It’s not often in the field of vegetation management that you see an all-women team, so when ACRT, Inc., heard about one working in Bastrop, Texas at one of its cooperative partners, it wanted to learn more.
“We weren’t always an all-women team until Candace joined us last year,” says Olivia Salazar. Each of the women has a unique background and brings individual skills that help them serve a nearly 300-mile area of rural Texas. “Although we cover different areas and work independently, we communicate every day and play off each other’s strengths,” added Olivia.
Suprina Linseisen, an ISA Certified Arborist and Utility Specialist, is considered the computer expert of the group. She also brings her business experience as a partner in a tree service for 13 years. “Our client is very focused on taking care of their members. One of the things I like best about my job is that every day I get to talk with people and help them resolve a problem related to trees on their property. Making detailed instructions for the tree crews means the crews are prepared when they come to do the work, which also makes the project go smoothly in the eyes of the homeowner.” All three said they enjoy this part of the job and feel they are making a difference to the members.
Olivia graduated with a degree in Forestry and Environmental Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. She brings her experience in tree biology to identify species and tree predictors. After college, she spent two years on a beetle inventory project in Massachusetts. Before coming to ACRT she was a traveling utility arborist. She was happy to come back home to Texas when she connected with assistant operations manager, David Leary through her alma mater. It isn’t unusual for the women to share photos about trees and discuss solutions. “I get to put my education and experience to use every day.”
Candace has a degree from Texas A&M University in Renewable Natural Resources. She was working in an environmental lab when she was recruited by David Leary. “I enjoy being outdoors, although we work a lot from our truck on our computer. Everything we do goes into the computer. We handle a variety of projects and each day is different. We respond to member work tickets, do tree identification, visit construction sites and new rights-of-way, and work on preplanning, inspections, and audits.”
“Olivia, Suprina, and Candace are a cohesive team and deal with many daily challenges. They excel in bringing member’s concerns to positive conclusions, while managing a number of responsibilities. They have proven that in a male-dominated field, women bring unique strengths to the industry,” says David Leary, assistant operations manager.
Asked if they think Vegetation Management is a good field for women and you get a resounding “yes!” It is a great job for anyone and especially for new graduates.