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Trees & Utilities

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

September 15-17, 2020


2020 Conference Agenda

Tentative, subject to change.
All events are at the Milwaukee Center unless otherwise noted.

  Monday, Sep 14, 2020

  • 11:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Registration Open
  • 12:00 p.m. Asplundh/TREE Fund Golf Outing Meet at Hilton Milwaukee City Center for Transportation, if Needed
    *additional registration required
    Register Now

  Tuesday, Sep 15, 2020

  • 7:00 a.m–5:30 p.m. Registration Open at the Milwaukee Center
  • 8:00–11:30 a.m. Women in Vegetation Management Workshop *additional registration required
    The 3rd Annual Women in Vegetation Management workshop is on the horizon. Are you in?

    Despite these turbulent times, look ahead to an amazing workshop to help you navigate your career’s future!

    On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) and our partners at Arbor Day Foundation, I personally invite you to join us. Navigating your career path is an exciting journey, today employers are seeking the best candidate having diverse talents, ideas, experience, style and perspectives. Our workshop offers opportunity for personal growth and enhancing your industry peer network.

    Rebecca Spach, UAA Director, Director of Vegetation Management, FirstEnergy
    Who should attend?

    Any vegetation management (VM) industry participant committed to developing and advancing women in the industry.

    What will be discussed?

    Navigating Your Career Path: Opportunities and Obstacle. Keynote and panel speakers will have a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise in VM.

    What’s in it for me?
    • Personal growth and inspiration.
    • Valuable perspectives that can be shared within your company.
    • Networking with peers who can increase resources and reinforce best practices.
    Reserve Your Spot Today
    Rebecca Spach, UAA Director, Director of Vegetation Management, FirstEnergy
    8:00–11:30 a.m. Vegetation Management Departments Go Green Workshop *additional registration required

    Across North America, public demand and availability are shaping a more sustainable energy future. The changing landscape is influencing how resource management, especially vegetation management, is perceived, providing new opportunities to leverage existing efforts or to innovate on managed lands that transport and distribute energy.

    Increased familiarity with the trend is to the advantage of VM teams interested in contributing to internal communication, sustainability reporting, strategic resource uses, and stakeholder management. Join the conversation and participate in breakout sessions related to:

    • Managing for biodiversity
    • Using vegetation management activities in environmental, social and governance (ESG) indices, specifically in natural resource management components (GRI, DJSI, SASB, SDG)
    • The potential contribution from vegetation management success stories in your company’s sustainability report
    • The role of vegetation management in climate change adaptation
    Facilitators: Josiane Bonneau, Wildlife Habitat Council | Phil Chen, CNUC | John Steelman, Grow With Trees | Stan Vera-Art, Grow With Trees
  • 11:30 a.m. Exhibit Hall Opens
  • 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Boxed Lunch with Exhibitors included with conference registration
  • 1:00–1:15 p.m. Opening Kick-Off Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation President | Eric Brown, Utility Arborist Association President
  • 1:15–2:15 p.m. Rock Your Life  Keynote Speaker   Melanie Spring, Chief Storyteller & Approachable Badass


    When we share our stories, we connect with each other at a deeper level. When we make friends with our fear, we can step into who we're meant to be.

    Working as a brand strategist with businesses of all sizes - from big brands like Five Guys to brand new entrepreneurs - for the past two decades, Melanie once drove 7,000 miles in 3 weeks on the Live Your Brand Tour to find out why great brands work. The HUMANS were at the center of everything.

    Along the way, she noticed that every human had a personal story to share along with their brand story. Diving into the methodology of writing branded talks, she saw an even bigger pattern - people wanted to write their talk, yet focused on what they had to do at their "real job" instead of their bigger impact in the world. She knew she had to change this.

    As an international keynote speaker, storyteller, and public speaking trainer, Melanie took all of her corporate & personal branding experience and created a safe place for Kickass Humans to write the talk they needed to write so they could share it with the world through her course, SPEAK With Confidence.

    Melanie & her Crew travel the world creating branded experiences for humans like you to find your stories, build your confidence, and amplify your voices through their Rock Your Pitch corporate trainings.

    When Melanie’s not playing with speakers & corporate folks or rocking the stage, she's living the Colorado life - climbing mountains and chasing sunsets with her husband and her pup.

    Find out more at

  • 2:15–3:15 p.m. Opening Ceremony: ROW Steward, Tree Line, and UAA Pine and Silver Shield Awards
  • 3:15–4:00 p.m. Break with Exhibitors
  • 4:00–5:00 p.m. Workforce Retention
  • 5:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Closes
  • 5:30–7:30 p.m. Networking Reception at Hilton Milwaukee City Center included with conference registration

  Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020

  • 7:00–7:45 a.m. Break with Exhibitors – enjoy light snack and beverage included with conference registration
  • 7:50–8:25 a.m. Hiring and Training: Growing a Safety Culture for Employee Retention Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Sara Dreiser
    Habitat Best Management Practices and Birds Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Marc White
  • 8:30–9:05 a.m. DTE Energy: Use of LiDar on Distribution Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Alistair J.H. Smith, II
    Invasive Plants on Rights of Way Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Mark Renz
  • 9:05–9:50 a.m. Breakfast with Exhibitors included with conference registration
  • 9:55–10:30 a.m. Technology Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Bill Conn
    Update on the CCAA Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Dan Salas
  • 10:35–11:10 a.m. A Practical Approach for Utility Vegetation Management Automation at the Crew Level Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Chris Kelly
    Habitat and Pollinators Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Jennifer Hopwood
  • 11:15–11:50 a.m. Manitoba Hydro - Augmented Reality Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Kimberly Laing
    Growing Together: Working with Community Tree Groups Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Arbor Day Foundation, Speaker TBD
  • 11:55 a.m.–1:10 p.m. UAA Lunch included with conference registration
  • 1:15–1:50 p.m. American Transmission Company/Utility Relationships with State Department of Transportation and Railroads Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Dan Horton & Joe Benzschawel
    Labor & Workforce Supply Issues within the Utility Vegetation Management Market Concurrent Sessions Room #2 John Roselle
  • 1:55–2:30 p.m. Analytics of Vegetation Management Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Bob Bell
    Workforce Retention & Training Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Utility Arborists Association Workforce Retention & Training Task Force
  • 2:35–3:10 p.m. Cost of Deferred Maintenance Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Phil Chen
    Utility Arborist Association/Butte College: Qualified Worker Training Program Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Larry Abernathy
  • 3:10–3:50 p.m. Break with Exhibitors
  • 3:55–4:30 p.m. Can we estimate the likelihood of failure for impact along distribution lines? Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Greg Dahle
    The Utility Vegetation Management Professional Development Program Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Speaker TBD
  • 4:35–5:10 p.m. Pollinator Health and Integrated Vegetation Management: What we know and where we need to be Concurrent Sessions Room #1 Anand Persad
    Utility Vegetation Management Professional Development Program Discussion Panel Concurrent Sessions Room #2 Speaker TBD

  Thursday, Sep 17, 2020

  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Break with Exhibitors – enjoy light snack and beverage included with conference registration
  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. RISE on Glyphosate and other herb-related topics Megan Provost
  • 8:45–9:30 a.m. Herbicide Panel Speakers TBD
  • 9:30–10:15 a.m. Breakfast with Exhibitors included with conference registration
  • 10:15–11:00 a.m. Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of Vegetations Risks on a Fire Prone Electricity Network Tim Hustwayte
  • 11:00–11:30 a.m. Disaster Response Plan-responding to COVID Speaker TBD
  • 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Fire/Risk John Ball
  • 12:15–12:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony
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