Sometimes one event in a person’s life can have a dramatic impact on shaping their future. Such was the case with John. While in high school in Appleton, he was selected to be a participant in the Trees for Tomorrow forest appreciation program. This one encounter created the initial spark that has led to working over 29 years caring for and managing trees in the urban environment.
That spark grew, resulting in not only a degree in forest management from Purdue University, but also a master’s in urban forestry, the first bestowed by the university in this specialized field.
With urban forestry still in its infancy, John became the first City Forester for Springfield, Ohio. After 14 years of creating and nurturing this program, family needs required a move back to Wisconsin. He assumed the duties of Forestry and Grounds Superintendent for West Allis, managing a large-scale, established municipal tree program.
This is when he became active in the Wisconsin Arborist Association. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1992, and in 1994 served as President. Afterwards, he continued through 2001 to serve on the Board representing WAA as their Research Trust Liaison to the International Society of Arboriculture. In 1998 the WAA honored John with their Distinguished Service Award and in 2003 with the Honorary Life Membership Award.
In 1994, the challenges and innovations of the private sector lured him away after 20 years of public service. He honed his management and sales skills working first as operations manager, then sales director for a large commercial landscape management company in southeastern Wisconsin.
This past spring, he was presented with a unique opportunity. Wachtel was looking to expand their presence in the consulting arena. John accepted the position of special projects coordinator. To date, his primary duties have included working with communities. Be it tree inventories to collect tree data to be placed in a community’s graphic information system (GIS), writing management plans, or training, John does it all. By drawing on his previous municipal experience, he is able to provide practical recommendations and knowledgeable insights to complex issues.
We are delighted to have John and his spark on our team and appreciate the perspectives he brings to the company.
© Copyright 2003 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.