate our program intentions is reflected in how we operate. IVM best management practices span a wide range from non-selective structurally-oriented methods for clearing to highly selective ecologically-oriented treatments for biological facilitation. Based on this division, we propose an accessible framework for communicating IVM across a diverse working environment. This presentation is a visual journey through setting management objectives, defining expected vegetation outcomes, and envisioning treatment frequency and intensity under two IVM strategies: structural and ecological.
    John Steelman, Grow with Trees
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. UAA and SMA: Strengthening our Partnership
    On October 25, 2006, the Utility Arborist Association and Society of Municipal Arborists adopted a Memorandum of Understanding affirming that “We share the common goal of improving the quality of life for all of our citizens by enhancing the extent and condition of the urban forest and by delivering safe, reliable electric power.” This short and simple MOU has powerful implications if it is embraced by our organizations and industries. We will explore how this MOU has influenced the communications and collaboration between utility arborists, municipal arborists and the community. We believe now is the time to place a renewed emphasis on this MOU and utility and municipal cooperation.
    Keith Cline, County of Fairfax | Jack McCabe, Davey Resource Group
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Trees for Houston
    The presentation focuses on how the nursery promotes the CNP brand within our footprint when Barry and his group plant trees in a park, street side or other worthy venue. The nursery also advances our Right Tree Right Place program since tall and low-maturing trees alike are grown there.
    Gary O’Neil
  • 12:15–1:45 p.m. UAA Lunch
  • 1:45–2:30 p.m. Going Out On A Limb - A dramatic shift in approach from 'compatible corridors' to control of public safety and reliability 'defects' has Hydro One on a steep learning curve of short cycle prescriptive vegetation management.
    Values changes after a shift from being a crown corporation to a publicly traded utility readjusted the corporate focus to reliability. Vegetation Management was seen as most opportune vehicle to success on this front and has been challenged to contribute to a 40% improvement in tree caused outage reliability in 5 years. To achieve this lofty goal Hydro One is shifting to a defect based program that will define optimal cycles of work on various elements of a 115,000 km distribution system after a single focused pass through the system that will take 3 years after decades of 8 to 11 year corridor focused cycles.
    David Price
  • 1:45–2:30 p.m. Designing the Most Productive Work Day & Week for the Production Arborist
    In this session we take a look at maximizing the work day and work week for the production arborist. How can Electric Utilities and their contracting partners design a work day and week to set up the crews to win?
    Adam Larson, Xcel Energy
  • 2:35–3:20 p.m. Professional UVM Program Update & Adam's Final Project
    A brief review of the Professional Utility Vegetation Management course: The new curriculum, how to sign up, and general information about the course structure. The second half of the talk will be a presentation of the final project which the course builds into over a 2 year period. This will include program design, stakeholder review, IVM practices, innovative solutions, budgeting, scheduling, risk management, and all aspects of designing a UVM program from scratch.
    Adam Warf, ECI - Environmental Consultants
  • 2:35–3:20 p.m. ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist Job Task Analysis: Overview, Summary and Trends
    The Presentation will focus on why a Job Task Analysis (JTA) is important as well as provide the results and various trends identified as part of the JTA process. Included will be how the most recent JTA in 2017 was completed, how those results are used in conjunction with the ISA Utility Specialist Credential, and any trends identified compared to previous JTAs that have been completed.
    Kevin Martlage, ISA
  • 3:20–4:00 p.m. Break with Exhibitors
  • 4:00–5:00 p.m. Utilities: What Are You Doing That is Different
    The program will include a unique element where utility managers attending the Trees & Utilities conference will have the opportunity to share what they are doing that may be new to them and the industry. This might include new equipment, strategies for work optimization, use of technology or any other area of innovation.
    Each presentation is to be no more than 10 minutes in length.
  • 4:00–4:30 p.m. Operational Excellence: Many seek it, few achieve it!
    What does operational excellence mean to you? Life is full of choices and our work life is no different. Success in our industry depends on outstanding human performance. So why do leaders in our industry struggle with how to place a value on safety in an operational setting. I’ll define success as Operational Excellence which is equal to results plus operational discipline. Furthermore, we'll talk about how each one of us can self assess our own culture of safety.
    Paul Hursyz, Duke Energy
  • 4:30–5:00 p.m. Rethinking Safety Within Utility Vegetation Management
    Rethinking how the Utility Vegetation Managers engage with employees to foster a safety culture centered around learning and teaching. Moving away from the traditional approach of safety compliance by blame, shame and retrain. Acknowledging that even the not perfect and examining how managers create procedures/processes that are resilient to errors. The best employees are.
    John Daubenspeck, Davey Resource Group, Inc.

date  Thursday, Aug 30, 2018

  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. CT Status Closed Chain of Custody
    Closed Chain of Custody BMP and Challenges at the State Level
    Lucas Beane, Lucas Tree | Sammy Keziah
  • 8:45–9:30 a.m. Emerging Technologies in Utility Vegetation Management
    Remote sensing is an emerging geospatial data collection technology that utilities have adopted to build models and analyze risk to prevent utility assets from vegetation threats and clearance violations. Most remote sensing UVM programs focus on managing the evolving NERC FAC-003-4 requirements, which require inspection of minimum vegetation clearance distances, assessment of risk, quantification of vegetation treatment, or health assessment of forested areas within the right of way.
    Jacob Hall, Quantum Spacial
  • 9:30–10:15 a.m. Break with Exhibitors
  • 10:15–11:00 a.m. Tree Line USA: Inspiring Partnerships for Education, Engagement & Energy-Savings (Panel)
    Since 1993, Tree Line USA has offered utilities positive recognition for the work they do to help city trees and energy delivery systems coexist. In many cities, the electric distribution company impacts more city trees each year than any other entity. Tree Line USA provides recognition for companies that do that work in a safe, sustainable manner. This presentation will offer perspectives from federal, state, and local partners on how the program continues to add value to utilities, their customers, and their community partners.
    Jan Davis, U.S. Forest Service | Joelle Teachey, Trees Greenville | Angel Spell, City of Spokane
  • 11:00–11:45 a.m. Hurricane Maria Restoration Effort in Puerto Rico, Identifying Challenges and Opportunities
    With Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico shortly after Harvey hits TX and Irma hitting FL, what were challenges of responding to Maria, especially when the Power company and the territory are both in bankruptcy? Wright Tree responded to the need for crews and equipment in October and will be providing assistance in Puerto Rico through July of 2018. I will talk about the challenges and provide prospective on what went well and what could have been done more effective knowing what we know now.
    Will Nutter, Wright Service Corp
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Closing Ceremony
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