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Trees & Utilities

2021 Trees & Utilities Conference

August 31-September 2
Minneapolis, MN


Past Presentations


  Monday, Sep 9, 2019

  • 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Field Demonstration: Pollinator Habitat (Hands On Training) Presented by the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group | Visit here or more information
  • 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Registration Open
  • 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group Meeting
    *additional registration required | View the agenda here.
  • 12:00 p.m. Asplundh/TREE Fund Golf Outing Register Here
    *additional registration required

  Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019

  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Workshop Breakfast Junior Ballroom Foyer
  • 7:00 a.m–5:30 p.m. Registration Open
  • 8:00–11:30 a.m. Women in Vegetation Management Workshop Junior Ballroom D
    *additional registration required
    Talented women and men in utility arboriculture - and allied professions – talk together about career paths, challenges and success stories. Hear about finding and capitalizing on opportunities and the preparations to be ready when these doors appear!
    Anne Marie Moran, National Grid | Josiane Bonneau, Wildlife Habitat Council | Jennifer Arkett, Duquesne Light Company, retired & past UAA President
  • 8:00–11:30 a.m. Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group Meeting Junior Ballroom B, C
    *additional registration required | View the agenda here.
    A diverse mix of habitat enthusiasts and partners from across the energy and transportation sectors join to learn, collaborate, and advance pollinator habitat on working lands.
  • 11:30 a.m. Exhibit Hall Opens Exhibit Hall C
  • 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Boxed Lunch with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C included with conference registration
  • 1:00–2:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony: ROW Steward/Tree Line USA/UAA Pine & Silver Shield Awards. Exhibit Hall B
    Leaders of the Utility Arborist Association and the Arbor Day Foundation kick off the conference.

    View Slides
    Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation President | Robert Richens, UAA President
  • 2:00–3:00 p.m. Overview of Renewables Market and Duke Energy’s Renewable Business Exhibit Hall B
    An overview on renewable market trends, emerging issues and the impact on the power system, specifically as they relate to Duke Energy’s renewable business.

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    Chris Fallon, Duke Energy Renewables and Commercial Portfolio
  • 3:00–3:45 p.m. Break with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C
  • 4:00–5:00 p.m. Would You Watch Out for My Safety? Empowering People to Work Safe! Exhibit Hall B
    Start the conference off with a fun and engaging magical message about the “why” and “how” of working safely and the benefits of bringing that same safety mindset home. John shares how to take personal responsibility for your own safety and provides proven techniques to make people feel empowered to approach others with their safety concerns.
    John Drebinger, John Drebinger Presentations
  • 5:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Closes Exhibit Hall C
  • 5:30–7:30 p.m. Networking Reception at Hilton Netherland Plaza included with conference registration

  Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019

  • 7:00 a.m. Exhibit Hall Opens Exhibit Hall C
  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Breakfast with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C included with conference registration
  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. Climate Change Adaptation: Nature-Based Solutions for Resilient ROW Junior Ballroom D
    Climate change is affecting a number of ecological parameters, including species ranges and migration, spread of invasive species, and length of growing season. These impacts are a threat to overall biodiversity and to that of ROWs. However, ROWs can play a role in ecological community resilience through adapted vegetation management practices. This presentation will include an overview of nature-based solutions to create climate resilient ROWs, including what adaption means for ROWs, the potential impacts, and practical implementation strategies for vegetation managers.

    View Slides
    Josiane Bonneau, Wildlife Habitat Council
  • 8:00–8:45 a.m. Predictive Damage Models and Storm Preparedness Junior Ballroom C
    Due to the unpredictable nature of severe weather events, emergency storm planning is a particularly challenging problem. The resulting damage to electric networks may prompt a multi-day restoration effort. Learn how National Grid is taking a much more data driven approach to preparing for and responding to such events by understanding expected impact on power distribution assets.

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    Michael McCallan, NationalGrid
  • 8:50–9:35 a.m. Rethinking Specifications and Planning to Promote Habitat and Sustainable Vegetation Junior Ballroom D
    OG&E is taking innovative approaches to promote habitat and sustainable vegetation management on their rights-of-way and other lands. Not all of the approaches began as “green efforts,” yet they are having positive, ancillary benefits on habitat and sustainable vegetation practices. A key element of this presentation will be how OG&E and partner vendors have unexpectedly become better positioned to advance stewardship despite focusing on other key issues during contract revisions that were seemingly unrelated.

    View Slides
    Jarod Cassada, OG&E
  • 8:50–9:35 a.m. Modeling Tree Susceptibility to Windthrow in Electrical Transmission ROWs Junior Ballroom C
    There are many potential causes of tree failure in a transmission ROW, ranging from individual tree health to regional conditions to weather events. When applied forces such as wind gusts or sustained wind events occur, even healthy trees are susceptible to uproot or overturn, potentially coming into contact with a transmission line. Formation’s high-resolution Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) modeling framework quantifies characteristics of historical high wind events to identify trees within corridors that frequently experience high wind events or extreme events that are infrequent, but hazardous. This presentation will provide an overview of the wind modeling parameters, results of tree level analysis, and how the analysis results assist with prioritization of vegetation management activities along electric transmission corridors in high fire threat areas.

    View Slides
    Susan Jackson, Formation Environmental | Bob Bell, PG&E
  • 9:40–10:10 a.m. Cost Efficiency of IVM: Considering Costs and Benefits Junior Ballroom D
    A series of projects established IVM as the least-costly and most beneficial ROW vegetation management strategy from a longer-term perspective of sustainability. Learn about the findings that lead to this conclusion.

    View Slides
    John Goodfellow, BioCompliance Consulting, Inc.
  • 9:40–10:10 a.m. Vegetation Outage Data: The ComEd Perspective Junior Ballroom C
    Figures don't lie, but liars figure. How do you figure? Learn about the collection, interpretation and usage of outage history data and ComEd.

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    Sean Redman, ComEd
  • 10:10–10:55 a.m. Break with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C
  • 10:55–11:40 a.m. Premiere Screening: LifeLines  Followed by panel discussion with featured experts Junior Ballroom D
    Utility rights-of-way are essential parts of the terrestrial ecosystems that sustain humans and the life around us. An important component of productive ecosystems is a diverse and abundant community of pollinators. Much has been written about honeybees, but we have ignored thousands of species of native bee, moth and butterfly pollinators in our landscapes. UAA’s latest video “LifeLines,” will be premiered and Dr. Doug Tallamy will address these species’ important ecological roles and the plants required to support their populations. Q&A session will follow.
    Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware | Darrel Gaudet, AltaLink | Chris Staby, AltaLink | David Bayard, Seattle City Light
  • 10:55-11:40 a.m. Operational Cost: O&M Junior Ballroom C
    FirstEnergy has recently enhanced its vegetation management practices to provide better customer service by implementing forward thinking accounting practices to maximize operation maintenance and capital funds for vegetation management. An overview of the program, examples of field implementation and the approaches many benefits will be shared.

    View Slides
    Mark Contat, FirstEnergy
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Regulatory Mechanisms for Promoting Habitat on ROWs Junior Ballroom D
    This presentation will summarize the Endangered Species Act and tools to promote conservation of species of concern, such as pollinators, while also providing regulatory predictability for landowners. These tools include Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, Safe Harbor Agreements, and Conference Reports. Specific examples will be provided.

    View Slides
    Lori H. Nordstrom, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Partnerships for Success Junior Ballroom C
    Vegetation managers are on the front lines of customer service, interacting often with customers and communities, but it’s not your only job. While tree distribution and planting programs can improve the image and performance of a utility, delivering those programs successfully may depend on internal and external partners—experts in marketing, funding, or event management. Find out how to engage these partners to help you implement a successful program—and make your life easier!

    View Slides
    Lead Presenter: Kristen Bousquet, Arbor Day Foundation (other participants TBD)
  • 12:15–1:45 p.m. Utility Arborist Association Business Luncheon Exhibit Hall B included with conference registration
  • 1:50–2:35 p.m. Integrated Habitat Management: Enhancing IVM Junior Ballroom D
    With the green revolution continuing to gain momentum, energy companies and rights-of-way (ROW) managers are seeing the ecological and socio-economic value of their ROW. Traditional Integrated Vegetation Management has been helping energy companies to keep their ROWs in compliance; however, there is more that can be done to increase the benefits of the ROW for native plants, animals, and humans. The presentation will go over steps to be taken to develop, implement, and monitor a successful Integrated Habitat Management (IHM) program.

    View Slides
    Roy van Houten, Wetlands Studies and Solutions, Inc. | Ronan Mason, TC Energy Corporation
  • 1:50–2:35 p.m. Condition-Based Maintenance: Threat Mapping in the Transmission Right-Of-Way using Remote Sensing Junior Ballroom C
    Learn about Duke Energy’s Transmission Vegetation Management program which is implementing remote sensing, optimization, machine learning and other technologies to transform the program into a data-driven, condition-based program.

    View Slides
    Jack Gardner, Duke Energy
  • 2:40–3:25 p.m. Panel: Pioneering Prescribed Burning and Grazing BMPs on ROW Junior Ballroom D
    Prescribed burning and intensive rotational grazing practices are attracting more attention recently as viable best practices for ROW vegetation management. The newly updated ANSI A300 Integrated Vegetation Management Standard Part 7 now includes prescribed burning as a best management practice, and a number of utilities have successfully implemented prescribed burns on their ROWs to enhance native prairie habitat. This presentation will cover lessons learned establishing native prairie landscapes through prescribed burning and utilizing grazing in areas where herbicides are limited or restricted, mowing practices are undesirable and hand clearing is too labor intensive.

    View Slides
    Christopher Johnson, The Davey Institute | Jason Grossman, Liberty Utilities | Sara Brown, ComEd | Eric Brown, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
  • 2:40–3:25 p.m. Bringing LiDAR Technology In-House for Utility Vegetation Management Junior Ballroom C
    Learn about the background and motivation behind bringing LiDAR capture for UVM in house. Discussion points will include the principle technology innovations, joint collaboration needed to achieve the necessary solution, how the data was integrated within the FPL workflows, project successes and key learning points.

    View Slides
    Dan Marsh, Florida Power & Light | Matt Churches, NM Group
  • 3:25–4:05 p.m. Break with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C
  • 4:05–5:00 p.m. Panel: Habitat Studies on Insect Pollinator on ROW Junior Ballroom D
    An overview of plant and invertebrate analyses observed in integrated vegetation management (IVM) programs in rights-of-way (ROW’s) across North America. The data suggests that along with seasonality, native bee population dynamics varies with habitat quality, site characteristics and length of time following conversion to IVM as well as adjacent and off corridor land use. Butterfly population dynamics however, while also variable, was generally lower overall in ROW compared to other sites.
    Gabriel Karns, Ohio State University | Anand Persad, Davey Resource Institute
  • 4:05–5:00 p.m. Don’t Take Safety Too Serious! Junior Ballroom C
    Effective safety training should be interactive, easily digestible, and presented in a way that directly relates to your team. This presentation will dissect the very real safety lessons found within several popular culture film scenes and provide a humorous slant to avoid complacency. This examination provides a safety training that is appealing to the audience and can engage even the most unenthusiastic worker’s mind about safety training.

    View Slides
    Keith Pancake, ACRT
  • 5:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Closes Exhibit Hall C

  Thursday, Sep 12, 2019

  • 7:00 a.m. Exhibit Hall Opens Exhibit Hall C
  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Breakfast with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C included with conference registration
  • 8:00–8:20 a.m. Utility Impacts on Workforce Retention - Key Points from UVM Summit Exhibit Hall B
    The Utility Vegetation Managers Summit held in May 2019 focused on the issue of workforce retention, the impact of utility actions, and ideas for improving recruitment and retention in the industry. This presentation will cover high level results from the UVM Summit vendor survey, key points discussed at the Vegetation Managers Summit, and UAA next steps.

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    Sara Sankowich, Until | Emily Kramer, ComEd
  • 8:20–9:30 a.m. Work Force Retention Utility – Contractor Panel Exhibit Hall B
    Join industry professionals for a collaborative conversation on contributing factors that influence the industry’s labor shortage and the solutions that can be implemented to mitigate them. Explore how internal structure, contract strategy and cultural engagement contribute towards workforce retention which delivers results to the utility.
    Panel Facilitator: Will Nutter
    Panelists: Kelly Clapper, JAFLO Trees | Jordan Jozak, Tree Care of New York, LLC | Sara Dreiser, Davey Resource Group, Inc. | Alex Konopka, Portland General Electric
  • 9:30–10:15 a.m. Break with Exhibitors Exhibit Hall C
  • 10:15 a.m. Exhibit Hall Closes Exhibit Hall C
  • 10:15–11:00 a.m. Professionalizing Utility Vegetation Management Programs Exhibit Hall B
    Learn about the nuts and bolts of how Vegetation Management (VM) Programs are currently implemented and why they are failing to achieve desired result. This presentation will make the case for a different mindset to VM and areas that utilities should focus on to improve and professionalize their programs.

    View Slides
    J. Michael O’Connor, Consumers Ed
  • 11:00–11:30 a.m. Sustainability Through Forestry in the Utility Industry
    Hear from industry leaders on how trees and forests can advance corporate goals for sustainability and social responsibility. Learn how key metrics and measures drive projects, including carbon offsets, employee engagement, and homeowner energy efficiency.

    View Slides
    Lead Presenter: Dan Lambe, President, Arbor Day Foundation | Other participants TBD
  • 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Panel: ROW Vegetation as an Asset: Considerations for ESG Sustainability Indices Exhibit Hall B
    ROW Vegetation as an Asset: Considerations for ESG Sustainability Indices Panel

    View Slides
    Panel Facilitator: Stan Vera Art
    Panelists: Rick Loughery, Edison Electric Institute | Rebecca Spach, First Energy | Tim Lohner, American Electric Power
  • 12:15–12:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony Exhibit Hall B
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