2022 Trees & Utilities: Live from Milwaukee

Sept. 26, 2022
The conference, which is presented by the Utility Arborist Association and the Arbor Day Foundation, had a record number of attendees.

After a year of going virtual and then coming back live in Minnesota, the 23rd Trees & Utilities conference had its biggest turnout yet with 880 attendees. The event, which was from Sept. 20-22 in downtown Milwaukee, was presented by the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) and the Arbor Day Foundation and attracted utility vegetation management professionals from across the country.

Percy Montecinos, a forester with the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in Strasburg, Virginia, said he has attended other vegetation management conferences, but 2022 was his first time attending a Trees & Utilities event.

"This event was interesting for me because it relates to what we do every day, which is work with trees and utilities," he says. "I came to see what's new in vegetation management with new technology. I also think it's great to meet so many people."

The event began on the morning of Sept. 20 with two workshops--Women in Vegetation Management and Protecting Pollinators on Utility Rights of Way. Then in the afternoon, the exhibit hall opened, and attendees were able to network before moving into the general session featuring a keynote address about safety. 

Dennis Fallon, executive director of the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) encouraged the attendees to learn as much as possible about utility vegetation management with nine environmental sessions in the conference lineup and many more on different topics.

"The people in this room can have a positive impact on the environment if they bring the knowledge back home with them," Fallon said during the opening address.

In addition, the attendees had several opportunities to walk the trade show floor and meet with exhibitors. The aisles featured booths about products, services and new technologies related to utility vegetation management. 

"We are at a crossroads in our industry with technologies coming in from other spaces," Fallon said.

Philip Charlton, former executive director of the UAA agreed.

"As I walked around, I saw so many new players in the utility vegetation management space," he says. 

For the first time, Trees & Utilities showcased the Skills Arena, which featured live competitions involving chainsaws and rigging. Teams of four participated in the contests on the show floor, and the team with the lowest number of deductions and the fastest time won prizes. 

"This is our first year with Trees & Utilities, and we're excited to bring edu-tainment," says Karen Hauck of North American Training Solutions, which presented the competition. "In the Skills Arena, it's not about speed, but about competency, safe practices and teamwork." 

Charlton says he was excited to see the event back with record numbers, and he enjoyed seeing the Skills Arena at the event.

"What we need to do is build the industry from the ground up," he says. "This is the first time I've seen the Skills Arena, and I think it will bring awareness and understanding to everyone.".

To see some highlights from the event, check out this photo gallery or visit the event Web site

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