Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC, the international vegetation management, utility infrastructure and commercial landscaping contractor based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, is concluding the celebration of its 90th year in business. “Honoring Our Past, Embracing The Future” has been the theme of its ongoing business and employee communications, and events.
“As a third generation family executive, I look back to the founders and second generation family executives during our 90th anniversary, and I think it is clear that their philosophy of ‘The Better Way’ is still a strong and guiding force of the company,” said Chairman of the Board and CEO Scott Asplundh during the annual headquarters picnic in late September. “I extend my thanks to all of our employees and customers who have been a part of our successful 90 years!”
In addition to the picnic’s traditional games and entertainment, the company’s top-level executives were joined by PPL Electric Utilities President Gregory Dudkin to plant a swamp white oak as a living reminder of the company’s 90th-anniversary celebration. During the picnic’s meal, Mr. Dudkin reminded the 350+ headquarters employees that PPL was one of the company’s first customers and that Asplundh crews have worked on the system continuously since 1928. Today, in addition to vegetation management, several Asplundh subsidiary companies also perform line construction, street light conversions, electrical testing and advanced metering deployments.
In closing, Mr. Dudkin said, “We are thankful that Asplundh has always been there with additional crews whenever PPL requested assistance in restoring power.”
A typical Asplundh crew during World War II.
If you’ve ever wondered about the family and company name, it means ‘grove of aspen trees’ in Swedish and couldn’t have been more appropriate for the tree service business founded by three Asplundh brothers on August 28, 1928, in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Known for its distinctive fleet of orange trucks, Asplundh focused on providing tree pruning and removal services to electric and telephone utilities. Among its earliest customers were Philadelphia Electric Company (now PECO), Pennsylvania Power & Light Company (now PPL Electric Utilities), Public Service Company of New Jersey (now PSE&G), Jersey Central Power & Light Company (a FirstEnergy company), and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T).
The family-owned company, now managed by its third generation, has developed a number of industry-accepted innovations over the years. In response to the need for greater safety and better productivity, Asplundh used its ‘Better Way’ philosophy in 1949 to develop the first commercial brush chippers and in 1958, the first fully-insulated aerial lifts to get workers into the trees more efficiently and safely. Asplundh also initiated a joint research project to scientifically demonstrate the safe use of herbicides for vegetation control on rights-of-way. This project, initiated in 1953, remains active and continues to validate the proper use of herbicides as part of an integrated vegetation management program.
Asplundh’s tree pruning and line construction resources are often a welcome sight in the wake of severe weather such as hurricanes and ice storms. Nearly every region in the U.S. and Canada has seen the caravans of work trucks and crews, drawn from all around the country, working alongside utility crews to help restore power. Asplundh’s experience in clearing trees and brush around live power lines has been recognized by electric utility companies as a valued service since the late 1930s when a series of devastating storms ravaged the East Coast of the United States.
Asplundh’s operations have expanded geographically to provide routine and emergency vegetation management, utility infrastructure and commercial landscaping/snow removal services to over 4,000 clients across the U.S. and Canada, as well as overseas in Australia and New Zealand. The scope of operations also has expanded over the years, offering many specialized services ranging from line construction to electrical equipment testing. Since 2015, commercial landscaping and snow removal services also have been offered by a family of acquired companies throughout the U.S.
With a workforce of more than 35,000 service professionals and a fleet of thousands of pieces of specialized equipment and vehicles, Asplundh’s diversified operations have grown to serve a variety of markets and industries. However, the business remains true to the company’s name -- pruning and removing trees to help maintain reliable power continue to be the core of Asplundh’s operations.